Ranked! All 32 World Cup teams based on their group stage performance
In three words: Die, Mannschaft, die
Let’s give Toni Kroos credit: that free-kick against Sweden was an incredible showing of nerve and skill. Isn’t it a shame that win was surrounded by Germany looking blunt in attack and inept in defence against Mexico and South Korea? It isn’t? Oh. Carry on then.
In three words: Mille Jedinak… scores!
You have to give the Socceroos credit: they came with a gameplan: i.e. have Jedinak score a penalty in every game all the way up until the final. Australia actually showed plenty of grit and never looked overwhelmed at any point, but a lack of real quality was their undoing.
In three words: Up the Khazri
Looked all over the place defensively in the first half hour against England, then decided to cunningly expand that gameplan to 90 minutes against Belgium. Scored five goals, though – and beat a useless Panama, with Wahbi Khazri netting twice and assisting two more.
In three words: The bad seeds
Avoided becoming the first seeded team in World Cup history to lose all three games by beating Japan when they were already out, but Poland looked poor, particularly in the 3-0 loss to Colombia. Who was that No.9 and what did he do with the real Robert Lewandowski?
29. Costa Rica
In three words: Los Ticked off
A fall to earth after the highs of 2014. Came so close to frustrating Brazil before two injury-time goals but didn’t show any ambition in their opener against Serbia until they were a goal down. At least a late, own-goal penalty earned them a point against Switzerland.
30. Saudi Arabia
In three words: The unlikely lads
Well, they won a game. That isn’t something we thought we’d be saying after their defenders gave it the full clown, circus and trapeze act in that 5-0 loss to Russia. Yet even that win came in a dead rubber against Egypt, thanks to a baffling VAR penalty. They all count, lads!
In three words: One-shoulder team
If you’re a one-man team – and that one man is injured – you have a problem. A half-fit Mo Salah still somehow scored twice, while 45-year-old Essam El-Hadary’s genuinely incredible penalty save was a must-see moment. But zero points from the tournament’s weakest group? Oh dear.
In three words: Fight! Fight! Fight!
A bit like the first level of an old-school video game – think Streets of Rage – in that the hapless opponents are easily defeated but programmed to continually shuffle forward and punch you in the face. Lost three, conceded 11, but brought the passion, man. Come back in four years!