FIFA’s strange ranking system says Belgium is now the second-best team in the world

Belgium has risen to second place, behind Germany, in the latest FIFA rankings.

I know what you’re thinking: can we trust the FIFA rankings? Did Chuck Blazer fix them in return for millions of dollars in bribes? Is the ranking algorithm also some sort of sophisticated tax avoidance calculation? Is England now below Costa Rica as a result of furious officials punishing the Anglo-Saxon media for their persistent corruption investigations?

Don’t worry, it’s none of that. The FIFA rankings have always been fundamentally dubious as a concept, especially in months when there’s very little international soccer, resulting in major ranking shifts for a small number of teams.

Also, FIFA World Rankings? Don’t we have a World Cup every four years to do that?

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There were 44 matches played in May, 26 of them in Africa. Madagascar, which played six games, moved up 37 places. Belgium overtook Argentina to rise to its highest-ever ranking, even though it hasn’t played since March 31.

So why not do them on a quarterly basis, rather than monthly? Well, it’s FIFA. Whatcha gonna do?

England, which is top of Euro 2016 qualifying Group E with five wins from five matches (goals for: 15; goals against: 1) has slipped one place to 15th, below Costa Rica, Romania and Switzerland.

The U.S. meanwhile, is up one place to 27th, just ahead of Scotland and Tunisia. All of which means very little, especially when the numbers being released by the Justice Department right now are so much more interesting.