Algeria stands on the brink of their biggest footballing achievement in almost two decades and an opportunity to consolidate a best-ever position in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Les Fennecs (Desert Foxes) have emerged from of the doldrums, and several years of disappointments, to leave themselves on the brink of reaching the FIFA World Cup™.
With a three-point lead in their group, they face Egypt on Saturday knowing that they will qualify even if they lose by a margin that does not exceed a single goal. They have reached this position only by virtue of some accomplished qualifying performances thus far, performances which have also taken Rabah Sadaane’s side 15 places up the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking to break into the top 30 at 29th.
It is their highest position to date and comes on the back of wins in their last two qualifiers, against Zambia in September and Rwanda in October, which kept them in pole position in their qualifying section. For Algeria, who last qualified for the FIFA World Cup when it was staged in Mexico in 1986, this recent rise represents a remarkable turnaround after the disappointment of missing out on two successive CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Algeria won the continental title in 1990 when they hosted the Cup of Nations and at the end of the first year of the FIFA Coca-Cola World Ranking in 1993 were 35th in the world. But what followed was a dramatic decline as the country steadily slipped down the Ranking and lost their position as one of the continent’s leading lights. By 1999, they were 88th in the world and, in June 2008, had plummeted out of the top 100 altogether.
However, the last 12 months have seen a major renaissance, ironically under the coach who took them to that last FIFA World Cup finals in 1986. The profile of Algerian players has certainly risen considerably since his first spell in charge, with Les Fennecs' squad now dominated by a body of France-born players from their huge Diaspora on the European continent.
Players such as Karim Ziani, Antar Yahia, Djamel Abdoun and Rafik Djebour come from a different background to the majority of the populace they represent, and this transition of the player base has been fraught with the problems over the years. However, a balance looks has now been achieved by the savvy Saadane, and the results have followed. Now awaits Algeria’s greatest challenge of the modern era as they travel to Cairo within touching distance of a return to the world stage.
Calculation of points for a single match
P = M x I x T x C
M: points for Match result
Teams gain 3 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a defeat. In a penalty shoot-out, the winning team gains 2 points and the losing team gains 1 point.
I: Importance of match
Friendly match (including small competitions): I = 1.0
FIFA World Cup™ qualifier or confederation-level qualifier: I = 2.5
Confederation-level final competition or FIFA Confederations Cup: I = 3.0
FIFA World Cup™ final competition: I = 4.0
T: strength of opposing Team
The strength of the opponents is based on the formula: 200 – the ranking position of the opponents.As an exception to this formula, the team at the top of the ranking is always assigned the value 200 and the teams ranked 150th and below are assigned a minimum value of 50. The ranking position is taken from the opponents’ ranking in the most recently published FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
C: strength of Confederation
When calculating matches between teams from different confederations, the mean value of the confederations to which the two competing teams belong is used. The strength of a confederation is calculated on the basis of the number of victories by that confederation at the last three FIFA World Cup™ competitions (see following page). Their values are as follows:
|Points Last Month|
|Points outside Ranking calculation|