Best Of British

Sunday, 30 March 2003, 0:00
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Home >Story Index> Who Is The Best Home Nation On Current Form?

Now before anyone points it out, I know that the Republic of Ireland are not a home nation. But many people see them as such and I think it is fair to include them in this article. They are a Nation that Wales can aspire too – being similar in size and talent and showing what a manager with decent ability can achieve for your country.
So how do we work out is the current home nation on best form? The simple way would be to use FIFA’s own ranking system and compare the rankings to two years ago – this gives these statistics
Unsurprisingly that shows Wales as by far the biggest movers although I would say that I was mildly surprised to see England move up 9 places. In terms of points comparison (using FIFAs amazingly complicated system) the comparison looks like this
Now the only problem is that the World rankings unbelievably take in results over the past eight years. In that period we have seen two World Cups and two European Championships – none of which Wales qualified for. Taken that the best in the World and Europe play there there has been little chance to gauge ourselves against the likes of the Republic, England and sometimes even Scotland (well for the two weeks that they usually last in these tournaments!)
The only real way in my opinion to judge recent form is to look at the last six games played by all countries. This produces a league table that looks like this
So clearly on that basis Wales also come into the category of the best record over the past 6 games as well. The key final factor for me when looking at this is the sides rankings that made up the opposition.
Now that is the statistical part out of the way – now it becomes slightly more adjective. As the table shows, if you were to award 3 points for a win and one for a draw then Wales would have the most points. You could also argue that the two Irelands have played the hardest matches – both having played four matches against opposition from the top 50 in the rankings (at the times the matches were played)
I have used a formula to deduct the home nation side in the best form at the moment. Basically, if you play opposition in the top 10 in the World then you get your match points (3 for a win, one for a draw) multiplied by 10 points, a side in places 11th-20th you get your points multiplied by 9 and so on until you get to a side ranked 91 or below when your points get multiplied by 1. This gives a points tally over the past 6 games as follows.
I think very few could argue with the statistic that Wales are the most in form side of the home nations at the moment. And with no wins in 6 games, Northern Ireland are the least inform side.
This I would suggest would be backed up if you asked for the best XI from these five sides at the moment – I would hazard a guess that many of the side would be Welsh. People like Gary Speed at left back is unrivalled from the other nations looked at here and John Hartson and Craig Bellamy are quite possibly forming the best partnership being used in the home nations sides at the moment. Add to that the presence of Giggs and potentially even people like Savage (Paul Jones?) and you have a large percentage of the team being made up of Welshman.
And I know someone will ask – using the same system as above, Brazil come in with 480 points.
Of course all of this is subject to discussion and no-one would really prove anything unless the nations were to play each other but you have to admit (even if you are English!) on current form Wales are where the action is!!

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