Close sidebar

World Cup 2018: Power Ranking All 32 Teams After The First Round Of Matches

SOCHI, RUSSIA - JUNE 15: Diego Costa (R) of Spain celebrates with team mates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Spain at Fisht Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

At this point in the World Cup, every one of the 32 nations involved has played their first group fixture.

There have been a few shocks so far as many of the favourites have thus far yet to find their feet, while some of the dark horses and would-be surprise packages are finding that being tipped for a World Cup and actually having one are two completely different things.

But how do the sides rank after the first round of fixtures, relative to their standing before the tournament began?

 

1. Spain. Arguably played the best football of any side thus far, despite failing to win their opening match, and looked the strongest team so far. The quality of opposition must be taken into account, but they can’t afford to keep making sloppy mistakes.

2. Belgium. Struggled to get going against Panama, but once the first goal had been scored, that was that. They will face tougher tests, but theirs was one of the more commanding victories at this World Cup so far.

3. Brazil. Undone by their own sense of hubris, perhaps failing to beat Switzerland was the wake-up call Tite’s side needed to push themselves more and realise that there is plenty of work still to do to get out of this group.

4. Croatia. Made short work of what was supposed to be a strong Nigerian threat, and will fancy their chances now of taking charge of their group and winning it.

TOPSHOT - France's forward Antoine Griezmann takes a penalty during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group C football match between France and Australia at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 16, 2018. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

5. France. Scraped a win against Australia, but won nonetheless. Didier Deschamps has plenty to do in terms of getting his tactics right but France are a team that can be dragged pretty far by individual moments of brilliance.

6. Portugal. Saved by Cristiano Ronaldo against Spain, as without their talisman they looked very ordinary. His presence alone has them so high here, but the rest of the team needs to step up in the last 16.

7. Germany. Jogi Low refuses to panic, but the abject display against Mexico should have sent alarm bells ringing. They were worryingly subpar, but have the players to put that behind them and reach knockout stages at least.

8. Mexico. Had a plan against Germany and executed it brilliantly. A flying start and a strong disciplined finish, they are very much on course to make the last 16.

TOPSHOT - Mexico's forward Hirving Lozano (L) celebrates after scoring during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between Germany and Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 17, 2018. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

9. England. Good against Tunisia, but not “exceptional” as one or two have called it. A terrific start gave way to a ponderous middle and end. Let’s see which England turns up against Belgium and beyond.

10. Senegal. Much was made of Aliou Cisse’s conservative approach, but it worked brilliantly against Poland. A system of suffocation and catching the opponents on the break worked perfectly, and the side have made a brilliant start to the most open group.

11. Uruguay. Got out of jail a bit with that late Jose Gimenez header against Egypt, but the South Americans were full value for their victory. Three points against Saudi Arabia will almost certainly see them through.

12. Argentina. Problems, problems everywhere. By the grace of Messi they are still this high in the rankings, but their sloppiness at the back and disjointed miss of a frontline mean that they are in big trouble.

13. Russia. What a difference a (5-0) win makes. Saudi Arabia were horrid, let’s not forget that, but Russia now have plenty of confidence and a bit of belief in their national team, finally.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: Artem Dzyuba of Russia celebrates with Denis Cheryshev of Russia after he scores his side's fourth goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

14. Serbia. Slightly wasteful against Costa Rica at the weekend, but got the win and that’s all that matters. A positive result against Switzerland and they can start planning for the knockout stages.

15. Iceland. The smallest nation at this World Cup continues to impress, and have already made their mark on Group D  with a 1-1 draw against Argentina. With the South Americans out of the way, they will fancy their chances of good results against Croatia and Nigeria to get out of the pool.

16. Denmark. Rode their luck at times against Peru, but came away with a win and that puts them in good stead for qualification for the next round.

17. Japan. Started and finished well against Colombia, and were full value for their win. Seen as the underdogs in their group, Japan have thrown the cat among the pigeons by defeating the favourites.

TOPSHOT - Iceland's forward Alfred Finnbogason (hidden) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Argentina and Iceland at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on June 16, 2018. (Photo by Juan Mabromata / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

18. Switzerland. Took advantage of some very lax Brazil play in their group opener, but will nonetheless have taken heart from the result. The match against Serbia will likely determine who gets out of this group.

19. Sweden. Offered bits an.d pieces of quick, intelligent play against South Korea but were predictable for the most part. Will need to perform to a higher standard against Germany and Mexico.

20. Poland. Looked very rusty agaisnt Senegal, to the point where their entire campaign is now in danger of ending prematurely. Getting a result out of Colombia next is now a necessity, as another defeat will likely eliminate them.

21. Australia. Gave a great account of themselves against France, even if they didn’t come away with anything. They will feel that they can get something out of both Peru and Denmark.

22. Tunisia. Rattled England perhaps more than had been expected, but their confidence could not be backed up with much of an attacking threat and that will be a big problem for them in the remainder of their campaign.

VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 18: Ferjani Sassi of Tunisia is congratulated by Yassine Meriah of Tunisiaa after he scores a penalty during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between Tunisia and England at Volgograd Arena on June 18, 2018 in Volgograd, Russia. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

23. Iran. To some degree, their plan against Morocco worked insofar as they came away with the win, but their overall play wasn’t particularly impressive and Spain and Portugal should have few problems.

24. Peru. Will wonder how they weren’t able to put the ball in the net against Denmark, and the 1-0 defeat has given them a mountain to climb with France and Australia to come.

25. Nigeria. Tipped by many to do well in Group D, the Super Eagles offered little by way of a threat to Croatia. They stil have players that can cause problems for Argentina and Iceland, but will have to step up several gears to do so.

26. Colombia. Missed James Rodriguez in a big way against Japan, and their plight was made worse by the early red card. Improved after that, but looked worryingly off the pace for far too long.

27. Morocco. Tipped by some to give Portugal or Spain a scare in this group, it looks all over for Morocco already after they failed to make their dominance pay against Iran. That 1-0 defeat could be fatal.

28. Egypt. Mo Salah was involved in over 70% of Egypt’s goals in qualifying, and this is what happens when you take the Liverpool man out of the team. They looked lost against Uruguay, and have much to do now to get out of that group.

Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah attends a training session on June 18, 2018 in Saint Petersburg during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

29. South Korea. Son Heung-min and the rest. South Korea didn’t have much to offer against Sweden apart from the Tottenham frontman and neither Germany nor Mexico will be greatly worried

30. Costa Rica. Highly unlikely to repeat the heroics of 2014 at this point. They were limited against Serbia and shouldn’t pose Brazil or Switzerland too many problems.

31. Panama. Sprightly, but very limited. Their plan to contain Belgium gave way in the second half and the tactics against England and Tunisia will be similar.

32. Saudi Arabia. Started well against Russia, but were undone by their shambolic defending and will do well to get anything from this group.

 

Read More About: , , , , , , , , ,

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.