Germany are on a mission
Por Rodrigo Cardoso
19 Jun, 2024

We are two games into the Euros, where Germany have two missions: they need a great performance to leave behind all the bad results from recent years, and also need to climb in the FIFA Ranking if they are to get into Pot 1 for the 2026 World Cup draw.

 

The reasons of the debacle

 

In the April 2024 update of the FIFA Ranking, Germany appear in 16th place, a position too low for what their name and history indicate. But how did they end up there? This is the consequence of six years of bad results:

– At the last two World Cups, they only won 2 of their 6 games.

– At the last Euros, they just won 1 out of 4.

– In the Nations League, they have won only 3 of their 16 matches. Among those games, they lost at home to Hungary and were hammered 6-0 by Spain.

– In the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, they lost at home to North Macedonia.

– They only won half of their friendlies (12 of 25). They have either drawn or lost to Serbia, Türkiye, Poland, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Austria and twice to Ukraine.

In the FIFA Ranking, there is no divine right: no matter what your name is or how many stars you have on your badge, if you don’t win, you won’t move forward. Thus, all these bad results have cost them lots of points which prevent them from going up.

 

Germany have had lots of bad results in the last six years. Here, they lose to North Macedonia. Image: AFP.

 

The mission: repeat what Italy did

 

Before the start of the Euros, Germany were 81 points behind Italy, the last team currently in the area of Pot 1.

 

To get into the Top 9, Germany need a great performance in the tournament. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to win it; it means need to win as many games as possible to get points.

As we mentioned in our video where we explain how the formula works, defeats cost points, but so do draws against teams below you in the table. Germany will face Scotland, Switzerland and Hungary, all of whom are behind them. That means that the only way for Germany to gain points is to win the matches. Every win will give them between 13 and 14 points.

However, any slip will be a huge blow in their aspirations to reach Pot 1, as every draw would cost them between 2 and 5 points. A defeat would be catastrophic, because they would lose 18 to 22 points.

In the KO stages, it would be more convenient for face well-positioned opponents, because the higher the opponent is in the table, the more points you get with a win. If Germany win their group (as they now seem likely to do), they will face the runner-up from Group C, which includes England, Denmark, Serbia and Slovenia.

From a Ranking FIFA perspective, the ideal scenario would be to face England, but assuming Gareth Southgate’s side tops their group, the best possible opponent for Germany would de Denmark.

It is also important to state that, to maximise their sum of points, they need to win in 90 or 120 minutes, as wins on penalty shoot-outs give 10 points fewer than in regular or extra time.

If Germany lose in the KO stages, that would obviously mean that they would lose the opportunity to keep gaining points, but at least they would not lose points, because defeats in those instances do not result in deduction of points.

Their parameter is Italy. At the last Euros, La Azzurra collected 99 points thanks to their five victories and two wins on penalties. The match that gave them the most points was the quarter-final against Belgium because the Red Devils were on top of the ranking at the time. This is what Germany must aspire to if they want to be seeded in the World Cup draw.

The good news for Germany is that three of the teams fighting to be seeded, Spain, Italy and Croatia, are all in the same group, which will cause them to drop points when they play each other. This is because when one team gets points, the other loses them. This is a great opportunity for Germany to get close to them.

As we can see, this doesn’t mean Germany have to win the Euros, it means they have to win all the matches, or as many as they can. It sounds similar, but it’s not the same. They may well be champions winning all seven matches, but they can also take the trophy with four victories, one draw and two wins on penalties. The former way will earn them a huge number of points which will get them closer to the objective. The latter would give them fewer points and may not help them climb as much.

Thus, Germany have two goals: win the Euros and get to close to Pot 1 for the draw. However, all their bad results from the last six years have them with their back against the wall: they must win all their matches.

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