2014 World Cup: Final Team Rankings
Welcome to the last edition of our FIFA World Cup 2014 team power rankings, where we order the sides competing based on their overall performance in the competition.
The semi-finals threw up a pasting and a bore, with Germany smashing Brazil 7-1 and Argentina limping past the Netherlands on penalties.
The finale was a classic, as Germany and Argentina battled through 90 scoreless minutes. Mario Gotze finally struck the winner in the 113th minute to give the Germans their first World Cup title since 1990. It was a European side's first triumph on South American soil.
Read on to see how the world's top 32 teams shaped up after the epic tournament in Brazil.
29. South Korea
27. Ivory Coast
21. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Last Round: 10
Miguel Herrera has extended his contract as Mexico manager until 2018, per the Daily Mail, meaning El Tri fans will be treated to a rare dose of consistency on the international scene.
His 3-5-2 formation and attacking style caught the eye this summer in Brazil, and the fans wanted to see his services retained, hoping the team can finally make that magic step into the quarter-finals come Russia 2018.
Mexico had a solid showing in Brazil, posting a pair of Group A wins over Cameroon and Croatia as well as an impressive scoreless draw with the hosts. They ultimately fell short in the knockout round against the Netherlands, 2-1, thanks to a controversial extra-time penalty.
Last Round: 9
Chile will feel they exited this competition too early—falling to the hosts on penalty kicks in the round of 16—and they're probably right to do so. But with Jorge Sampaoli retained, they can focus on winning the 2015 Copa America on home soil next year.
With the traditional South American powerhouses' futures up in the air, Chile's solidity, continuity and partisan advantage could swing a historic continental win their way.
If all of Chile's star players' moves or impending transfers pay off with more playing time, they'll head into the tournament as one of the favourites.
Last Round: 8
So much was expected of Belgium, but in the end their performance and progress fell in line with how talented they really are at this stage.
The Red Devils have young talent in need of a few more years to grow into the expectations, with Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Co. failing to stand up and be counted on the world's biggest stage.
Experience is needed throughout the side—hence the inclusion of Daniel van Buyten in Brazil—and a quarter-final berth in this year's tournament is a good thing to have in the locker to begin with.
Last Round: 4
Tears flowed in Belo Horizonte as Brazil were decimated by Germany in their FIFA World Cup semi-final, 7-1.
The defensive line looked porous. The absence of Thiago Silva meant David Luiz ran around reckless yet undeterred, and the attack was toothless without the talismanic figure of Neymar leading the way.
The absence of star players brought to light how truly average the likes of Hulk, Fred, Paulinho and Bernard are. It was an awful day to support the Selecao, perhaps eclipsing the disaster of the original Maracanazo.
The third-place play-off fixture was no better, as the Dutch put three past them and claimed bronze with ease on Saturday.
6. Costa Rica
Last Round: 6
Costa Rica were this year's major surprise package.
Every FIFA World Cup needs that, and manager Jorge Luis Pinto will know this was a once-in-a-lifetime fairytale that he should savour for the rest of his career.
This Ticos side is young and can improve, but they have the feel and makeup of a one-tournament wonder.
They technically never lost—falling on penalty kicks to the Dutch after a scoreless 120 minutes in the quarter-finals—and that's one hell of an achievement. They forced both knockout games to penalties and managed victories over Uruguay and Italy in the group stage.
Last Round: 5
France will feel this tournament ended too early for them—they lost to the eventual champs in the quarter-finals—but with Euro 2016 firmly on the horizon and on home soil, Didier Deschamps must ensure his players learn from the mistakes and grow as a team.
Les Bleus have the makings of an unbelievable side. They're riddled with talented youngsters who will only get better as the seasons tick by.
Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Hugo Lloris, Blaise Matuidi, Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann and more will all be starting in two years.
Last Round: 3
Watching Brazil's post-quarter-final collapse, Colombia had to ask themselves how on Earth they didn't manage to beat them to book a place in the semi-finals vs. Germany.
But pre-tournament concerns for Los Cafeteros were realised on that disappointing evening, as their defensive structure—while admittedly well drilled—isn't good enough to win a game on its own.
Colombia have to score their chances to bail themselves out, and the moment they appear profligate, the team suffers.
The next wave of defenders, namely Eder Alvarez Balanta and Jherson Vergara, need to pan out well for this side to become elite. Colombia are nearing that status, though, with the likes of Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez leading them.
Last Round: 1
The Netherlands narrowly missed out on a second consecutive final berth after losing on penalties to Argentina in the semi-final. Perhaps you could say they were a sub (Tim Krul) away from potential progression.
They recovered by smashing Brazil in the third-place match, though, with Robin van Persie, Stefan de Vrij, Ron Vlaar, Arjen Robben and Daley Blind all excelling in a 3-0 victory.
Overall—and considering the talent available to Louis van Gaal—third is a magnificent achievement for the Oranje.
Last Round: 7
Argentina squeezed past the Netherlands in the semi-final courtesy of penalties, with neither side truly deserving to shade it after extra time.
A familiar slow pace descended upon the game from the off as each side tried to restrict the other in transition football, and it was La Albiceleste who triumphed on penalties thanks to the hero, Sergio Romero.
But the final was a step too far, and with Lionel Messi unable to drag his side to victory, the central midfield issues that had dogged the team all tournament long flared up.
Alejandro Sabella handed the game to Joachim Low with poor substitutions, and he retires from the game on a silver medal.
Last Round: 2
We were expecting Germany to continue moving through the gears, but the performance they put in against Brazil at the Estadio Mineirao in the semi-finals was nothing short of marvelous.
Yes, the Selecao were shocking in patches and left a lot to be desired, but you have to be able to take advantage of those weaknesses, and Die Mannschaft did so in style.
Miroslav Klose set the record for most career goals at the World Cup, Toni Kroos excelled, Sami Khedira appeared dominant, and the defence barely broke a sweat.
The final saw Bastian Schweinsteiger end in god mode, Jerome Boateng play the game of his life and Mario Gotze score a sweet, sweet winner.
The Germans know how to win.
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