Ranked! All 32 World Cup teams based on their group stage performance
In three words: Pass, pass, score
The Group D winners didn’t even get out of second gear in beating Nigeria 2-0, took a wrecking ball to Argentina in a fiesty 3-0 win, then – even with the group won – beat Iceland to complete a perfect round. Luka Modric has been imperious. Now watch them lose to Denmark.
Next: vs Denmark (July 1)
In three words: Sweet like chocolate
Top scorers in the group stage, besting powerhouses Panama and Tunisia before their second-string side beat England’s reserves 1-0. Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku have starred, but this team probably has even more to give in attack.
Next: vs Japan (July 2)
In three words: Getting ominously better
Struggled past Egypt and Saudi Arabia but achieved a maximum nine points by beating Russia 3-0. Three clean sheets shows their defensive solidity, while manager Oscar Tabarez seemed to find a better midfield balance against Russia. The strikers aren’t bad either.
Next: Portugal (June 30)
In three words: Slick but shaky
They've perhaps played the best football of the tournament, with Isco and Andres Iniesta weaving their passing magic. Yet considering the elite calibre of Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique and David de Gea, Spain have looked curiously ropey in defence, conceding five goals.
Next: vs Russia (July 1)
In three words: Coutinho over Neymar
Without ever hitting top gear, still earned seven points from nine and conceded just one goal as they eased to the top of Group E. Coutinho has been the match-winner in all three games having put in a crafty, early shout for Golden Ball honours.
Next: vs Mexico (July 2)
In three words: It’s coming home?
Let’s ignore the Belgium game, as it was essentially a reserve team friendly. England’s first-choice XI played some superb stuff in the first two matches... albeit against two of the worst teams in the tournament. Basically, we’ll know a lot more after the Colombia game.
Next: vs Colombia (July 3)
In three words: The last laughers
The ultimate overachievers. Saw off South Korea in a snoozefest, experienced heartbreak in losing 2-1 to Germany and then showed their big Swedish (meat)balls by bouncing back to trounce Mexico 3-0 and finish atop Group F. Where did Germany come again?
Next: vs Switzerland (July 3)
In three words: Great on paper…
Elite players? Tick. Solid results? Tick. Actual performances? Hmm. Despite seven points from nine, France still do not look the sum of their incredible parts. Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembele need to step up their game (or perhaps that just applies to manager Didier Deschamps).
Next: vs Argentina (June 30)