World Cup: Power rankings before kick-off

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I will be ranking all 32 World Cup teams throughout the tournament. Here are my power rankings for the teams before the first group stage games.

So much hype. So much anticipation. The World Cup is finally gonna start. After all the predictions and previews, we are ready for action. Here are some good old fashioned power rankings that are organized by not just which team is the best, but also by tiers.

The tiers used for this power ranking are as follows…

Can’t advance out of the group

Chance of advancing out of the group

Can make a run in the tournament

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Let’s begin with the teams I feel have no chance of advancing past the group stage.

32

Panama

First Game: June 18th vs. Belgium (Sochi)

Best Major Tourney Finish: 2009 Copa Centroamerica winners

Panama is in Russia only because the United States lost to Trinidad & Tobago. The first ever World Cup for Los Canaleros will be a short one where they likely won’t win a game. If they move out of spot 32 throughout this tournament, I would be shocked.

31

Saudi Arabia

First Game: June 14th vs. Russia (Moscow)

Best Major Tourney Finish: 3-time AFC Asian Cup winners (1984, 1988, 1996)

The Green Eagles won’t last too long either. They can’t beat Uruguay or Egypt and probably can’t beat Russia. Don’t expect Saudi Arabia to make a magical run like they did in 1994.

30

Tunisia

First Game: June 18th vs. England (Volgograd)

Best Major Tourney Finish: 2004 Africa Cup of Nations winners

Tunisia is the most surprising African team to have qualified. Many expected DR Congo to be in Russia. Losses to England and Belgium will send the Eagles of Carthage back home.

29

Australia

First Game: June 16th vs. France (Kazan)

Best Major Tourney Finish: 5-time OFC Nations Cup winners and AFC Asian Cup title (2015)

The Socceroos won’t last very long either. They are relying on Tim Cahill to still score goals for them. Australia barely made it here and they might barely receive a point in Group C.

28

Iran

First Game: June 15th vs. Morocco (Saint Petersburg)

Best Major Tourney Finish: 3-time AFC Asian Cup winners (1968-1976)

Team Melli qualified as the best team in Asia. I rank them lower than Japan and South Korea since they are in a group with Spain and Portugal. Less chance Iran makes it out than Japan or South Korea.

27

Japan

First Game: June 19th vs. Colombia (Saransk)

Best Major Tourney Finish: 4-time AFC Asian Cup winners (1992, 2000-2004, 2011)

The Blue Samurai have some good goalscorers in Shinji Okazaki and Shinji Kagawa. Japan’s defense though will face three amazing strikers in Lewandowski, James Rodriguez, and Mane. Can’t beat that without star defenders.

26

Morocco

First Game: June 15th vs. Iran (Saint Petersburg)

Best Major Tourney Finish: 1976 Africa Cup of Nations winners

Nice to see the Atlas Lions back in the World Cup. Won’t last too long. Spain and Portugal are too good for Morocco to beat.

25

South Korea

First Game: June 18th vs. Sweden (Nizhny Novgorod)

Best Major Tourney Finish: 2-time AFC Asian Cup winners (1956-1960)

The final team I feel can’t progress after three games are the Taeguk Warriors. South Korea lack a midfield to earn many points in Group F. Germany, Mexico, and Sweden could all beat them. Son-Heung Min is the sole reason they rank ahead of Japan and Iran.

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