World cup is ranked every remaining team – and only two countries are ahead of England From 32 to 16 to eight. This is how knockout football usually works, and indeed it did at the 2022 World Cup
World cup is raked every remaining team is ranked below according to their probability of winning the tournament. Some previous rankings are higher than eight, as we ranked the 16 teams that were relegated last time.
8. Croatia (previous ranking: 7th)
He played it against Japan and slipped through due to poor penalties from the opposition. Staying alive is important at this point in the tournament, but it’s hard to find a less convincing win in the Round of 16. Croatia clearly knows how to negotiate knockout football, especially games that go beyond 90 minutes, but they will need more than resilience to knock out Brazil on Saturday.
7. Morocco (formerly 9th)
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Spain, a team that has now not won a World Cup knockout match since 2010 final, was knocked out by Qatar’s biggest champions. Their quarter-final berth has far more to do with their own convincingly gutsy football under Walid Regragui than any failings by their opponents. It’s no doubt a huge upset to see them reach this stage, but their steel in midfield and defense, the threat of Hakim Ziyech up front, and the coolness of their penalties suggest they could go even further.
6. Netherlands (previously 10th)
The uneven performances at the start of the tournament now look like a Louis van Gaal masterclass. He did a number on a tricky US team, setting traps and picking them up on the break, and arguably the breakout player of this World Cup in Cody Gapko. Another potentially exciting game against Argentina and you’d be foolish to write van Gaal off in their situation. At worst, it’s a throwback.
5. Argentina (formerly 5.)
The a growing feeling that Lionel Messi and his many admirers are collectively willing this team forward. Can they give their talisman’s career a fairytale ending? They will have to find a different gear after a narrow win against Australia that came close to extra time in the Round of 16. For all the Messi talk and the way he can do nothing for half an hour and then score a goal as magnificent as the one that gave Argentina the lead against Australia, their best asset may be their defense. Australia’s goal was the first they had conceded since two in the opening game against Saudi Arabia.
4. Portugal (formerly 6th)
Portugal looked a bit like Aston Villa in their win over Switzerland after they sacked Steven Gerrard as they scored three goals in the first 14 minutes in a 4-0 win against Brentford. Was it the Cristiano Ronaldo effect, or rather the non-Cristiano Ronaldo effect? It was a stunning finish for their first goal from Goncalo Ramos, the man who replaced him and then scored a hat-trick. Competent Switzerland looked unlucky, but Morocco will present a different and perhaps tougher challenge.
3. England (formerly 1.)
Again very impressive to see Senegal who, like Switzerland, were good opponents for Portugal whose opponents looked bad. Now just a small matter from their biggest World Cup match in 20 years. It’s too close because if England can keep Kylian Mbappe quiet, they’ve shown they have the guts and talent to go head-to-head with the best. Will it be when they get back to writing or will they show their fans that England is finally ready to seriously challenge themselves in this competition?
2. France (formerly 2.)
After an unpredictable group stage, the Round of 16 featured strong teams flexing their muscles and earning eye-catching scores. So what to make of France’s mere two-goal win against Poland, who looked like one of the weakest teams to progress from the group stage? On paper, it was a less convincing win than Portugal or England, but in practice, it was an increasingly fearsome Mbappe that earned them their place just above the team they face next. After Argentina against the Netherlands, this is the toughest match of the last quarter. For once in knockout football, there is a sense that England’s A-list opponents will have to be at their best to beat them.
1. Brazil (previously 4th)
Full of gusto, joy, and dancing as they stormed past South Korea, but the manner in which they scored their three free goals and the litany of chances they created afterward will terrify every other team left at this World Cup. No team has such fearsome pace and skill when rushing forward and Neymar has adapted his game to be a wise older boss dictating traffic from a deeper position. A sense that many in their team are uplifted by the scene and the difficult history of the jersey. Also, somewhat under the radar, the meanest defense in the competition.