World Cup Power rankings (4)

Here we go: the World Cup power rankings revised after the round of 16. For comments on the 16 teams already eliminated see previous power rankings.

World Cup Power Rankings (3)

World Cup Power Rankings (2)

World Cup Power Rankings

  1. Brazil (+2) Growing into the tournament and Neymar is improving game by game (his football not his play acting). Now they’ll face a genuine heavyweight in Belgium and without Casemiro not that Fernandinho is a bad replacement. They’re favourites but haven’t beaten a top draw European side at the World Cup since 2002!
  2. France (+5) After a drab group campaign France thrilled against Argentina. Deschamps may just have found his best team but must now tinker again to do it without Matuidi. M’bappe is emerging as the star of the tournament but what’s happened to Griesmann?
  3. Uruguay (-1) The best balanced team in the tournament and improving with every game. But with Cavani unlikely to be fit enough to start they’ll will be looking to Jimenez & Godin to keep France at bay and Suarez to find a moment of magic.
  4. England (+1) They won a penalty shootout! England exorcising their penalty demon lifted a huge weight from this team and their manager. England have a maturing team with power and pace in attack and improving in defence, but do they have the creativity to unlock Sweden? Whatever happens next they’ve annoyed Diego Maradona and that alone makes this a great tournament back home.
  5. Belgium (-1) Answered questions about their character after coming from 2 down but how they got into such a mess is a concern. Kompany’s return is a welcome one if he’s fully fit, but to go any further they need to get more out of Kevin De Bruyne.
  6. Croatia (-5) They couldn’t reproduce their form from the group phase and struggled when pressed high up the pitch by Denmark but got the job done. They have more than enough craft to beat Russia but can they do it in front of a hostile crowd on Saturday night?
  7. Russia (+6) Their only shot on target was a penalty- not that they’ll care! Riding their home nation momentum Russia defended for their lives against Spain and celebrated forcing a penalty shootout as much as winning it. Surely they can’t keep it going, can they?
  8. Sweden (-) Weren’t they supposed to be down and out after Toni Kroos’ last gasp goal? The resilience of this side that qualified at the expense of Holland & Italy and then got through their group at Germany’s is incredible. Defensively stout with 3 clean sheets from 4 games they’ll be tough to beat but are unlikely to excite with their misfiring frontline.
  9. Japan (+7) The most heartbreaking exit we’ve seen thus far belonged to Japan. They played wonderfully well to stun Belgium with 2 quick goals only to go down to the last kick of the game. In truth they were to blame for their own demise by pushing too many men forward, but perhaps they felt they had to go for it knowing they couldn’t repel Belgium for another 30 minutes? Japan now need to start again with the likes of Honda, Nagatomo, Kagawa & the brilliant Takashi Inui all in the 29-32 age bracket. They may be gone but they gave us one of the all time great World Cup matches.
  10. Portugal (-1) Portugal are a frustrating team to watch- blessed with great talent including arguably the greatest ever and yet under Fernando Santos they’ve become the masters of winning ugly. You couldn’t argue with this approach when it made them European Champions, but as Manchester United fans have found under fellow Portuguese Jose Mourinho when you play ugly and don’t win what exactly do you have?
  11. Mexico (-) Mexico have given us great entertainment in this World Cup with their pace and dynamic counter attacking style and introduced one of the brightest new stars of the game in Hirving Lozano. But that awful second half against Sweden cost them dear and it all ended in familiar fashion- in the last 16 against a South American powerhouse.
  12. Spain (-6) In hindsight this campaign was fatally flawed by the departure of the manager after the team arrived in Russia. Spain can still pass sides to death but without the guile of Villa or the pace of Torres they’ve struggled to get in behind well-drilled defences. Spain now need to decide what style of team they want to be after failing to make the last 8 for the third straight tournament. Whichever way they go it’ll be without Andres Iniesta who deserved better than coming off the bench for his final international.
  13. Denmark (+2) Denmark were unlucky to be out after an excellent tactical performance against Croatia. They are a typical Scandinavian team with a strong defence and team ethic greater than the sum of their parts. But they’ll need to find more parts on Christian Eriksen’s level to progress much further.
  14. Switzerland (-4) A third successive round of 16 exit for Switzerland at major tournaments tells you exactly where this team is at. Sturdy in defence with a couple of dynamic talents In Shaqiri & Xhaka but lacking a prolific striker feels like the cut and paste comment at the ready for their Euro 2020 campaign.
  15. Argentina (-1) Wow what a mess! Argentina did at least give us a great entertaining   clash against France and some moments of magic from Messi & Di Maria but Argentina lacked any tactical shape, any system of play and weaknesses so glaring they might as well have put a huge target on the backs of their back 4, goalkeeper and Javier Mascherano who at times was being retired before our eyes. With little new talent coming through (if the youth World Cup’s are anything to go by) Argentina must find a manager who can combine the veteran talents together and persuade the brightest one to stay.
  16. Colombia (-4) A strange erratic tournament ended for Colombia with a cynical performance and deserved last 16 exit. Colombia always looked better when James Rodriguez was running the game and in his absence offered little going forward and dark tactics. In the plus column Yerry Mina & Davinson Sanchez have been the best centre half pairing in the tournament but there’s been little sign of the side that thrilled in 2014.
  17. Nigeria 
  18. South Korea 
  19. Senegal 
  20. Peru 
  21. Morocco
  22. Serbia 
  23. Germany
  24. Iran 
  25. Poland 
  26. Iceland
  27. Australia
  28. Tunisia 
  29. Costa Rica
  30. Saudi Arabia 
  31. Egypt 
  32. Panama 


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