2018 World Cup Power Rankings

2018 World Cup Power Rankings: All 32 teams

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For the past eight months we’ve been keeping a close eye on the 32 teams who have qualified for the 2018 World Cup and ranking them as their form fluctuates, their stars flourish and their coaches tinker.

[ MORE: Full World Cup Power Rankings ]

Now, it’s time to reflect on how every single team heading to Russia stacks up.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Below is our final ranking ahead of the 2018 World Cup kicking off in Russia on Thursday, with the previous ranking of a nation included in parenthesis.

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  1. Brazil (2)
  2. Spain (3)
  3. Germany (1)
  4. France (4)
  5. Belgium (6)
  6. Argentina (6)
  7. England (8)
  8. Portugal (7)
  9. Uruguay (9)
  10. Colombia (10)
  11. Poland (12)
  12. Croatia (13)
  13. Serbia (17)
  14. Denmark (16)
  15. Peru (18)
  16. Mexico (11)
  17. Iceland (19)
  18. Senegal (23)
  19. Egypt (21)
  20. Sweden (15)
  21. Switzerland (14)
  22. Nigeria (24)
  23. Iran (29)
  24. Tunisia (30)
  25. South Korea (22)
  26. Japan (20)
  27. Australia (27)
  28. Russia (28)
  29. Morocco (26)
  30. Costa Rica (25)
  31. Panama (31)
  32. Saudi Arabia (32)

2018 World Cup Power Rankings — 7 months B.W.C.

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209 days — that’s how long the world is still being made to wait for the opening game of the 2018 World Cup. It’s close, in that all 32 berths have been secured, but still so far, in that the draw is still two weeks away.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s 2018 World Cup coverage | USMNT | Premier League ]

Perhaps then, and only then, will it begin to feel really real.

According to our esteemed panelists — Joe Prince-Wright, Nicholas Mendola, Kyle Bonn, Matt Reed, Dan Karell and yours truly — four clear-cut favorites for the semifinals have separated themselves from the rest of the pack, followed by another six or eight sides with one half of their squad firing on all cylinders but some serious kinks to work out elsewhere.

[ MORE: Round 1 of the WC power rankings | Round 2 ]

Finally, the latest edition of PST’s 2018 World Cup Power Rankings, now featuring all 32 teams qualified for Russia…

Team Points Best Worst
1 (1) Germany 189 1 2
2 (2) Brazil 188 1 3
3 (4) Spain 177 3 5
4 (3) France 176 3 5
5 (8) Argentina 158 4 10
6 (5) Belgium 156 4 10
7 (7) Portugal 153 6 10
8 (11) England 150 5 12
9 (6) Uruguay 141 6 14
10 (9) Colombia 140 7 12
11 (10) Mexico 129 8 14
12 (12) Poland 125 10 14
13 (20) Croatia 118 7 20
14 (17) Switzerland 115 12 16
15 (NR) Sweden 92 16 19
16 (NR) Denmark 86 13 23
17 (NR) Serbia 83 9 28
18 (NR) Peru 80 15 25
19 (15) Iceland 79 15 24
20 (16) Japan 71 16 27
21 (NR) Egypt 66 18 27
22 (NR) South Korea 64 13 32
23 (NR) Senegal 63 17 26
24 (18) Nigeria 58 15 27
25 (19) Costa Rica 57 14 29
26 (NR) Morocco 48 18 29
27 (NR) Australia 45 22 30
28 (NR) Russia 36 20 32
29 (NR) Iran 34 22 31
30 (NR) Tunisia 30 23 31
31 (NR) Panama 19 28 32
32 (NR) Saudi Arabia 9 31 32

2018 World Cup Power Rankings – 9 months B.W.C.

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After the opening release of our 2018 World Cup power rankings, much has changed. Countries have been eliminated in heartbreaking fashion, while other teams assert their dominance over their federations.

All the spots have been decided except for the UEFA playoffs and the inter-continential playoffs, which leave just a few spots to be determined.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s 2018 World Cup coverage | USMNT | Premier League ]

According to our esteemed panelists — Joe Prince-WrightNicholas MendolaKyle BonnMatt ReedDan Karell and Andy Edwards — there is a clear talent gap between the top 10 teams and the rest of the nations. Meanwhile, there is a disagreement over what country is the most powerful in the world.

Germany has garnered the top spot, but it wasn’t by a lot. Brazil is right on their heels for the favorite heading into next year’s tournament, even dethroning the reigning World Champions on some lists. Overall, Europe claims four of the top five spots, South American teams find four countries in the top 10. Italy is the most iconic team to have fallen, now uncertain to make the tournament after finding itself in the UEFA playoffs thanks to its tough group.

Three teams who did not appear in last month’s edition find themselves with places at the table in Serbia, Iceland, and Croatia, while seven teams on the list were left off at least one panelist’s list, leaving uncertainty in the lower half of the table. Where do you think these countries fall, who was slighted, who is overrated, and who should have made the list?

Team

Points

Best

Worst

1 (1)

Germany

118

1

2

2 (2)

Brazil

115

1

3

3 (3)

France

107

2

4

4 (4)

Spain

98

3

6

5 (5)

Belgium

95

3

7

6 (9)

Uruguay

84

5

9

7 (8)

Portugal

83

4

10

8 (5)

Argentina

81

5

11

9 (6)

Colombia

70

7

16

10 (12)

Mexico

59

10

12

11 (13)

England

53

7

15

12 (20)

Poland

47

11

17

13 (7)

Italy

43

9

18

14 (NR)

Serbia

37

9

NR

15 (NR)

Iceland

33

9

NR

16 (17)

Japan

28

13

NR

17 (10)

Switzerland

24

12

NR

18 (14)

Nigeria

21

16

NR

19 (16)

Costa Rica

19

14

NR

20 (NR)

Croatia

14

14

NR

2018 World Cup Power Rankings — 10 months B.W.C.

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Can Germany become the first nation since Brazil (1958 and 1962) to repeat as World Cup winners? Can the Brazilians exorcise their demons of 7-1? Has the next wave of Spanish brilliance/impending dominance arrived?

Will Italy contend again after failing to advance from the group stage two tournaments in a row? Can one of the up-and-comers — Belgium, Colombia, Portugal or England — make good on years (decades, in England’s case) of promise and potential? What are the U.S. national team’s chances, assuming they manage to qualify?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s 2018 World Cup coverage | USMNT | Premier League ]

These are just a handful of the questions at the forefront of so many folks’ minds, as we now sit just over 10 months from the start of the 2018 World Cup. Beginning today (10 months B.W.C.), and following every international break leading up to next summer’s tournament in Russia, the PST staff will be keeping tabs on these stories, and more, in our World Cup Power Rankings.

According to our esteemed panelists — Joe Prince-Wright, Nicholas Mendola, Kyle Bonn, Matt Reed, Dan Karell and yours truly — there are five or six sides with a genuine shot at being crowned world champions in July. As always, if you disagree with the final results, feel free to shout at all of the above, except me, on Twitter (links above).

Team Points Best Worst
Germany 116 1 3
Brazil 115 1 2
France 106 2 4
Spain 105 1 5
Belgium 91 4 10
Colombia 84 6 9
Italy 75 5 16
Portugal 72 5 16
Uruguay 71 7 11
Switzerland 61 9 13
Mexico 54 10 16
England 52 9 15
Nigeria 33 12 NR
Chile 33 7 NR
Costa Rica 23 14 NR
Japan 20 9 NR
Ivory Coast 16 14 NR
Peru 16 13 NR
Poland 12 12 NR
South Korea 9 16 NR

As you’ve probably already noticed, the USMNT didn’t make the final top-20 list. Here’s everyone’s thoughts on the USMNT, and where they slot in among 2018 hopefuls:

JPW: USA rank — 30th. The last international break summed up just how much work needs to be done between now and next summer if the USMNT qualifies for the World Cup. Getting out of the group stage would seem like a big achievement as things stand.

NM: USA rank — 25th. The U.S. entered September ranked 30th in ELO, and 26th by FIFA, though not every team in front of them will be going to Russia, either. If I project a 32-team field, placing the U.S. with a seeded team, a European team, and probably an African side or South American side (The U.S. has been in a pot with Asian sides the last two draws), it’s not good. In most scenarios, barring hosts Russia being in the U.S. group, I’d expect this current bunch to fail to reach the group stage. Of the teams who may make the field, I’d put U.S. hopes ahead of most of the Asian sides, one or two European sides, and another couple of African qualifiers.

KB: The United States is currently ranked 26th in FIFA, and that’s with a Gold Cup win that included a number of B squads. I would not put this current US team anywhere near the Top 20 until it shows it can win consistently against even mid-level sides like Honduras or Panama.

AE: USA rank — 22nd. Once you move past the top five or so sides — you know, the ones that actually have a chance of winning the World Cup — everyone is fatally flawed in any number of ways. The USMNT is no different than the rest of these, but with one favorable exception: 14 of the 23 players on the most recent roster have World Cup experience, with the majority of those having been to multiple finals tournaments. If/when they qualify, they’ll leapfrog a half-dozen other sides without that experience, making them a fringe Round of 16 side, if they get there.

MR: USA rank — 25th. Let’s face it. It’s been a difficult week for the USMNT, and while the squad is still very much in the running for a trip to Russia next summer Bruce Arena and Co. are crawling into the World Cup at this point. Solely judging this team off of what I believe they can be versus what they are right now, I’d say the U.S. can and should be a top 20 team heading into 2018, however, watching these last two matches have reiterated several of my previous concerns, especially in the central midfield. I’d put the U.S. somewhere around 25 in the field of 32 World Cup teams, assuming a bid to Russia is in the cards.

DK: USA rank — 19th. I had the USA in No. 19 because I actually am taking a more positive look at the draw in Honduras. The USA lost this game in the last World Cup cycle under Klinsmann and coming back on the road in the Honduran heat in a World Cup qualifier with everything on the line takes guts and determination. Just as the fortunes turned with the famed “snow game” in Denver against Costa Rica, perhaps this could be a moment like that for this USMNT team that basically needs to win out to ensure safe passage to the World Cup