World Cup Power Rankings: Ordering All 32 Teams Following Matchround One in Russia

Wow, that was quick! We have now completed the first round of fixtures at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and it's already had a number of high profile results and captivating plot lines. 


Although it's still extremely early, and there's a lot of football left to be played, the tournament has started to take shape. Of course, you're only as good as your last game, so with that in mind, here are the power rankings so far.

32. Saudi Arabia

Probably the easiest decision of the lot, Saudi Arabia were truly woeful in the inaugural game against hosts, making the supposed worst Russian side for years look anything but.


With a Uruguay side who still have a lot to prove up next, they could've made this spot their own for the remainder of the 2018 tournament. 

31. Nigeria

Coming far too close to surpassing Saudi Arabia's all round incompetence were Nigeria, who with much promise and support, offered nothing in their clash with Croatia. Literally, nothing. 

30. Korea Republic

Save for the penalty, I can't remember anything from this game, and I'm thankful for that fact. Any more memories would just be too painful. 


And if you're accruing losses whilst providing zero entertainment, you get the third worst spot in these rankings.

29. Morocco

Thing is, Morocco didn't actually play that badly against Iran. The problem is, however, that when you concede a last minute own goal of that level of hilarity, you can't rank higher than 29th. 


Especially when, as a result, you hand Iran the top spot in a qualifying group with Spain and Portugal. That's just criminal. 

28. Panama

Points for pluckily holding out Belgium for 45 minutes. Minus points for the subsequent three they conceded in the following 45. All in all, 28th seems fair enough. 

27. Egypt

Egypt were always going to be limited without the presence of the talismanic Mo Salah, but they exceeded these low expectations in a dreary fixture with Uruguay. 


Neither side came off well, but Egypt's ambition deficiency was relentless in its monotony. 

26. Costa Rica

The Costa Ricans showed flashes of the side that was so successful four years ago, but ultimately came unstuck in an intriguing (?) tactical battle with Serbia. 


Having said that, they never really looked like scoring, and may find it tough to do so going forward. 

25. Poland

They came into the tournament as the eighth ranked side in the world, and boasted the top goalscorer from the European Qualifiers. 


However, you wouldn't have believed either of those two facts during their 2-1 defeat to Senegal - they were roundly beaten, and Lewandowski hardly had a kick. Poor man's Harry Kane, in my humble opinion. 

24. Germany

OHHHH YEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!


(sorry)


But have you seen a better picture in recent times than the one that currently occupies your screen. Just fantastic. Even more enjoyable was Mexico's deconstruction of Germany's midfield. The defending champions were handily beaten. Even better than that, the German press have even been bemoaning their lack of a player like Harry Kane. Truly wonderful.

23. Colombia

With high hopes once again after a breathtaking tournament in Brazil four years ago, Colombia started their 2018 campaign in the worst fashion.


Their one man disadvantage, following Carlos Sanchez's impressive early showing for worst performance of the tournament, has helped them from falling further down the list. But, with their group now blown wide open, that may be little compensation. 

22. Tunisia

Let's be honest, Tunisia are no joke. They're a good footballing side, with slick passing, a solid structure and defenders who possess PHDs in the 'Dark Arts'. 


Unfortunately for them they came up against a side with unrelenting pace and unfettered footballing passion. Expect them to rise up the rankings when faced with meeker opposition. 

21. Sweden

Essentially the same as Korea, but with the one caveat that they actually won the game. 


Should have it easier in round two however, where they will face a German team in disarray. Pure disarray. In all seriousness, with a solid defensive base and the ability to frustrate 'quality' sides (just ask the Italians), they could well spring a surprise against the DFB. 

20. Australia

The Socceroos battled hard against a faulting French side, but just couldn't hold onto the draw that their endeavour warranted. 


Having said that, they look stunted in attack, and considering the calibre of their remaining opponents in Group C, they could very well end up pointless. 

19. Peru

Apart from the Danish, it's hard to think of anyone you would've begrudged Peru a goal against Denmark. While the GoFundMe would've undoubtedly collected significant capital, it wouldn't have been enough to buy a goal for the Peruvians at the Mordovia Arena.


Unfortunately, they now face an uphill battle to qualify. 

18. Argentina

The Albiceleste were disjointed, top heavy and Messi centric. Essentially, same old, same old. Except this time, Messi couldn't bail them out, as he was thwarted by Iceland's part time film director in goal. 


With Croatia awaiting him in round two, it won't get any easier. While you wouldn't bet against Messi bouncing back with a massive individual performance, the smart money would also be on Modric and Rakitic slicing that immobile defence in two on more than one occasion. 

17. Uruguay

Uruguay were woeful, with Luis Suarez particularly laboured, and no one but Edison Cavani showing any kind of form or desire. 


Nevertheless, a 1-0 win is all you need in an opening game, and in facing Saudi Arabia next they will immediately have a chance to flex their dark horse muscles.

16. Iran

As mentioned, Iran are top of Group B. A unit of stoic players, and a defined style of play honed by one time Real Madrid manager Carlos Queiroz. 


While Spain may render those qualities futile on Wednesday evening, they should be praised for their position while it remains so. 

15. Denmark

I'm still bitter Denmark, but I guess well done. Here's 15th place. 

14. Brazil

Brazil's stalemate with Switzerland shared many of the same beats as England's clash with Tunisia - both had fast, energetic starts, with some fabulous football played, before they were hampered by a resilient foe, as well as some suspect decisions. 


The key difference was of course, Brazil didn't possess the wherewithal or spirit to conjure up a winner. Shame. 

13. Serbia

Serbia showed enough attacking intent to garner such a place, and Kolarov's free kick was a thing of true beauty, but they will hope that their profligacy (especially Mitrovic's) will not be repeated. 


The Roma man has an excellent left foot, but they can't become reliant on it to pull them out of trouble every time.

12. Russia

After all the disparaging comments and grumblings of a Russian team bereft of hope, talent and skill, they only went and scored five! The most of any team in the tournament. 


Sure they were playing the worst team around, but they deserve their place in the upper echelons of these rankings. 

11. Switzerland

Stunted an ethereal Brazil side, and even managed to circumnavigate VAR. Excellent work. Their round two fixture with Serbia will be intriguing to say the least. 

10. Croatia

Hard to gauge how good they actually are considering Nigeria's no-show, but you can't argue with a 2-0 win as a way to kick off your World Cup. 


The match against Argentina should test their credentials as top 10 inhabitants. 

9. Senegal

It came late in the day, the final fixture of the first round, but Senegal eventually got their tournament up and running, and in sensational fashion. 


Though Poland were surprisingly shambolic, the Senegalese won't be complaining, and deserve a top nine spot for the ridiculousness of their goals alone. 

8. France

Eighth place seems fairly generous for a side that struggled to impose themselves throughout their game with a work-heavy but rudimentary Australian side. 


Despite possessing almost every good young player in world football, Didier Deschamps still can't seem to get his team firing on one cylinder, let alone the proverbial all. 


The subsequent call up of Olivier Giroud to the starting eleven for their next game is admission of such, but will probably improve the fit of the team, especially against the third shortest team around.

7. Iceland

What else is left to say about these sea-hardened miracle workers? Are they simply on an unstoppable quest to humble every historically successful team in football history? 


Whatever their final position, the proprietors of the Viking Clap have already done enough to leave an indelible mark on Russia 2018. 

6. Japan

A fantastic result for the Japanese, who got off to the perfect start, but then handled the pressure of being pegged back by a 10 man team with aplomb, and found a way to wrestle back the advantage. 


Their game against Senegal in the second round will certainly be one to watch, after the two came out as quasi-unlikely victors in a hotly contested Group H. 

5. England

I can't think of a better way to commence football's 27 day journey home than a last gasp winner against an emboldened Tunisia side. Ideal for the subsequent commemorative DVD. 


Truthfully, while Martin Keown may have been slightly overzealous in his assessment of England's play, he wasn't far off. In that first 30 minutes, we were as good as anyone's been in this tournament. Going forward, however, the scoreline must reflect that dominance if it is to actually count for anything. 


Kane getting off the mark in a major tournament is as gratifying for us as it will be concerning for opponents. 


I'll end with a quote from German publication Bild: "They played like Germany should play, fast and direct. It may be very early in the tournament, but that is how world champions win games." 

4. Belgium

A stodgy opening half (especially in comparison to the electricity of Volgograd) was rectified by a three goal demolition job following half time. 


Romelu Lukaku's goals will have a similar effect to Kane's, but to be honest I don't think Belgium ever hit the heights that the Three Lions did. Still, 3-0 is 3-0, I guess, even if it is against Panama.

3. Portugal

Participants in the game of the first round (and I fear, the tournament as a whole), Portugal showed they're a force to be reckoned with this summer in holding Spain to a wildly entertaining 3-3 draw. 


As if the world needed reminding, when Cristiano Ronaldo is sporting your colours, anything is possible. Nevertheless, the Navigators (seriously, that's their nickname) also showed they are no longer overly reliant on just Ronaldo, in a breathless first half display of counter attacking, penetrative football. 

2. Spain

As with before, it may seem strange to place a side who are currently third in their group as the second best team in the tournament after the first round, but it's fair. 


Two days after losing Julen Lopetegui, Spain turned up and produced a spellbinding show of attacking intuition, craft and backbone, and were only thwarted by an uncharacteristic error and one man's inordinate talent. 


Despite the draw, a Spanish marker was laid down in Sochi on Friday night. 

1. Mexico

You beat the defending champions, you become the champions...of the first round at least. The Mexicans were magnificent against Germany, and showed their affinity for both offensive and defensive work in two contrasting, but no less impressive, halves of football.


Felicitaciones, El Tri, let's see if you can maintain your spot at the culmination of round two!