Friday, June 27, 2014

World Cup power rankings 16 - 1

After the first half of the power rankings yesterday, it's time for the second half, including the best team from the group stages....

16. Croatia
One of the best teams not to make it through. Should have got at least a point against Brazil in the opening game, and then easily overcame Cameroon. Couldn’t quite hold back a Mexico team that went forward well in the last game, but the defence did basically look solid throughout.

15. Uruguay
A tough choice, given they have essentially been a one-man team, and especially considering who that man is. Offered nothing in the first game, before overcoming an England team that didn’t look like they knew where they were. The win against Italy was overshadowed by the bite from Suarez, and it’s hard to see them going any further without him.

14. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Best team not to qualify, very unlucky in their first trip to the finals. Should have had a draw against Argentina in the opening game but for an own goal in the first five minutes and a moment of Messi brilliance. Lost to Nigeria in a dull game but easily beat Iran. Well organised at the back and Dzeko could have done with a bit more support.

13. Costa Rica
Most people thought the first game against Uruguay was a freak result, but Arsenal player Joel Campbell looked just as dangerous in the shock win over an ordinary Italy side. They were happy to play out a dull 0-0 in the last game against England, but still have more to offer.

12. Algeria
Would have been ranked in the top 15 regardless of qualifying. Unlucky to lose to Belgium owing to a dubious penalty decision before one of the best 20 minutes of attacking football you’ll see to wipe away South Korea. Held on for a gutsy draw against a stoic Russian team to qualify for the first time.

11. Switzerland
Not inspiring but did more than enough to qualify from their group. Won the only game they needed to despite going behind against Ecuador before running into the irresistible French team who could have scored 10 in their second game. A comfortable win against Honduras including a hat-trick for Shaqiri saw them though.

10. Belgium
Haven’t lived up to expectations or hype just yet, but have efficiently cleaned up in the dullest group by far. Premier League players haven’t quite gelled together but they were caused few problems in their three matches.

9. Mexico
Should have scored more goals than they did, owing to mistakes from the officials in the first game against a lacklustre Cameroon. Executed their game plan against Brazil to perfection before coasting past Croatia. Defence looks just as solid as the forwards.

8. USA
Controversial selection after sneaking past Ghana and losing to Germany, but some of the football they have played merits their place in the top 8. The game against Portugal was played a blistering pace, and even though they lost Altidore in the first half of the opening game.

7. Chile
Probably the most stylish South American team in the competition. Player three very entertaining games in overcoming Australia and Spain before falling to Netherlands. Good players throughout the team, but will need Vidal back if they are to progress.

6. Brazil
Although they have coped well with the pressure and the emotion in the national anthems. Neymar has played well without hitting the heights, and they do look shaky at the back. In the first game against Croatia they should have got a point at best and then failed to break down Mexico, but they still have the ability to turn on the style at any minute.

5. France
The old cliché is you never know which France will turn up. In the first two games it was a flowing, ball moving joy with Benzema on good form. The third game saw changes made and a pretty dull 0-0 with Ecuador but the damage had already been done. They could go far.

4. Germany
Thomas Muller is the leading striker at the tournament but the Germans still haven’t really clicked on all levels. The thrashed a poor Portugal team in the first game and then scrambled a draw against Ghana in an entertaining clash. The last game against the USA was a bit of a washout, but having already secured their place it didn’t really matter.

3. Netherlands
No one expected much from this team, let alone blowing away the world champions effortlessly in the first game. Van Persie and Robben have been a revelation, playing with a pace and vigour that hasn’t been seen from them for a while. Also showed good grit to overcome Australia and then a professional performance against a decent Chile team.

2. Argentina
A tricky pick, because although they haven’t swept teams aside like Columbia or the Netherlands, but they have the outstanding player of the tournament. Messi has almost single-handedly won the game against Bosnia after a shaky start, Iran after a solid defensive showing and then Nigeria in one of the games of the competition. With Messi on the pitch anything is possible.

1. Columbia

Easily the best team in the competition so far, and not just for the dancing after their goals. Free-flowing football from front to back as they won the three group games, putting three past a stingy Greek defence before blowing away Japan in the last game. James Rodriguez looks especially good, scoring three goals already   

Obviously it should be said that three games is a tiny sample size and the quality of opposition faced has ranged wildly from team to team. Also, just because Columbia are top ranked doesn't mean I think they're going to go on and win, but you won't have long to wait as the knock-out phase predictions will be up tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment