World Cup 2014: Team Power Rankings After Group-Stage Games

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 26, 2014

World Cup 2014: Team Power Rankings After Group-Stage Games

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Welcome to the latest edition of our FIFA World Cup 2014 team power rankings, where we order the sides competing based on their three group-stage performances and results.

    There's plenty of movement up and down the order, with showings ranging in quality in the third round of fixtures. There's also a new No. 1 in town, as France's 0-0 draw against 10-man Ecuador has knocked them off the top spot.

    Where does your nation level out? Have a look inside.

32. Honduras

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Last Week: 31

    Differential: -1

    Honduras will need to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup if they're to finally pull out their first competition victory, as they ended this year's edition winless courtesy of a 3-0 defeat to Switzerland.

    They never really looked as though they belonged, playing an outdated 4-4-2 and getting crushed with or without the ball by superior opposition.

31. Cameroon

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Last Week: 32

    Differential: +1

    Cameroon lost their third straight game at the tournament and finished at the bottom of Group A, but did get off the mark thanks to a consolatory Joel Matip tap-in.

    The defence looked poor yet again despite heavy rotation against Brazil. The attack looked better in patches, but the midfield struggled without the calmness of Alex Song.

30. Japan

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Last Week: 24

    Differential: -6

    Alberto Zaccheroni has resigned after an abysmal three games in charge of Japan at the World Cup.

    The Samurai Blue started well against the Ivory Coast and went into half-time leading, but from that point on they looked clueless in defence and in attack.

    It was a hugely underwhelming mini-campaign.

29. South Korea

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Last Week: 29

    Differential: None

    South Korea played their best match of the tournament against Belgium on Thursday but still lost 1-0 to an outfit that was missing one man.

    Steven Defour's red card in the first half allowed the Taeguk Warriors to dominate possession and feed their creative outlets high up the pitch, but the Red Devils held firmly and scored the winner on the counter.

28. Australia

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    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 28

    Differential: None

    Australia failed to pick up a point in the three games they played, but they can be happy with their showing at the finals in Brazil all the same.

    Ange Postecoglou has a lot of work to do, but promising signs emerged against three obscenely tough opponents. Unfortunately, their final performance against Spain was by far their worst.

27. Ivory Coast

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Last Week: 16

    Differential: -11

    The Ivory Coast were a draw with Greece away from qualifying, but they fluffed their lines in the final group-stage game.

    A last-minute penalty kick goal from Greece's Georgios Samaras sent them packing. Serey Die and Co. were in tears as the goal was swept home.

    The wait for the Elephants' first appearance in the round of 16 goes on.

26. Russia

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 25

    Differential: -1

    Fabio Capello has a lot of explaining to do when he arrives back in Russia, as the perceived second-best team in Group H went out with a bit of a whimper on Thursday.

    Alexander Kerzhakov started just one game, Alan Dzagoev didn't start at all, and Alexander Kokorin misfired throughout. The Sbornaya have a long way to go before they're ready to contend in 2018 on home soil.

25. Ghana

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    Last Week: 15

    Differential: -10

    Ghana finished bottom of the pile in Group G despite playing some good football and securing an impressive draw with Germany in the second match.

    Asamoah Gyan became the highest African goalscorer in World Cup history (2006-2014) with six strikes, but aside from that there was little to celebrate on the pitch.

24. England

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    Last Week: 22

    Differential: -2

    England endured their worst FIFA World Cup since 1958, exiting at the group stage after accruing one measly point.

    The entire tournament stank of "what could have been?" as strong performances against Italy and Costa Rica were not rewarded with the satisfying results.

23. Italy

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 13

    Differential: -10

    Italy will feel hard done by, being eliminated by a Uruguay side who are in deep trouble due to a fresh Luis Suarez biting fiasco, but the Italians weren't good enough in two of the three games they played.

    They failed to beat Costa Rica despite having all the right tools to do so, and then came up short against a deep-set Celeste side because their offensive setup was all wrong.

22. Iran

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Last Week: 20

    Differential: -2

    Iran's must-win situation going into the final day meant they needed to come out of their shells and attack a little, even if that meant letting a team in behind their lines for the first time this tournament and conceding as a result.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina fell into the right circumstances and had the right personnel to take advantage of the Persian Stars' desperation, but despite the loss, Iran go home a proud outfit.

21. Bosnia and Herzegovina

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Last Week: 23

    Differential: +2

    Bosnia and Herzegovina picked up their first victory in a FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, with Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Avdija Vrsajevic scoring in a 3-1 win against Iran.

    It's been a long time coming—the Dragons were great value for a victory in their first two matches but somehow fell short—and the fans back home are delirious with pride.

    That said, it's difficult to shake the feeling BiH missed a great chance to make a more telling impact in Brazil.

20. Ecuador

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 17

    Differential: -3

    Alexander Dominguez's imitation of Guillermo Ochoa allowed Ecuador to finish with a scoreless draw with France on Wednesday evening, but it's not the result La Tri needed.

    As a result of failing to beat Les Bleus, they become the only South American side in the competition to exit at the group stage. A tough group eventually took its inevitable toll.

19. Portugal

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Last Week: 26

    Differential: +7

    Portugal finished with a flourish, but a 2-1 victory over Ghana wasn't enough to displace the USA and take them into the knockout stages.

    Failing to qualify from Group G is nothing short of abysmal from Paulo Bento and his men, with even Cristiano Ronaldo looking subpar on Thursday afternoon despite scoring a goal.

    They have a lot of convincing to do ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

18. Greece

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Last Week: 30

    Differential: +12

    Georgios Samaras converted a last-minute penalty to send Greece into the knockout stages, at the expense of Didier Drogba and Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

    The Piratiko underwhelmed against Colombia and ground out a draw with 10 men against Japan but finally decided to open up and play in their final group-stage game.

    Fernando Santos has his troops playing a better brand of football than many expected—and he's had to battle injuries to key players, too.

17. Algeria

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 14

    Differential: -3

    Algeria made history, qualifying for the knockout stages for the first time ever courtesy of a last-day 1-1 draw with Russia.

    Islam Slimani converted from an excellent set piece to level the scoring, eliminating the Sbornaya and elevating the Desert Foxes into a position where they will face Germany in the round of 16.

    Algeria have been a breath of fresh air.

16. Spain

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Last Week: 27

    Differential: +11

    Spain avoided the humiliating possibility of ending up with no points out of nine by beating Australia in their final fixture, but the autopsy on their World Cup campaign is still pretty grim.

    The 3-0 result proved positives are out there if you look hard enough. With some more pressing, faith in youth and strong wing play, La Furia Roja will be back in business.

15. Croatia

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Last Week: 11

    Differential: -4

    Croatia bowed out with a 3-1 loss to Mexico, in a match they had to win to qualify but royally messed up.

    Niko Kovac's short campaign could have been so much more if he had unlocked the potential of Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, but instead Croatia's star performer was the unlikely Ivan Perisic.

    On the whole, it feels like the Vatreni wasted a chance.

14. USA

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Last Week: 12

    Differential: -2

    The USA lost 1-0 to Germany in Recife on Thursday but celebrated qualification from Group G all the same. With Ghana losing to Portugal, the U.S. didn't need to accrue any more points to seal it.

    They'll face Belgium in the round of 16, which is a mammoth task, but the belief coursing through Jurgen Klinsmann's squad is second to none.

    Who says they can't turn the tables and hit the quarterfinals this time around?

13. Nigeria

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 19

    Differential: +6

    Nigeria continued to impress on Wednesday, pushing Argentina all the way in their final group-stage game and scoring twice through Ahmed Musa.

    In the end it was Lionel Messi who broke through and notched the first goal against the Super Eagles in the tournament so far. Kenneth Omeruo, in defence, was magnificent again.

12. Switzerland

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Last Week: 21

    Differential: +9

    Switzerland's 3-0 victory over Honduras looked convincing on paper, but they played on the counterattack all game long and came desperately close to conceding twice.

    Josip Drmic and Xherdan Shaqiri's movement and linkup were sublime, but apart from that there's a lot still to be desired. What will they pull out against Argentina in the round of 16?

11. Uruguay

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Last Week: 18

    Differential: +7

    Uruguay shimmied past Italy and into the knockout stages courtesy of a solid performance, a robust defensive attitude and a classic Diego Godin header.

    For now they move up in our estimations, but Luis Suarez's lack of involvement for the next nine games could well deflate this side. How far can they go without him?

10. Belgium

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    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    Last Week: 8

    Differential: -2

    Belgium remain difficult to assess: With nine points from three wins, they were clearly the most efficient outfit in Group H, but it feels like they barely got going.

    The striking issue continues to roll on as Marc Wilmots refuses to gamble on starting Divock Origi, while midfield creativity—bar Eden Hazard—is nonexistent.

    They face the U.S. in the last 16, and it's not a nice matchup for them, given their difficulties in breaking down deep-set teams.

9. Brazil

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    Last Week: 9

    Differential: None

    Brazil found their rhythm against Cameroon in their final group-stage game, but it's important to note that it's the same Indomitable Lions side that were beaten soundly by Croatia and Mexico.

    Neymar scored twice from the left-wing, where he plays best. Fred got off the mark, and Fernandinho came on to impress at the expense of the underwhelming Paulinho.

8. Mexico

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    Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Last Week: 9

    Differential: +1

    Mexico saw Croatia off 3-1 in their final group-stage game, refusing to settle for the draw they needed to reach the knockout stages and instead going full throttle in the final 30 minutes.

    The Vatreni were hit by a green and white train, capable of scoring from any angle, and didn't have nearly enough resources to respond.

    Miguel Herrera's men are a nightmare draw for the Netherlands.

7. Costa Rica

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4

    Differential: -3

    Costa Rica finished their Group D fixture list with a goalless draw with England; they enter the knockout stages unbeaten and having conceded just one goal—from the penalty spot.

    They're set to face Greece in the round of 16, and fans of the Ticos will have to hope their high defensive line continues to hold out against sides using runners over the top and direct through-balls.

6. Chile

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2

    Differential: -4

    Chile's remarkable winning run in the tournament came to an abrupt end against the Netherlands on Monday, but they looked impressive and stylish nevertheless.

    Jorge Sampaoli failed to find a way around the Dutch 3-5-2 system put in place, despite Chile switching formation three times. That's a lesson, perhaps, that Alexis Sanchez and Co. can take forward.

5. Argentina

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6

    Differential: +1

    Argentina don't look perfect, but they're moving through the gears at a steady pace as Lionel Messi pushes them onward and upward.

    Releasing him in a free role is the best thing Alejandro Sabella has done in the tournament so far, and the sight of Messi driving toward defences, creating chances and shooting on goal never gets old.

4. Germany

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    Last Week: 7

    Differential: +3

    Germany eased through their group with seven points, displaying dominance where necessary and crushing 10-man Portugal with consummate ease.

    Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller, thus far, have combined to be a great strike force for Joachim Low's side, but there are question marks surrounding his four-centre-back philosophy in the defensive line.

    Will it hold against better teams?

3. France

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1

    Differential: -2

    France failed to break down a very stubborn Ecuador side in their final group-stage game, but they don't drop too far in our estimations given the circumstances.

    Qualification was essentially assured, and Didier Deschamps was more concerned with fitness and play management. Only a remarkable goalkeeping display by Alexander Dominguez kept Les Bleus from winning convincingly.

2. Colombia

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5

    Differential: +3

    Colombia made it three wins out of three against Japan in their final group-stage game, crushing the Samurai Blue 4-1 with help from James Rodriguez off the bench.

    Los Cafeteros have been superb under Jose Pekerman thus far, combining tough, physical defensive play with delightful, incisive counterattacks.

    Who, feasibly, can stop them?

1. Netherlands

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3

    Differential: +2

    Netherlands made it three wins out of three—just as they did in the 2010 edition—by beating an impressive Chile side 2-0.

    Louis van Gaal played counterattacking football out of a 3-5-2 base formation, took advantage of Arjen Robben's speed and punished La Roja from a set piece.

    With France dropping the ball somewhat, the Dutch are our new No. 1 team.