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FIH World Rankings: European and Pro League action sees significant movement

November 3, 2021

The results at the recent Hockey World Cup qualification events in Europe have impacted the FIH Hockey World Rankings, with the FIH Hockey Pro League and other test matches also triggering some movement. 

Arguably the biggest story regards the national men’s team of Wales, who have climbed from 18th to an all-time high of 15th in the rankings as a direct result of their sensational tournament victory at the FIH Men’s World Cup 2023 European Qualifier, which was played on Welsh soil in Cardiff. Having secured World Cup qualification for the first time in their history and setting a new rankings benchmark in the process, Wales men are clearly in a very good place right now. 

France, the team defeated by Wales in the competition final, remain 13th in the FIH World Rankings, while Italy men have dropped from 22nd to 26th. Malaysia have moved up one place from 11th to 10th following recent test matches against Wales and 14th ranked Ireland.

In the women’s FIH World Rankings, Belgium’s Red Panthers are now placed 7th – their highest ever position – thanks to two superb victories over Germany in their recent FIH Hockey Pro League double-header in Brussels. Belgium sit just 20 ranking points behind 6th placed Spain, so could well be on the move again in the not-too-distant future. 

The recent FIH Women’s World Cup 2022 European Qualifier competition, played in Pisa, Italy, also impacted the women’s rankings. A third-place finish for Scotland’s women helped them rise from 20th to 17th, while finalists Wales are now 23rd, climbing two places from 25th. France women have also jumped two places, moving from 27th to 25th after a seventh-place finish in Pisa.

To see the complete FIH World Rankings, click here.

The rankings calculations model that FIH introduced on 1st January 2020 moved away from the previous tournament-based rankings system to a dynamic, match-based method where opposing teams exchange points in official, FIH sanctioned games. The number of points exchanged depends on the result of the match, the relative ranking of the teams and the importance of the match. More information about the new rankings model 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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