FIH: From Kookaburras’ downfall to India and the Netherlands’ rise, a look at the FIH World Rankings in 2023

An action-packed year of hockey in 2023 saw a few changes in the FIH World Rankings. After holding the top spot at the end of 2022, the Australian Men’s Hockey Team dropped to sixth, whereas the Dutch stood atop both men’s and women’s divisions.


In the FIH Women’s World Rankings, it was again the Netherlands who retained their place at the top becoming an indomitable force in world hockey. There has been no match for the women in orange as they haven’t lost a single match in 2023. With 3457 points, they are more than 600 points ahead of the second-placed Australian women’s team, which seems a difficult figure to match even in 2024.


While England slipped in rankings (to the 7th position) as they lost five matches out of the nine, Belgium and India climbed up two places each by their great performances at the EuroHockey Championship and Asian Games respectively.


The Indian team has been in prime form as they got the maximum match exposure playing a total of 24 games with a win record of 66.67%. While India hasn’t faced the top teams like the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Argentina, 2024 will be a litmus test for them with FIH Olympic Hockey Qualifiers, the 2024 Paris Olympics, and a few more important events lined up.


Through the entirety of the year 2023, some of the biggest movers in women’s rankings include Kenya (up from 37th to 30th) and Zimbabwe (down from 39th to 60th).


In the FIH Men’s World Rankings, France made a big stride as they broke into the Top 10 of the rankings securing the 9th spot at the end of the year. France played a two-match series against the then-top-ranked Kookaburras’ and beat them 4-1 in the first match. They eventually went on to draw the series 1-1. They also finished a creditable 5th at the EuroHockey Championship, ahead of teams like Spain and Wales.


Except for the recently concluded Oceania Cup where they emerged the champions, the Australian men’s team hasn’t been able to live up to their reputation in any other tournament as they slipped five places from last year. Australia finished seventh at the 2022-23 FIH Pro League which was one of the biggest reasons for their downfall. They also failed to secure a medal at the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 losing to the Netherlands in the bronze medal match. With 2544.47 points, the Aussies are currently 500 points behind the table-toppers.


The silver lining for India was getting to play the maximum number of matches. Indians won 24 of the 36 matches they played in 2023. Performing consistently in the 2022-23 FIH Pro League and winning the Asian Games has helped them move up the rankings significantly. They are currently placed at the third spot with 2780.34 points.


The Dutch Men have been on a rampage as they won the EuroHockey Championship 2023 and also emerged as the Champions of the 2022-23 FIH Pro League. Out of the 31 matches that they have played in 2023, they have amassed a total of 106 goals against the top teams in the leaderboard.


With the difference in points between the Netherlands and Belgium (placed second) being less than 100, FIH Pro League 2023-24 is going to play a major role in the change of rankings in the first half of 2024.


How the FIH World Rankings work:

The number of points exchanged depends on the result of the match, the relative ranking of the teams and the importance of the match. 

FIH World Rankings explained:

  • Based on the Elo rating system, which is used as the basis of many other sports ranking systems 
  • When two nations play against each other, a number of ranking points are exchanged between them 
  • In every match, the number of points gained by one team is exactly matched by the number of points lost by the other
  • Teams will win more points for beating teams ranked above them, and therefore teams will lose more points for losing to a team ranked below them 
  • Teams will win less points for beating teams ranked below them, and therefore teams will lose less points for losing to a team ranked above them
  • If a draw occurs, the lower ranked team will gain a small number of points and the higher ranked team will lose the same number of points 
  • The number of points exchanged is dependent on the result of the match (win, lose, shootout win/loss or draw), the importance of the match (part of a major tournament, or a test series for example), and the relative difference in ranking points between the teams before the match. 

More details about the formula used in the algorithm, weightings of matches and other factors can be found HERE together with a Frequently Asked Questions document HERE.

To see the Outdoor FIH World Rankings, please click here.

There is also an Indoor FIH World Ranking which is available here.

And in June 2023, FIH introduced for the first time a Junior FIH World Ranking, which is available here.


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