Here’s another stunning aspect of Germany’s 7-1 domination of Brazil on Tuesday: We have a new best soccer team in the world. The blowout changed the landscape of ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) ratings. Going into the match, here’s what the SPI top five looked like:
Despite somewhat unimpressive play in the World Cup, Brazil still ranked first over Argentina by a healthy margin, and the Germans ranked fourth. But when ESPN’s Stats & Info team recalculated the SPI on Wednesday morning, a very different picture emerged:
Essentially, Germany’s incredibly lopsided victory caused it to flip spots with Brazil. Now the Germans have a sizable lead over the rest of the field (nearly as big a separation as Brazil had going into the tournament), and Brazil has dropped to fourth behind the Argentines and Colombians. (Note, too, that Colombia’s SPI dropped marginally, because Brazil’s loss affected the strength-of-schedule component of its rating.)
SPI was wrong Tuesday in its estimation of the relative qualities of Germany and Brazil, even after adjusting for the loss of Brazil’s superstar forward, Neymar. But the good thing about a rating system like SPI is that it can use new information to revise its estimates; the stronger the new evidence, the greater the adjustment. And a 7-1 win is strong evidence that SPI had Germany rated too low and Brazil too highly.