Photo credit: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

World Rankings prove icing on the cake for Belgium men and Netherlands women

August 10, 2021

With the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 coming to its exciting culmination with the national men’s team of Belgium and the women’s team of Netherlands taking the gold medals, there has been jostling for positions in the FIH World Rankings.

For Belgium men, winning the Olympic medal in a scintillating match against their close rivals Australia brought another prize - a jump in rankings to number one in the world. The victory moved Belgium onto 2716 points, ahead of Australia who are on 2642 points.

India men enjoyed a fantastic competition, beating Germany in exciting fashion in the bronze medal match. This was India men’s first medal since they last won gold in 1980. The 41-year wait ended with a bronze medal and wins over Argentina, Japan, Great Britain and Germany in the pool and knock-out stages, sees the India (2362) move to third in the world rankings, ahead of the Netherlands (2115) in fourth and Germany (2072) in fifth.

Great Britain, whose world rankings are categorised as England (1990), remain in sixth position, after they lost to India in the quarter finals, while Argentina (1826) also retain their position at seventh. 

New Zealand (1598), Spain (1532) and Canada (1422) are also unmoved following their performances at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, but South Africa’s (1413) performance, which included a surprise win over the higher-ranked German team has moved the African team from 14th to 12th in the FIH World Rankings. 

Host nation Japan (1025) drop one place from 15th to 16th, meaning they change places with Asian rivals Korea (1065).

There is, once again, no change at the very top of the women’s FIH World Rankings where Olympic champions the Netherlands remain resolutely in the number one position. 

Argentina’s loss in the Olympic final, combined with Great Britain’s bronze medal win, sees England (2275), who represent Great Britain in the world rankings, leapfrogging Argentina (2261), Australia (2234) and Germany (2165) to move to second in the world rankings. The quarter-final losses suffered by Australia [to India] and Germany [to Argentina] caused both teams to slip two places down the rankings. 

Spain’s (1859) strong Olympic performance sees the Red Sticks move from eighth to sixth, New Zealand (1721) have travelled in the opposite direction as they fall from fifth to seventh. India’s (1710) performance moves them up to eighth position from 10th, with Belgium (1700) remaining in ninth and China (1651) slipping to 10th. 

Ireland’s (1499) failure to make the quarter-finals in Tokyo sees the Irish team slip to 12th. It is no move for host nation Japan (1231) or South Africa (1040) who remain unmoved in 14th and 16th position respectively.

To see the complete FIH World Rankings, click here.

Tokyo 2020 was the first Olympic Games to take place since the introduction of the match-based rankings calculated model, which came into play in January 2020. The move away from the previous tournament-based system to one where opposing teams exchange points in official matches means that, for the first time, the results of the fixtures in Tokyo will have a direct, real-time effect on FIH World Ranking positions.  More information about the new rankingsmodel can be found below. 

How the FIH World Rankings work:

The number of points exchanged depends on the result of the match, the relative ranking of the teams and the importance of the match. 

FIH World Rankings explained

  Based on the Elo rating system, which is used as the basis of many other sports ranking systems 

  When two nations play against each other, a number of ranking points are exchanged between them 

  In every match, the number of points gained by one team is exactly matched by the number of points lost by the other

  Teams will win more points for beating teams ranked above them, and therefore teams will lose more points for losing to a team ranked below them 

  Teams will win less points for beating teams ranked below them, and therefore teams will lose less points for losing to a team ranked above them

  If a draw occurs, the lower ranked team will gain a small number of points and the higher ranked team will lose the same number of points 

  The number of points exchanged is dependent on the result of the match (win, lose, shootout win/loss or draw), the importance of the match (part of a major tournament, or a test series for example), and the relative difference in ranking points between the teams before the match. 

More details about the formula used in the algorithm, weightings of matches and other factors can be found HERE together with a Frequently Asked Questions document HERE.


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