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Today, we’re releasing the rankings for the Under-23 men’s national football teams from the member associations of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation). We’re releasing it in conjunction with today’s AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifying draw. To view the draw results, click here

We want to make a ranking for the youth national team, because at the moment we don’t have a reliable ranking for this. Usually the AFC uses performance from the latest edition of the AFC championship to determine team rankings. But this raises some strange cases. For example, Japan went into Pot 2 for today’s draw after a poor performance in the 2020 edition. This is an unreasonable decision, given the fact that Japan will always be the favorites, given their consistent good performance in the Olympics, which is an Under-23 tournaments.

Therefore, we wanted to use a ranking formula that takes into account more tournaments to better reflect the quality of the team over the past few years. To rank teams, UEFA already has a proven coefficient formula for youth national teams, which they use for seeding in qualifiers and final tournaments (read here). So we decided to adapt this formula to the youth national teams in Asia. There are some changes we made to the original formula, as there are some differences between UEFA and AFC Youth Championship which may cause the formula to be inaccurate.

The rankings will be updated in two occasions: after the qualifiers finished and after the final tournaments finished. Read below for how the ranking works. Check out the latest rankings dated July 9, 2021, here

Ranking Principle

The results of the three most recent editions of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup (formerly the AFC U-23 Championship) will be considered in the rankings. Results in the qualifiers will also count, but are only awarded half of the points in the tournament finals.

These points will be awarded based on team’s result in final tournament matches:

  • 10,000 points are awarded for each match played, regardless of the result
  • 30,000 points for a win
  • 10,000 points for a draw
  • 501 points added for each goals scored
  • 500 points deducted for each goals conceded
  • If match ended in penalty shootout, the match will be considered as a draw. The winner of penalty shootout will be awarded an extra 10,000 points.

These points will be awarded based on team’s result in qualification matches:

  • 5,000 points are awarded for each match played, regardless of the result
  • 15,000 points for a win
  • 5,000 points for a draw
  • 251 points added for each goals scored
  • 250 points deducted for each goals conceded

Bonus points will be given for each match in the final tournament:

  • 9,000 points for group stage matches
  • 18,000 points for quarter-finals
  • 28,000 points for semi-finals
  • 18,000 points for third-place match
  • 38,000 points for final

All points accumulated in one tournament cycle (qualifiers and final tournaments) are divided by the number of matches played, to calculate points for that tournament cycle. The final points for each team will then be calculated as the sum of the points in the three most recent tournament cycles, with the oldest cycle only weighing half as much as the other cycles.

If a team does not play in any of the three cycles, the final points will be counted only from the cycles played by the team in question. If a team does not play in a qualifying match due to hosting the final tournament, the qualifying points from the last cycle the team played in, will be used.

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