The second round of fixtures at the 2022 FIFA World Cup is complete. Three teams have progressed to the next round one game early while two are eliminated with a game to spare. Here are the power rankings after 32 matches. Once again, it will feature a top 10 based on pre-tournament expectations as well as performances after two rounds.
Croatia (previous ranking: NA)
After a disappointing showing against Morocco in the first match, the Croats sprung to life in Doha. Despite going down 1-0 to Canada just a minute in, Zlatko Dalic’s men turned things around in impressive fashion, hitting back with four goals.
They now sit top of their group on goal difference, with a point on Thursday being enough to send the 2018 finalists through. But, another performance like the one shown against Canada will surely see Croatia move on.
Belgium (previous ranking: 8th)
Roberto Martinez’s side finds themself in a precarious position. They once again failed to create enough against Morocco. This time they were punished. A pair of second half goals from saw Morocco earn an incredible 2-0 result at the expense of the Red Devils.
Belgium is now third in Group F, and will need a win on Thursday in order to move on. They face Croatia in Al Rayyan, who has less pressure on themselves. Can the Red Devils live up to their potential?
Germany (previous rank: 9th)
Niclas Füllkrug came off the bench to give Germany a point against Spain in Group E. It was absolutely imperative that Hansi Flick’s men did not lose the game, though a draw was not the most ideal result for the four-time winners.
They are now last in the group, needing to beat Costa Rica while Japan loses to Spain. The Germans can also go through with a win plus a Japanese draw, so long as Die Elfteam ends up with a superior goal difference.
Netherlands (previous rank: 6th)
Not the best performance from the Dutch against Ecuador in the second round of group games. Cody Gakpo put De Oranje in front after five minutes, but they created next to nothing after that. In the end, they had to settle for a point as Enner Valencia equalized in the second half.
Louis van Gaal’s men are still in good shape to successfully negotiate the group. They take on the already-eliminated hosts Qatar on Tuesday, needing just a point to move on. They will also be through if Senegal loses. Regardless, better performances will be needed to stand a real chance at going all the way.
Portugal (previous rank: 7th)
Portugal managed to defeat Uruguay courtesy of a Bruno Fernandes brace, allowing the Iberian country to get past the group stage with one round remaining. They were much more convincing in the second match, and can definitely cause teams around them trouble.
They will have the task of eliminating Korea Republic on the final day of group play on Friday. A point and/or a loss of points from Ghana will see them win the group as well, something to strive to. They have gotten the job done, but will need to step it up against higher level opposition.
England (previous rank: 4th)
England played to a 0-0 draw against the United States, struggling to produce meaningful attacking opportunities. In fact, it was the CONCACAF representatives that had the better chances in the contest. It continues England’s inability to beat the Americans at the World Cup, having to failed to win the other two matches beforehand.
The good news for the Three Lions is that they are still in excellent shape to progress. A draw against Wales will be enough to see them through. The pressure is on for Gareth Southgate’s side, who will have to show up against their fellow Brits.
Argentina (previous rank: 5th)
They needed a better showing against Mexico, and in the last half an hour they got exactly that from their main man. Lionel Messi struck the winner and set up Enzo Fernández to get past a stubborn Mexico team.
Lionel Scaloni’s men are now second in Group C heading into the final day of action. Section pacesetters Poland are next for Argentina, who will move on with a win or if both games are drawn. The second half of their meeting with Mexico showed the Copa America holders’ true potential, and will need more of that to go deep in this World Cup.
Spain (previous rank: 3rd)
No change in the ranking for Spain as they were pegged back by Niclas Füllkrug in their clash with Germany. Alvaro Morata put La Roja in front, but they could not hold on and had to settle for a draw.
It is very likely that Luis Enrique’s squad will be in the knockout round as only a defeat to Japan plus a Costa Rica win over Germany would knock them out. Seeing that it is highly unlikely to happen, look out for the Spaniards, who once again could make a deep run.
France (previous rank: 2nd)
Les Bleus had an incredibly difficult ask as they faced a Danish side who has beaten them twice this year. In the end, Kylian Mbappé was the differencemaker as they PSG man got both goals in a 2-1 win.
In what was always going to be their biggest challenge in Group D, France is now smooth sailing into the last 16. They are one of four teams to have scored multiple goals in both group games. Top spot is almost a certainty, leaving the defending champions as a force to be reckoned with once more.
Brazil (previous rank: 1st)
A deflected Casemiro shot seven minutes from time separate A Seleção and Switzerland as the record champions won their second in as many outings. It was not their best game by any stretch of the imagination, but they managed to get the job done.
Brazil can seldom sweat in the third game as they are in the round of 16 with a game to spare. Top spot is very likely going to be theirs, as they only need a point against Cameroon. They were the favourites before a ball was kicked at this World Cup, and they are showing why.