What information is stored in FootySimulator's international football database?

The FootySimulator game engine is based on statistics from over 20,000 competitive international games dating back to 1916. This includes World Cup Qualifiers and Finals matches and also the principal continental competitions for all confederations.

The FootySimulator database records the scores of all matches at the end of 90 minutes, unless the game went into extra time. In this case the recorded score is that at the end of 120 minutes or the time of a golden goal. Penalty shoot out data is not used in this database except to produce penalty shoot out results if you have chosen that as your method of settling drawn games in the simulations that you run.

How we convert information from our international football database into ratings.

The data from these games is weighted according to the significance of the match, strength of opposition (and competition) and how recently the game has taken place.

Matches in finals tournaments are weighted more heavily than qualifiers. A 1-0 win against Brazil will score more heavily than a 1-0 victory against the Cook Islands. The weightings for each country are related to their current strength and can change. For example they reflect the fact that Iceland are gradually getting stronger and Hungary have been getting gradually weaker over time.

The significance of each goal is also factored into the equation. The rule of thumb is: the closer the game, the more significant the goal. Holland's dramatic late winner against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup Quarter-Final was more significant than Australia's 31st goal in the 31-0 massacre of American Samoa in the 2002 World Cup Qualifiers. By the same token, France's first goal in the 1998 World Cup Final against Brazil was more significant than their third goal in the same game.

Some goals are more equal than others. Using the Australia - American Samoa game as an example, a 31-0 victory does not score 31 times as heavily as a 1-0 victory would against the same opposition. Nor would a 10-0 win score 5 times as heavily as a 2-0 win. The real test of a team's strength is how it copes with close situations rather than how convincingly the cannon-fodder is thrashed. In the 1984 European Championship Qualifiers, England beat Luxembourg 9-0 but failed to qualify for the finals by virtue of losing 1-0 to Denmark. England would have been better served by two 1-0 victories than a 9-1 goal difference and two points dropped. The FootySimulator rankings take this into account rather than merely adding up goal differences to produce an average.