Starved of a major tournament for 23 years, Scotland men enter the European Championships next week, as they face Czech Republic on Monday afternoon at Hampden Park.
Entering Group D of Euro 2020, Steve Clarke’s side will face tournament favourites England and World Cup finalists Croatia in a group that promises memorable games and, crucially, a chance to progress.
Despite good recent results bringing the optimism that the national team could potentially progress to the last 16 of a major tournament for the first time in their history, bookies still place Scotland as they least likely to qualify from the group, with their trio of opponents seen as more likely candidates to progress.
However, when do bookies favourites match up with the official FIFA world rankings?
What are the FIFA world rankings?
The member nations of FIFA, football’s world governing body, rank each national side in order. The first rankings were made in 1992.
How are the FIFA world rankings decided?
Strap yourself in – it’s a tad complex.
The FIFA World Ranking is a points-based system that takes into account all competitive senior international matches played by a national team over four years. Points are as follows: Three points for a win, one point for a draw, zero points for a defeat, two points for a penalty win and one point for a penalty defeat.
Each team's total number of points is calculated by adding the average number of points gained during matches in the last 12 months to the average number of points gained from games older than 12 months.
The short answer? FIFA’s ranking are decided by a 12 month average, plus previous 36 month average.
So where do Scotland rank in the FIFA world rankings?
Steve Clarke’s side currently rank at 44th in the world, one place ahead of Jamaica and one place behind Romania, with an accumulation of 1441.43 points in total.
Interestingly enough, if you still take out the sides from other confederations, Scotland would still rank at 44th.
The highest ranked team in the world are Belgium, who are closely followed by Euro 2020 bookies favourites France, who place second and with Brazil sat in third.
From a Scottish perspective though, in terms of the FIFA rankings, it’s not all bad news, with Scotland placing above fellow Euro 2020 hopefuls Finland and North Macedonia.
Scotland’s Group D opponents England, Croatia and Czech Republic rank at 4th, 14th and 40th respectively, whereas Wales rank at 17th.
Where does every other Euro 2020 nation rank in the FIFA rankings?
The full list is as follows:
40th Czech Republic
62nd North Macedonia