You may have noticed that Canada has jumped 13 places, and is now ranked #53. How did we accomplish this amazing feat without playing any matches? The FIFA rankings are based on four years worth of results. So for the October Rankings it includes Oct 08 - Oct 09 at 100%, Oct 07 - Oct 08 at 50%, Oct 06 - Oct 07 at 30%, and Oct 05 - Oct 06 at 20%. So for a painful yet concrete example that disaster in Montreal has now stopped counting against our 100% average entirely and is now counted against the 50% average. Given that our stellar performance in the Gold Cup is rated 100% we can expect to stay high in the rankings until July or August 2010 when that drops to 50%. At which point we should have already started playing friendlies in May so hopefully to maintain our ranking.
The points for each phase are calculated by average. So if a team accumulates 3000 points in a year. That total is divided by the number of matches that they have played (it must be at least 5, or it is divided by 5 anyway). So if a team only played 5 matches then they would have 600 points that count towards their ranking. But if they played another match and lost 3000 would be divided by 6 leaving them with only 500 points to count.
For the year May 09 - May 10 Canada has just over 2900 points from 6 matches or 484.5 points (at 100%). Any points that we gain will be added to our total and then divided by the number of matches. So it would make sense to play a team that could offer us at least 484.5 points if we won, otherwise we would be guaranteed to drop in the rankings. That means the lowest ranked team that Canada could play would be a UEFA team that is ranked #39 or #38. That means with a win we would stay where we are. To improve our standing we would have to play a higher ranked team and win.