Almost a week into World Cup play, football fans have already seen a slew of shocking upsets and astounding finishes.
Whether its the best teams in the world getting stunned by heroic efforts from smaller nations or heartbreaking finishes that only football can create, the opening matches of the 2018 World Cup have shaken up the field of 32 teams and set the table for who will advance to the knockout round.
Below we’ve taken the opportunity to rank the 32 teams competing in the 2018 World Cup, based on both the results of their opening match and team’s chances of advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament based on analysis from FiveThirtyEight.
32. Saudi Arabia
Opening match: Lost to Russia, 5-0
Next match: vs. Uruguay, June 20
Chance to advance: 2%
One thing to know: Saudi Arabia’s opening loss to the host nation was a disappointing effort, but it did provide for one of the oddest images of the World Cup thus far.
Opening match: Lost to Belgium, 3-0
Next match: vs. England, June 24
Chance to advance: 3%
One thing to know: Panama have an uphill battle to escape the group stage, but the tears in the team’s eyes as they sang their national anthem at the World Cup for the first time in history was still quite a victory for the country.
Opening match: Lost to Iran, 1-0
Next match: vs. Portugal, June 20
Chance to advance: 6%
One thing to know:Morocco’s late own goal was the most unlikely and unfortunate ending we’ve seen yet so far at the World Cup. Worst still, their remaining matchups against Portugal and Spain don’t get any easier.
Opening matches: Lost to Uruguay, 1-0; lost to Russia, 3-1
Next match: vs. Saudi Arabia, June 25
Chance to advance: <1%
One thing to know:Egypt made the baffling decision to sit Mohamed Salah in its opening match against Uruguay, only to falter in the final minutes after what had been a heroic defensive effort. After a loss to Russia, the best Egypt can hope for now is a consolation win against Saudi Arabia in its final match.
Opening match: Lost to England, 2-1
Next match: vs. Belgium, June 23
Chance to advance: 6%
One thing to know: Tunisia hung tough with England for the majority of the match, but conceded a late header to captain Harry Kane that proved to be the game-winner. Earning a result against Belgium is now the team’s only hope to advance.
27. Costa Rica
Opening match: Lost to Serbia, 1-0
Next match: vs. Brazil, June 22
Chance to advance: 4%
One thing to know: Costa Rica was one of the Cinderella stories of the World Cup four years ago, but after a loss in the opening match the country’s chances of a repeat run look exceedingly slim.
Opening match: Lost to France, 2-1
Next match: vs. Denmark, June 21
Chance to advance: 16%
One thing to know: Australia rose to the occasion better than many expected in its opening match against France, but still fell short of stealing any points from the favourite.
25. South Korea
Opening match: Lost to Sweden, 1-0
Next match: vs. Mexico, June 23
Chance to advance: 4%
One thing to know: South Korea may have come up short against Sweden, but the team is still responsible for the most entertaining strategic decision we’ve seen in recent soccer memory.
Opening match: Lost to Croatia, 2-0
Next match: vs. Iceland, June 22
Chance to advance: 14%
One thing to know: Nigerian soccer fans were reportedly banned from bringing their lucky chickens into Russian stadiums, only for the country to later express confusion about the reports, claiming that lucky chickens were never a part of their fan experience. Anyways, the team’s World Cup hopes come down to its upcoming match against Iceland.
Opening match: Beat Morocco, 1-0
Next match: vs. Spain, June 20
Chance to advance: 34%
One thing to know: Iran snagged a 1-0 victory despite not taking a shot on goal for the entire second half thanks to a brutal own goal from Morocco in the game’s closing moments. Still, a win is a win, and this one was just the second at the World Cup in the country’s history.
Opening match: Lost to Denmark, 1-0
Next match: vs. France, June 21
Chance to advance: 17%
One thing to know: Peru had chance after chance against Denmark, including a missed penalty kick and multiple counters that looked like surefire scores. Now the team faces the daunting task of stealing points off of France in order to keep its World Cup hopes alive.
Opening match: Lost to Senegal, 2-1
Next match: vs. Colombia, June 24
Chance to advance: 26%
One thing to know: Poland came into Group H as one of the favourites to advance to the knockout round, but after coming out sluggish against Senegal, the team will need two results in a row if it hopes to continue its run through Russia.
Opening match: Lost to Japan, 2-1
Next match: vs. Poland, June 24
Chance to advance: 40%
One thing to know: Reigning Golden Boot winner James Rodríguez was held scoreless after coming on as a substitute for Colombia against Japan. He’ll likely need to find his footing again should Colombia hope to recover from the stumble to escape the group stage.
Opening match: Beat South Korea, 1-0
Next match: vs. Germany, June 23
Chance to advance: 52%
One thing to know: Swedish fans were so excited about their team’s first World Cup win in 12 years they reportedly drank the Russian city that was hosting them dry.
Opening match: Beat Poland, 2-1
Next match: vs. Japan, June 24
Chance to advance: 60%
One thing to know: Whether you thought the game-winning goal was lucky or unfair or a combination of the two, with its win over Poland, Senegal now faces a win-and-in matchup against Japan in just the country’s second World Cup appearance.
Opening match: Beat Colombia, 2-1
Next match: vs. Senegal, June 24
Chance to advance: 75%
One thing to know: Japan was helped along by an early red card from Colombia, but at the World Cup three points is three points and now Japan is in the driver’s seat in Group H.
Opening match: Beat Costa Rica, 1-0
Next match: vs. Switzerland, June 22
Chance to advance: 53%
One thing to know: With Brazil still expected to advance out of the group despite an opening draw, Serbia’s World Cup fate likely comes down to its do-or-die matchup against Switzerland.
Opening match: Draw with Argentina, 1-1
Next match: vs. Nigeria, June 22
Chance to advance: 34%
One thing to know: Iceland kept it’s miraculous international run of results going with this astounding stop from goalkeeper Hannes Thór Halldórsson, who in addition to stopping Lionel Messi penalty kicks is also quite talented as a director.
Opening match: Beat Peru, 1-0
Next match: vs. Australia, June 21
Chance to advance: 78%
One thing to know: Denmark held off a feisty attack from Peru to keep a clean sheet and is now just a win against Australia away from making the knockout stage for the first time since 2002.
Opening matches: Beat Saudi Arabia, 5-0; Beat Egypt, 3-1
Next match: vs. Uruguay, June 25
Chance to advance: >99%
One thing to know: Russia has two dominant wins against relatively tame opponents. Now that the team’s spot in the knockout round is all but secure, we’ll finally get a chance to see what the host nation is really worth.
Opening match: Draw with Brazil, 1-1
Next match: vs. Serbia, June 22
Chance to advance: 57%
One thing to know: In an opening set of matches that brought football fans plenty of shocking results, Switzerland’s daring draw with Brazil was one of the most unlikely and satisfying. Three points against Serbia would go a long way towards a spot in the knockout round.
Opening match: Beat Nigeria, 2-0
Next match: vs. Argentina, June 21
Chance to advance: 84%
One thing to know: A confident win over Nigeria sets Croatia up with an improbable matchup against Argentina – if the checkered players can steal a win from Messi, they will be through to the knockout stage.
Opening match: Draw with Iceland, 1-1
Next match: vs. Croatia, June 22
Chance to advance: 67%
One thing to know: Messi went from GOAT to goat after failing to convert a crucial penalty kick against Iceland, and now Argentina is facing pressure the team likely hoped to avoid until the knockout round.
Opening match: Beat Tunisia, 2-1
Next match: vs. Panama, June 24
Chance to advance: 96%
One thing to know: It took some last-second heroics from Harry Kane to save England from disaster against Tunisia, but with three points safely secured, look for the Three Lions to only play with more confidence as the tournament moves on.
Opening match: Beat Egypt, 1-0
Next match: vs. Saudi Arabia, June 20
Chance to advance: 97%
One thing to know: After being gifted a spot in what is likely the easiest group in the tournament, Uruguay had to sweat out a 1-0 victory against an Egypt team that was missing its best player. Still, as long as Luis Suarez and his countrymen can get a result against Saudi Arabia, they should be safely along to the knockout stage.
Opening match: Beat Germany, 1-0
Next match: vs. South Korea, June 23
Chance to advance: 79%
One thing to know: With Mexico’s shocking upset win over Germany, the country is in good position to secure a favourable matchup in the knockout stage and make the quarterfinals for the first time in 32 years.
Opening match: Draw with Spain, 3-3
Next match: vs. Morocco, June 20
Chance to advance: 73%
One thing to know: Coming into the World Cup, the question facing Portugal was whether having the best player on the planet would be enough to carry a less-than-stellar supporting cast on a deep run. With his hat trick against Spain, Cristiano Ronaldo proved that it just might be.
Opening match: Draw with Switzerland, 1-1
Next match: vs. Costa Rica
Chance to advance: 85%
One thing to know:Neymar was fouled 10 times throughout his team’s opening match against Switzerland, making him the most-fouled player at the World Cup in 20 years.
Opening match: Draw with Portugal, 3-3
Next match: vs. Iran, June 20
Chance to advance: 88%
One thing to know: Spain’s draw against Portugal was certainly not the result the country had hoped for, but thankfully with the game in the rearview mirror, there’s a guarantee that Diego Costa and company won’t have to face Cristiano Ronaldo again until the final.
Opening match: Lost to Mexico, 1-0
Next match: vs. Sweden, June 23
Chance to advance: 64%
One thing to know: Germany’s opening loss to Mexico was somewhat baffling, and turned what was expected to be a somewhat relaxing group stage into a series of must-win matches. Still, it’s hard to discount the reigning champions.
Opening match: Beat Australia, 2-1
Next match: vs. Peru, June 21
Chance to advance: 90%
One thing to know: It took a bit more sweat than you’d like to see out of a World Cup favourite to beat Australia, but France got the job done.
Opening match: Beat Panama, 3-0
Next match: vs. Tunisia
Chance to advance: 96%
One thing to know: While many World Cup favourites disappointed in their opening matches, leaving with a loss or draw against subpar opponents, Belgium took care of business with confidence.
We’ll know more about the team when they face England in a match likely to determine the group winner, but for now they look like they have both the talent and composure to make a deep run in the tournament.
More World Cup 2018:
More World Cup 2018 coverage:
- 8 teams to root for in the World Cup if your favourite country went bust in qualifying
- World Cup 2018: Everything you need to know about all 32 teams competing for the biggest prize in football
- The one player you need to know from every country competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup
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