The World Football Elo Ratings is a ranking system for men's national association football teams that is published by the website eloratings.net. It is based on the Elo rating system but includes modifications to take various football-specific variables into account, like the margin of victory, importance of a match, and home field advantage. Other implementations of the Elo rating system are possible and there is no single nor any official Elo ranking for football teams.
Since being developed, the Elo rankings have been found to have the highest predictive capability for football matches. FIFA's official rankings, both the FIFA World Rankings for men and the FIFA Women's World Rankings are based on a modified version of the Elo formula, the men's rankings having switched away from FIFA's own system for matches played since June 2018.
The following table shows the top 100 teams in the World Football Elo Ratings as they were on 2 April 2020, using data from the World Football Elo Ratings web site.
- Guatemala is ranked much lower in the FIFA Ranking because they were inactive from September 2016 to August 2018 due to their suspension from FIFA. While this caused their FIFA Ranking to fall dramatically under the former system, their Elo rating remained the same.
- Northern Cyprus is not a member of FIFA and is not included in the FIFA Rankings. Also, the team has played only 17 matches against other Elo-ranked teams, so its Elo rating is provisional.
- Martinique are also not members of FIFA, so are not included in the FIFA Rankings.
- Iraqi Kurdistan is not a member of FIFA and is not included in the FIFA Rankings. Also, the team has played only 4 matches against other Elo-ranked teams, so its Elo rating is provisional.
- Kuwait is ranked lower in the FIFA Ranking because they were inactive from October 2015 to December 2017 due to their suspension from FIFA. While this caused their FIFA Ranking to fall dramatically under the former system, their Elo rating remained the same.
List of number-one teams
The following is the list of nations who have achieved the number-one position in the World Football Elo Ratings since the first international match in 1872:
- Number-one position reached at / after first match
Ranking by matches played as leader
|Brazil||315||8,496||12 Jun 1958||15 Nov 2019|
|England||154||10,605||30 Nov 1872||11 Jun 1988|
|Germany [c]||139||4,704||25 Jul 1966||9 Nov 2017|
|Argentina||123||9,165||20 Jul 1902||9 Nov 2016|
|Spain||78||2,869||28 Aug 1920||11 Oct 2013|
|France||73||2,022||12 Sep 1984||10 Oct 2018|
|Hungary||57||1,897||20 Sep 1952||12 Mar 1960|
|Scotland||42||5,966||4 Mar 1876||19 Oct 1926|
|Italy||41||2,694||7 Jun 1934||15 Aug 2006|
|Soviet Union [d]||41||1,367||21 Mar 1963||24 Jun 1988|
|Uruguay||37||1,794||29 Aug 1920||15 Jun 1929|
|Netherlands||32||1,039||1 Jun 1978||3 Jul 2014|
|Denmark||6||676||5 Jun 1914||7 Oct 1916|
|Austria||3||11||27 May 1934||6 Jun 1934|
|Czech Republic||2||8||27 Jun 2004||7 Jun 2005|
|Belgium||1||239||16 Nov 2019||current|
- Number of games played (started) with the highest Elo rating amongst nations
- Days spent as co-leaders are counted as a ½ day
- Combined record of the Germany (1908–1950 & 1990–present) and West Germany (1950–1990) national football teams.
- So far, only the Soviet Union national football team (1924–1992) has reached the #1 position, but any future efforts by the Russia national football team (1992–present) will be included.
All-time team highs and lows
The following is a list of national football teams ranked by the highest Elo rating they ever reached. The table also includes the highest ranking as well as the lowest rating and ranking reached by each nation. The team that has achieved the highest rank in each confederation is shown in color.
- The ranking in parentheses is that at the time the highest rating was reached.
- The date given is when the highest or lowest rating was first reached.
- The team's indicated lowest ratings and rank may not have coincided in time.
- at present as Russia
- at present as Serbia
- Formally, Switzerland reached a low of 1485 after its second match, in March 1908.
- The combined Ireland national football team was in 4th place from its first match in 1882 to 1902, in a period that only 4 teams were in the rankings. It reached a low ratings of 1237 on 29 March 1890.
- Wales was in 3rd place from its first match in 1876 to 1902, in a period that only 3 to 4 teams were in the rankings.
- On 1 January 2006, Football Federation Australia moved from the OFC to the AFC
- Algeria's highest ranking and ratings were reached after the first 5 and 8 matches, respectively.
- Cameroon possibly reached a lower ratings after their 4th or 5th match, sometimes in 1956.
- South Africa had only played 1 match when reaching its highest ratings and ranking.
- at present as DR Congo
- Slovakia was ranked highest (17th) for their first six matches.
- Finland reached its highest ranking (14th) after 4 games, following wins over Italy and Russia in the 1912 Olympic Games.
Highest average ratings since 1970
This table is a list of the national teams with the highest average Elo score since 1 January 1970, i.e. over approximately the last half century. Before this time intercontinental play was fairly limited and many nations in Africa, North America, and Asia had played too few games yet to create a representative Elo score. Only those teams are displayed that started playing before 1970 and played the entire period without a 5 year or longer interruption. Some excluded strong national football teams, like East-Germany and Croatia, appear in the decades tables below.
- Representing West Germany from 1949 to 1990
- Combined record of the USSR (1970-1992), the CIS (1992), and Russia national football teams (1992-present)
- Combined record of the Czechoslovakian (1970-1992) and Czech national football teams (1993-present)
- Combined record of Yugoslavia (1970-1992), Serbia and Montenegro (1994-2006) and Serbia national football teams (2006-present)
Averages by decade
The tables below shows the teams with the best average Elo score per decade (1 Jan XXX0 - 31 Dec XXX9). Only those teams are displayed that had played before the start of the decade and played at least ten games in the decade.
- Includes the record of the Great Britain Olympic football team in the 1908, 1912 and 1920 Olympics
- First game played on 15 May 1910
- First game played on 27 May 1910
- In the 1940s, most national teams did not play games until after the end of World War II, making comparison of countries for this decade weak.
- Average over the period from 2 April 1940 to 8 April 1945
- Combined record of Yugoslavia (1990–1992) and FR of Yugoslavia (1994–1999)
- Combined record of Czechoslovakia (1990–1992) and Czech national football teams (1993–1999)
- Combined record of the USSR (1990–1992), the CIS (1992), and Russia national football teams (1992–1999)
- 2010s averages up to 24 June 2019
Highest average over entire team history
The eloratings.net website presents the average ratings since the first international match of each team. Such averages can not really be compared to each other, as they represent strengths over different periods and in different pools. For example, they represent 147 years of matches for Scotland (34 years of which in a pool of 3 or 4 British nations only), 99 years for Spain, 28 years for Ukraine, and 13 years for Montenegro. For Croatia and Slovakia the average is dominated by the single rating during the 50 years between the few games played between 1940 and 1943 and the rebirth of the countries in the 1990s. Likewise, South Africa's average is mostly determined by the 44 matches (of a 417 total in 2018) played in the 86 years before it rejoined FIFA in 1992.
Highest rated matches
A list of the 25 matches between teams with the highest combined Elo ratings (the nations' points before the matches are given).
|Nation 1||Elo 1||Nation 2||Elo 2||Score||Date||Occasion||Location|
|1||4287||Germany||2203||Argentina||2084||1–0 aet||2014-07-13||World Cup Final||Rio de Janeiro|
|3||4278||Hungary||2230||West Germany||2048||2–3||1954-07-04||World Cup Final||Bern|
|4||4263||Spain||2136||Netherlands||2127||1–0 aet||2010-07-11||World Cup Final||Johannesburg|
|5||4245||Great Britain||2184||Denmark||2061||4–2||1912-07-04||Olympic Games Final||Stockholm|
|6||4242||Brazil||2120||Germany||2122||1–7||2014-07-08||World Cup SF||Belo Horizonte|
|8||4236||Brazil||2086||Spain||2150||3–0||2013-06-30||Confederations Cup Final||Rio de Janeiro|
|9||4224||Hungary||2208||Uruguay||2016||4–2||1954-06-30||World Cup SF||Lausanne|
|11||4218||Hungary||2180||Brazil||2038||4–2||1954-06-27||World Cup QF||Bern|
|12||4207||Netherlands||2077||Brazil||2130||2–1||2010-07-02||World Cup QF||Port Elizabeth|
|14||4199||Brazil||2088||West Germany||2111||1–0||1982-03-21||Friendly||Rio de Janeiro|
|15||4198||Brazil||2060||West Germany||2138||1–1||1977-06-12||Friendly||Rio de Janeiro|
|16||4197||West Germany||2123||Netherlands||2074||2–1||1974-07-07||World Cup Final||Munich|
|17||4191||Brazil||2166||Czechoslovakia||2025||3–1||1962-06-17||World Cup Final||Santiago|
|19||4187||Brazil||2132||Italy||2055||4–1||1970-06-21||World Cup Final||Mexico City|
|20||4179||Spain||2110||Germany||2069||1–0||2010-07-07||World Cup SF||Durban|
|Netherlands||2096||Argentina||2083||0–0||2014-07-09||World Cup SF||São Paulo|
|24||4172||West Germany||2104||Poland||2068||1–0||1974-07-03||World Cup 2nd round||Frankfurt|
This is a list of matches with the biggest point exchange. Since the importance of the match, the goal differential and the perceived home team advantage are factored in the exchange, these are not necessarily the most surprising wins as expressed by the difference in Elo rating.[b]
The nations' points before the matches are given.
|Nation 1||Elo 1||Nation 2||Elo 2||Score||Date||Occasion||Location|
|Turkey||1397||China *||1655||4–0||1948-08-02||Olympic Games||Walthamstow|
|4||87||Norway||1478||Great Britain||2041||3–1||1920-08-28||Olympic Games||Antwerp|
|5||84||Egypt *||1677||Hungary||1919||3–0||1924-05-29||Olympic Games||Paris|
|7||83||Fiji||1171||New Zealand||1523||4–0||1980-02-23||OFC Nations Cup||Nouméa|
|8||82||Ghana||1606||Czech Republic||2005||2–0||2006-06-17||World Cup||Cologne|
|9||81||Brazil||2120||Germany||2122||1–7||2014-07-08||World Cup||Belo Horizonte|
|10||80||Germany||1642||Russia *||1567||16–0||1912-07-01||Olympic Games||Solna|
|Turkey||1604||South Korea *||1668||7–0||1954-06-20||World Cup||Geneva|
|Trinidad & Tobago||1481||Mexico||1783||4–0||1973-12-14||CONCACAF Championship||Port-au-Prince|
|South Korea||1677||Germany||2044||2–0||2018-06-27||World Cup||Kazan|
|14||78||Paraguay||1685||Uruguay||2054||3–0||1929-11-01||Copa América||Buenos Aires|
|Chile||1587||Uruguay||1957||3–0||1937-01-10||Copa América||Buenos Aires|
|Costa Rica||1717||Guatemala||1491||1–4||1946-03-10||CCCF Championship||San José|
|United States||1888||Mexico||1788||0–5||2009-07-26||CONCACAF Gold Cup||East Rutherford|
|25||73||Montserrat||511||British Virgin Islands||758||7–0||2012-09-09||Caribbean Cup qualifier||Fort-de-France|
*The initial ratings may be partially responsible for the high point exchange. The national teams of China, Egypt, Russia, and South Korea had played only 18, 3, 2, and 18 international matches before their respective upsets. China had only yet played against East Asian teams.
Elo Ratings before each World Championship