World Cup Draw 2014 Groups: Ranking Best Performers in Each Group Through Day 7

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IJune 19, 2014

Jun 17, 2014; Fortaleza, Ceara, BRAZIL; Brazil forward Neymar (10) encourages the crowd during the second half of their 0-0 tie with Mexico in a 2014 World Cup game at Estadio Castelao. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Through one week of the 2014 World Cup, numerous players have single-handedly impacted their draw-group standings.

This should come as no surprise. After all, the World Cup is the grandest stage in sports, and it features soccer's grandest players.

Here they are, the best performers in the World Cup through Day 7.

June 17, 2014; Fortazela, BRAZIL; Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa makes a save against Brazil during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio Castelao.  Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Group A


1. Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico

Mexico has scored one measly goal through two games in the World Cup. Despite its pitiful offense, it is 1-1-0 and in prime position to advance to the knockout round. This is thanks to Ochoa, who has recorded back-to-back shutouts and seven saves.


2. Mario Mandzukic, Croatia

Mandzukic missed Croatia's opener against Brazil due to a suspension. And after his performance against Cameroon, it looks like he could've made Croatia's loss a closer contest. Mandzukic scored two goals in a 4-0 victory versus Cameroon to keep Croatia's World Cup dreams alive.


3. F Neymar, Brazil

Neymar couldn't get Brazil on the board against Mexico. Had he done that, he'd be at the top of the list, having clinched a knockout-round berth for Brazil. But since he didn't, his two goals in Brazil's 3-1 victory against Croatia earn him this spot.

Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press
Group B


1. G Claudio Bravo, Chile

Bravo has had much more help than Ochoa, but he's been about as outstanding. Through two games, he's allowed just one goal and recorded nine saves. This spot will be challenged against the Netherlands' high-scoring attack, though.


2. F Robin van Persie, Netherlands

Van Persie is one of just three players who have scored three goals in the World Cup thus far. He scored two against Spain, earning Man of the Match, and another against Australia. He's also putting up huge numbers despite sharing plenty of shot attempts with teammates.


3. F Arjen Robben, Netherlands

Robben is one of those teammates. He too has three goals under his belt, scoring two against Spain and one against Australia as well. If he and Van Persie continue their scoring streaks against the impressive Bravo, no goalie will want to face the Netherlands in the knockout round.

Fernando Vergara/Associated Press
Group C
2Ivory Coast31110021


1. M James Rodriguez, Colombia

It takes plenty of phenomenal performances to defeat a team by the score of 3-0. And of all the phenomenal performances Colombia had in its win over Greece, Rodriguez's was the best. He scored a goal in the game and won Man of the Match.


2. M Yaya Toure, Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast is in great position to advance to the knockout round after a 2-1 victory over Japan. Ivory Coast possessed the ball 57 percent of the match and finished with over twice as many shots on goal as its opponent. Toure played a major role in those numbers, and he earned Man of the Match.


3. G David Ospina, Colombia

Ospina is one of only five starting goalies who have yet to be scored on. Greece never had a chance with him dominating on defense and Rodriguez on offense. Ospina recorded four saves in the match, tying for the third-most among goalies who have played one game.

MANAUS, BRAZIL - JUNE 14:  Mario Balotelli of Italy celebrates after scoring Italy's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between England and Italy at Arena Amazonia on June 14, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil.  (Photo by Warren Little/G
Warren Little/Getty Images
Group D
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1. F Mario Balotelli, Italy

In a group as stacked as Group D, every point counts. And Mario Balotelli's game-winning header made the difference in one of the tightest matches of the tournament. He also led Italy in shots on goal and won Man of the Match.


2. F Joel Campbell, Costa Rica

Costa Rica caught Uruguay horribly off guard in its 3-1 victory, and Campbell was a key in that win. He filled up the stat sheet with a goal, an assist and seven fouls drawn. He also led Costa Rica in shot attempts on his way to Man of the Match.


3. Yeltsin Tejeda, Costa Rica

Tejada played a huge part in the defense that held Uruguay scoreless in the second half. He currently leads all players in the World Cup in tackles with eight. This is despite the fact several teams have played one more game than him.

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - JUNE 15: Karim Benzema of France celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between France and Honduras at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 15, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by
Vinicius Costa/Getty Images
Group E


1. F Karim Benzema, France

Just three players who have participated in only one game have multiple goals in the World Cup. Benzema is one of them, having scored two in France's 3-0 victory against Honduras. He attempted four total shots on goal to lead France and won Man of the Match.


2. M Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland 

Shaqiri didn't score for Switzerland, but he wreaked enough havoc on the Ecuador defense to earn Man of the Match. He finished with a team-high six shots on goal and fouls drawn. Shaqiri helped Switzerland possess the ball 57 percent of the match and double Ecuador in shots on goal.


3. G Diego Benaglio, Switzerland 

Ecuador has enough talent on its offense that two goals shouldn't be too difficult to come by. Benaglio made sure that didn't happen on Day 4, though. He allowed one to slip by him, but he finished the match with three saves.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15:  Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazi
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Group F
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1. F Lionel Messi, Argentina

Messi entered the World Cup with sky-high expectations, which is no surprise given that he's arguably the best player on the globe. He lived up to those expectations in Argentina's opening match. Messi scored what would be the game-winning goal for Argentina, earning himself Man of the Match.


2. D Mehrdad Pooladi, Iran

Nigeria possessed the ball 63 percent of the match. It had twice as many shots on goal as Iran. But Iran still forced a draw, partly thanks to Pooladi's incredible defensive effort, which included six tackles and four clearances.


3. Alireza Haghighi, Iran

When a rare ball did get past Pooladi, Haghighi was all over it. He finished with four saves and a foul drawn in the match. Iran entered a major underdog against a superior Nigeria team, but Haghighi and Pooladi evened the field. 

Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press
Group G
2United States31110021


1. F Thomas Mueller, Germany

No striker has been better in the World Cup through the first week than Mueller. He jumped out to a lead for the Golden Boot with a hat trick in Germany's opener. He was a centerpiece of the most dominant performance in the tournament thus far.


2. F Clint Dempsey, United States

Few believed in the United States' ability to advance entering the World Cup. Now, thanks to Dempsey (as well as Portugal's collapse), more do. He won Man of the Match in a dramatic 2-1 win over Ghana after two shots on goal, one of which he scored in the opening minute.


3. G Manuel Neuer, Germany

Not many goalies in the world are capable of holding a stacked Portugal team headlined by Cristiano Ronaldo scoreless. Neuer did, reaffirming the fact that he's arguably the greatest goalie on the planet. He needed to make four saves to complete the shutout.

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium controls the ball against El Arbi Hillel Soudani of Algeria during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Belgium and Algeria at Estadio Mineirao on June 17, 2014 in Belo Horizonte
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Group H
3South Korea10101011


1. M Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium

De Bruyne walked away with Man of the Match in an overwhelming performance by Belgium. It won 2-1, but the score could've been worse given Belgium's 65 percent time of possession and nine more shots on goal than Algeria. De Bruyne helped push the tempo and recorded an assist in the triumph.


2. Jung Sung-ryong, South Korea

Sung-ryong was at the heart of a great defensive performance by South Korea. It entered the match an underdog, so a draw in the opener serves as a moral victory. He finished with four saves and a foul drawn to force the draw.


3. F Dries Mertens, Belgium

Belgium shouldn't have had to come from behind to beat Algeria. But Mertens turned the game from a disappointing draw into a victory, even if it was unsatisfying. He came on as a substitute and scored the game-winning goal 80 minutes in.


David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.


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