With the 2014 World Cup group stage in full swing through the first week, there have already been a few squads that have stood out from the rest in their respective openers.
Through the first six days of this year's World Cup, all teams have now played their openers, and Brazil and Mexico faced off in their second games of group play on Tuesday. It was an exciting game throughout, yet neither team was able to get on the board, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw. Both teams are in great shape with four points in Group A, while Cameroon and Croatia are sitting with zero points.
Now that we've gotten a look at every team in the World Cup, let's break down a few of the most impressive teams that have stood out so far.
Heading into the World Cup, Greece had allowed just six goals in 12 qualifiers. The Greeks had been praised for their tough defense and slow pace, yet the Colombians were able to blow them away with a 3-0 win.
This is the first World Cup appearance for Colombia in 16 years, but it didn't look like it in their first game. From the start, the Colombians showed they were ready, with Pablo Armero scoring the first goal in just the fifth minute. Head coach Jose Pekerman was very impressed with how well his team played.
“It was a good debut with players who had never played a World Cup,” Pekerman told the Associated Press. “This is how we planned this match. Some things turned out the way we wanted, some things didn’t, but we were very focused and showed that we’re here to play a good World Cup.”
It was a good start for Colombia, but they're going to have to finish the group stage without one of their key players. According to FIFA.com, the Colombians will be without striker Carlos Bacca for the next two games due to a leg muscle strain.
The loss will be a tough one to deal with, but through one match, Colombia proved that they can get through even the stingiest of defensive units.
Most fans expected Germany to look strong in their opener, but few were prepared for them to utterly dominate a team as solid at Portugal. Thanks to a Thomas Muller hat trick, the Germans were able to blow out the second-best team in the Group of Death, winning 4-0 over Cristiano Ronaldo's squad.
After winning the World Cup Golden Boot in 2010, Muller has continued to prove that he's the key to a deep run for Germany, scoring eight goals in seven career World Cup games. The win put the Germans in great shape, as they have a 98 percent chance of advancing to the knockout stage, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Muller was the one scoring goals, but Mesut Ozil was creating plenty of scoring opportunities. Germany didn't dominate possession or shots on goal, but they were a more physical and disciplined team, eventually playing against 10 men after Pepe lost his cool and drew a red card.
Die Mannschaft have plenty of depth and a number of star players. While they're in arguably the toughest group, they looked almost unstoppable in their opener, and if that continues, they should have no problem reaching the final.
While teams have dominated in their openers, no one was able to play quite like the Netherlands, as they came away with easily the biggest win through the first week of games. Not only were they able to take down arguably the top contender in Spain, but they blew them out of the water, winning 5-1.
It didn't look like the Dutch would blow out Spain early, as Xabi Alonso scored on a penalty kick to give his team the 1-0 lead. However, the Netherlands answered right before halftime with a goal from Robin van Persie, then scored four more in the second half.
''If you see how he prepared us, and how he predicted the game would go, and you see how it went - unbelievable,'' Van Persie told Mike Corder of the Associated Press. ''It went exactly as the entire technical staff predicted.''
The Dutch were simply more aggressive than Spain, outshooting them 13-9 and 11-6 on shots on goal, while committing 18 fouls to their five. Both Van Persie and Arjen Robben were able to score two goals each, and they're not the only offensive threats this team has. What the Netherlands lacks on defense they make up for with a top-tier attack, and their playmakers are hoping they can keep scoring goals.
It may have just been a great start, but if the Netherlands can play even close to as well as they did in their opener, they're going to be a force to be reckoned with coming out of Group B.
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