FIFA World Cup

World Cup 2014: Team Power Rankings After Every Side's Second Game

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 23, 2014

World Cup 2014: Team Power Rankings After Every Side's Second Game

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Welcome to the latest edition of our FIFA World Cup 2014 power rankings, where we arrange the 32 teams participating in Brazil in order of form and results.

    Round 2 of the group-stage fixtures was just as incredible as the first, bringing us goals, drama, upsets and individual displays of pure brilliance.

    Last week's leaders Germany have dropped following a 2-2 draw with Ghana. How far did they fall, and who replaces them?

32. Cameroon

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    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    Last Week: 31st

    Differential: -1

    Cameroon were decimated by Croatia in their second group-stage game, conceding four goals, having Alex Song sent off and failing to net themselves a goal.

    They play Brazil in their final outing, and the best they can hope for is to spoil the hosts' party. Realistically, is that going to happen?

31. Honduras

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Last Week: 32nd

    Differential: +1

    Honduras lost their second game of the tournament against Ecuador 2-1, ending any slim hopes that they'd pull off a remarkable run and hit the knockout stages.

    Entertainment value was high despite the quality on show lacking somewhat, with Carlo Costly netting, Enner Valencia bagging a brace, three goals disallowed and five cards shown.

30. Greece

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Last Week: 27th

    Differential: -3

    Fernando Santos' Greece side have been predictably dire so far, either reverting to defence-first football or looking clueless in possession when forced to attack.

    Their famed solidity at the back has taken a hit in the two games they've played too, as they've conceded three goals to Colombia and succumbed to several clear-cut chances against Japan—only for the Samurai Blue to miss them.

29. South Korea

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    Vinicius Costa/Getty Images

    Last Week: 21st

    Differential: -8

    South Korea were drubbed 4-2 by Algeria on Sunday night, affirming fears after the first game that they just weren't as good as many believed.

    They were abysmal defensively, their pressing game has dropped off and their only attacking hope appears to be Son Heung-min.

    It'll be a huge surprise if they make it to the knockout stages.

28. Australia

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Last Week: 28th

    Differential: None

    Despite accruing zero points in a group they were, simply put, never going to get out of, Australia will be pretty happy with how their tournament has gone.

    Their encouraging showing against the Netherlands, taking the lead and scoring twice before eventually succumbing to superior quality, will have pleased coach Ange Postecoglou even in defeat.

    They've been much better than most thought.

27. Spain

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Last Week: 17th

    Differential: -10

    This wasn't how it was supposed to end, but FIFA World Cups have no mercy.

    Italy won in 2006 and bowed out in the group stage—to Slovakia of all teams!—in 2010; Spain have followed suit by winning in 2010 and crashing out in 2014.

    There are no positive words to describe the campaign.

26. Portugal

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Last Week: 29th

    Differential: +3

    Portugal salvaged a 2-2 draw against the USA on Sunday evening courtesy of a 95th-minute Silvestre Varela header.

    Nani had given them the lead early on but the Seleccao relented, and with just one point on the board after two games, they face a tall order to progress to the knockout stages now.

    A major disappointment. 

25. Russia

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Last Week: 20th

    Differential: -5

    Russia reverted to Fabio Capello-type again vs. Belgium, playing slow(ish) football, leaving their more creative players on the bench and grinding to a loss late on.

    They were able to double- and triple-mark Eden Hazard for much of the game, but a tactical switch from Marc Wilmots changed the momentum. The Sbornaya, barring one Aleksandr Kokorin chance, looked toothless.

24. Japan

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Last Week: 24th

    Differential: None

    Japan came into the tournament boasting a reputation for being able to excite and enthuse, due to their qualifying form and high-scoring affairs in the 2013 Confederations Cup.

    But Alberto Zaccheroni's team have badly underwhelmed, playing about 20 cumulative minutes of good football and failing to win either game.

    Missing sitters against 10-man Greece was a real low point.

23. Bosnia-Herzegovina

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Last Week: 14th

    Differential: -9

    Bosnia-Herzegovina are tough to place in the rankings, as despite playing very well in both games they have accrued zero points and can no longer qualify from Group F.

    They started against Nigeria without Vedad Ibisevic (again) and waited until they were a goal down to bring him on, but the flurry of attacking substitutions made by Safet Susic ruined the shape and flow of the team.

    BiH deserved better.

22. England

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Last Week: 12th

    Differential: -10

    England's World Cup was over before it really had a chance to begin.

    A 2-1 loss to Luis Suarez and Uruguay confirmed their exit, and they now look ahead to a pointless match against Costa Rica—in which their only glory can be to potentially deny the Ticos top spot in the group.

    Roy Hodgson allowed his team to play attacking football, but defensive failings ensured no progress was made.

21. Switzerland

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Last Week: 16th

    Differential: -5

    It's difficult to work out if Switzerland were simply caught in a France-shaped tornado or if they were truly, truly awful. Perhaps it was a bit of both?

    The 5-2 loss looks as bad on paper as it did on the pitch, with the two Swiss strikes coming at 5-0 down, when Les Bleus had essentially lost interest in the match.

    A remarkable drubbing.

20. Iran

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    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 23rd

    Differential: +3

    It's heartbreak for Iran, who were denied two strong penalty shouts against Argentina and yielded to a late Lionel Messi golazo.

    They're so well organised and so difficult to break down that it's tough to know where to start attacking them, and you can bet Bosnia-Herzegovina are going to have serious problems too—even with Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic.

19. Nigeria

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Last Week: 30th

    Differential: +11

    Nigeria may not have played very well over the course of the tournament so far, but they're sitting on four points and look in good shape to qualify for the knockout stages—unless Iran pull a shocker against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    Stephen Keshi was lambasted for not being able to break down the Persian Stars in their opener, but Argentina's subsequent struggles have put those comments in a new light.

    Kenneth Omeruo impressed greatly against BiH.

18. Uruguay

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Last Week: 26th

    Differential: +8

    Uruguay's disaster start to the World Cup was erased by an excellent win over England on Thursday evening.

    Luis Suarez struck twice, the defence showed up and Jose Maria Gimenez continued to impress alongside Diego Godin. Oscar Tabarez's troops are rolling.

17. Ecuador

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 22nd

    Differential: +5

    Ecuador revived their hopes of reaching the knockout stages thanks to two Enner Valencia goals against Honduras, moving them onto three points after two games.

    Their last-minute loss to Switzerland now looks even more damaging, as that late lapse allowing Haris Seferovic to steal in could have serious consequences.

16. Ivory Coast

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Last Week: 18th

    Differential: +2

    The Ivory Coast will probably only require a draw against Greece to progress to the next round, given that Japan face Colombia, but Sabri Lamouchi won't take any chances.

    He has an impressive array of striking options, and with this World Cup proving definitely that the "Didier Drogba effect" absolutely exists once again, the Piratiko won't be fancied by many.

15. Ghana

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Last Week: 25th

    Differential: +10

    Ghana recovered from a disappointing opening 2-1 loss to the USA in fine style, drawing 2-2 with Germany and playing well enough to win the game.

    They were allowed to play on the counterattack—something Jurgen Klinsmann took away from them—and prospered running into space and stretching their legs.

14. Algeria

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 19th

    Differential: +5

    Algeria turned in an absolutely sublime showing on Sunday evening, beating South Korea 4-2 in a goalscoring frenzy in Porto Alegre.

    Vahid Halilhodzic made five changes to the side who held Belgium for 70 minutes until relenting, and this iteration was fast, incisive, attacking and remorseless.

    The Desert Foxes will have picked up quite a few followers off the back of this performance.

13. Italy

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4th

    Differential: -9

    Italy endured a shock 1-0 loss to Costa Rica on Friday, surrendering the top spot in Group D to the Ticos in the process.

    It leaves them needing at least a draw against Uruguay to progress, and it'd be astonishing to witness an Azzurri collapse so soon after securing a great victory over England in the opener.

12. United States

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Last Week: 15th

    Differential: +3

    The USA moved onto four points in Group G after a 2-2 draw with Portugal, but it could, and probably should, have been a victory.

    Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey had put Jurgen Klinsmann's side ahead in the second half, but Silvestre Varela's late header put the progression party on hold.

    The U.S. need a draw or better against Germany to guarantee a spot in the knockout stages.

11. Croatia

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Last Week: 13th

    Differential: +2

    Croatia leveled Cameroon 4-0 in their second game, with Ivan Perisic, Mario Mandzukic, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and more impressing.

    They now go into a winner-takes-all clash with Mexico just a point behind them, and if they fail to secure three points they'll soon be packing their bags.

    It's finely poised.

10. Brazil

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    Last Week: 7th

    Differential: -3

    Brazil's last outing in Fortaleza didn't exactly go to plan, as they drew 0-0 with Mexico in a fairly drab display.

    Despite World Cup fever sweeping the city and an a cappella final verse of the Brazilian national anthem rousing the crowd, none of that feeling translated to the pitch.

    They just haven't really kicked on as yet. 

9. Mexico

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    Last Week: 8th

    Differential: -1

    Mexico were fantastic against Brazil in Fortaleza, and over the balance of two games, they're the top team in Group A.

    Miguel Herrera's attacking style knows no limit, yet El Tri are also yet to concede a goal in the tournament. Perhaps the most underrated performers in the competition so far.

8. Belgium

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Last Week: 11th

    Differential: +3

    Belgium struggled to get going yet again in their second match, having to rely on a piece of Eden Hazard magic to bail them out against Russia.

    That said, and despite the air of disappointment surrounding their performances, they're through to the knockout stages with a game to spare. How tough can life really be?

7. Germany

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1st

    Differential: -6

    Germany were held to a 2-2 draw against Ghana on Saturday afternoon, with Miroslav Klose coming on to rescue his country with a toe-poked, equalising effort.

    After battering Portugal 4-0 in their opener much was expected, but they underwhelmed in the heat and got burned by some fierce counterattacks.

6. Argentina

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6th

    Differential: None

    Argentina huffed and puffed for 91 minutes...then Lionel Messi dug them out of a hole. Again.

    Iran put up a very stubborn defensive wall, filling the central zones to stop wingers cutting inside and defending stoutly from the wide areas.

    But one lapse in concentration was all it took for the Barcelona man to steal inside and unleash a sweet left-footed strike, beating the keeper's outstretched arm and salvaging a much-needed win.

5. Colombia

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5th

    Differential: None

    Colombia still seem to be stuck in first gear, but they've won two games, accrued six points, scored five goals and are galloping toward the knockout stages all the same.

    That doesn't bode well for other teams, as it won't just be James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado pulling the strings after the groupsthe striking situation will settle, too.

4. Costa Rica

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Last Week: 10th

    Differential: +6

    Incredible. Just incredible.

    Costa Rica are vying for three straight wins and the top spot in Group D. Who had that on their coupon pre-tournament?

    Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz, Junior Diaz, Keylor Navas and Co. have all been magnificent, and while their 1-0 victory over Italy had small elements of luck, they deserved the three points.

3. Netherlands

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2nd

    Differential: -1

    Netherlands continued their remarkable tournament by coming from behind to beat Australia 3-2 in their second fixture.

    They went ahead through Arjen Robben but got pegged back by Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak, forcing a change in formation and a rescue effort from Memphis Depay.

    Louis van Gaal has the magic touch.

2. Chile

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 9th

    Differential: +7

    Chile are perhaps the most impressive side we've seen at the tournament, with their powerful, quick game appealing to the eye.

    Alexis Sanchez, Charles Aranguiz, Arturo Vidal and Co. have wowed us with two victories; their crushing of Spain ended a dominant era, and they have the luxury to rotate ahead of the final group game.

1. France

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3rd

    Differential: +2

    France were simply incroyable on Friday evening against Switzerland, battering them 5-2 in a remorseless display of speed, skill and finishing.

    We were impressed with their initial outing against Honduras but asked whether or not they could replicate the performance.

    Well, they matched it and bettered it in a goal blitz, and despite a late lapse in concentration, they come out top of our rankings at the end of Round 2.

     

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