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Ranking Every National Team in the World After the World Cup

Frank WagnerCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2014

Ranking Every National Team in the World After the World Cup

1 of 16

    Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

    The 2014 World Cup reached an emphatic climax Sunday with the tense final between Germany and Argentina that saw the Germans crowned as the new champions of the world.

    It's hard to say goodbye to such a fantastic tournament that was captured so perfectly by the backdrop of picturesque Brazil, but alas, life must move on.

    So, it's time to start looking ahead, with the next cycle ready to begin with the continental tournaments right around the corner and the 2018 World Cup in Russia already a tantalizing prospect.

    Where does every nation stand after the historic tournament that just took place? What should one expect from them heading into this next four-year span?

    Here is another installment of the Wagner World Rankings, where every national team in the world is put in its place.

Methodology

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    Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

    For those of you who are new to these rankings and this system, let's break down the mathematical process that goes into it.

    To begin with, every match from the last four years is assigned a value based on its importance. For example, the World Cup final is given much more weight than a random friendly.

    The four-year window seems to be the perfect amount of time—a shorter period gives too small a sample size and a larger one would likely represent a different side.

    After every match is given a value and compiled, each of the 210 teams (the 209 FIFA nations and Gibraltar, who enter Euro qualification for the first time later this year) is assigned a score for every match based on four factors:

    • The result of the match
    • Whether the match was home, away or at a neutral venue
    • How strong the opposition was
    • How recently the match was played

    Finally, factoring in any matches a team missed out on (i.e. matches at World Cups they didn't qualify for) and giving every continental tournament a new weight produces a score out of 1,000 points.

    Every team is then ranked based on these points.

    One should note that this does not produce a ranking based on form alone.

    As a result, many teams may seem higher or lower in the rankings than one might expect because of drastic changes in form over relatively short periods of time.

    For example, performing well over a year may push a team up the table quickly, but relatively awful performances over the three years prior could hold the team back.

    Hence, it allows a ranking that factors in both form and consistency, a quality that is highly undervalued.

    So, without further ado, here are the latest rankings

210-181

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    Francisco Seco/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    210Bhutan00
    210San Marino00
    210Turks and Caicos Islands00
    207Cook Islands0.0460
    206Tonga0.0710
    205American Samoa0.0760
    204 Papua New Guinea0.0960
    203Samoa0.1410
    202Montserrat0.2460
    201Anguilla0.2720
    200British Virgin Islands0.458-3
    199Fiji0.459+1
    198BruneiBrunei0.4650
    197Vanuatu0.494+2
    196Djibouti0.586-1
    195Macau0.588+1
    194East Timor Timor-Leste0.821-1
    193Bahamas0.831-2
    192South SudanSouth Sudan0.8510
    191Cayman Islands0.891+3
    190Mongolia0.9410
    189Eritrea1.1790
    188U.S. Virgin Islands1.1880
    187Somalia1.3900
    186 Sri Lanka 1.9810
    185Cambodia2.2830
    184Aruba2.5230
    183Bermuda2.8040
    182GibraltarGibraltar2.922-1
    181Comoros3.403-2

     

    Analysis

    This bottom group of national teams, of course, hasn't changed too much from before the World Cup started since none of them came even close to appearing on the biggest stage.

    There are a few teams on here to watch over the next campaign, though, as they will look to move up the table. Two such teams are South Sudan and Gibraltar, the two newest teams to the rankings.

    These new national teams may not be ready to compete at the highest level just yet, but they will be looking to make a name for themselves and could easily move up quickly with a full cycle under their belts.

    Gibraltar have already earned draws with relative upper-level teams in Slovakia and Estonia and beaten Malta, and they enter one of the weaker groups in Euro 2016 qualifying looking to make waves.

    Meanwhile, South Sudan were already eliminated from qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, yet still earned a draw against Mozambique in that campaign as they look to build toward 2017.

180-151

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    Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    180Guam3.470+2
    179Kyrgyzstan3.494+1
    178 Sao Tome and Principe3.709-1
    177Barbados4.185-1
    176Solomon Islands4.196+2
    175Dominica4.3680
    174Mauritius4.919-1
    173Seychelles5.032+1
    172Nicaragua5.1180
    171Curacao5.2600
    170Madagascar5.2860
    169Guinea-Bissau6.309-1
    168Chad6.435-2
    167Bangladesh6.466+2
    166Yemen8.302+1
    165Laos9.5840
    164Swaziland9.6850
    163St Lucia10.351-1
    162 Puerto Rico10.587+1
    161MauritaniaMauritania12.0600
    160Andorra12.417-3
    159The Gambia12.728+1
    158Belize14.338+1
    157Chinese Taipei15.639+1
    156Tahiti16.8800
    155 Faroe Islands21.093-3
    154New Caledonia22.466+1
    153Pakistan24.141+1
    152Turkmenistan26.158+1
    151St Kitts and Nevis28.4980

     

    Analysis

    Again, there is not much change in this group given that none of the teams made the World Cup.

    Reigning Oceania champions Tahiti remain at 156, as their greatest accomplishment drifts into the past and their demolition in the Confederations Cup continues to carry more weight.

    Meanwhile, the team they beat in the final, New Caledonia, sit just a few spots ahead due to their historical scalp of New Zealand. They'll be looking to do that again this cycle and go a step further to actually get to a World Cup playoff.

150-121

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    John Cowpland/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    150Myanmar29.600-1
    149 Hong Kong29.929+1
    148Central African Republic31.599-5
    147Suriname31.6230
    146Grenada32.783-1
    145Nepal33.016+1
    144Maldives33.280+4
    143Liechtenstein33.290-4
    142Afghanistan35.611+2
    141Benin37.6140
    140New Zealand39.986+2
    139Dominican Republic43.286-3
    138St Vincent/Grenadines43.311-1
    137Vietnam44.308+3
    136Syria44.504+2
    135Palestine44.5300
    134Cyprus49.931-5
    133Malaysia50.5190
    132Tajikistan51.226+2
    131India52.654+1
    130Haiti53.429+1
    129Cuba56.239+1
    128Equatorial Guinea57.504-2
    127Guyana60.8020
    126Indonesia64.437+2
    125Singapore67.8670
    124Antigua and Barbuda68.499-1
    123Philippines68.979+1
    122Trinidad and Tobago73.131-1
    121Thailand74.277+1

     

    Analysis

    Only a few changes in this group of teams, all of whom will be looking to rise through the next cycle.

    New Zealand's rise proves to be a curious case, as their undefeated run at the 2010 World Cup moved far enough into the past that it is no longer counted. However, their humiliation at the 2012 OFC Nations Cup has moved a bit further into the past, explaining their slight rise.

    Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago are two more interesting teams in this group, as both have the talent to threaten in CONCACAF, which they will be looking to come good on during the Caribbean Cup in October and November.

     

120-91

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    Luis Hidalgo/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    120North Korea83.6310
    119Malta95.805-9
    118Lesotho100.140-2
    117Saudi Arabia100.368+2
    116Northern Ireland100.502-7
    115Burundi103.203-1
    114Luxembourg107.607-6
    113Bahrain108.160+5
    112Guatemala108.703+1
    111Canada109.5810
    110UAE109.805+7
    109China111.976+6
    108El Salvador112.059+4
    107Liberia126.8740
    106Lebanon138.4410
    105Rwanda139.039-1
    104Sierra Leone140.185-1
    103Kuwait142.439+2
    102Republic of Congo143.1720
    101Namibia143.5130
    100Kazakhstan156.536-3
    99Niger164.504+1
    98Mozambique167.231+1
    97Tanzania170.883+1
    96Guinea171.9630
    95Botswana172.580-1
    94Malawi175.671+1
    93Gabon184.584-2
    92Zimbabwe187.6420
    91Kenya188.059-1

     

    Analysis

    There looks to be more of a shakeup in this group than the previous groups, yet the changes have nothing to do with any matches any of them played in the past month.

    The teams from Asia in this group got a boost because the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, in which none of them got out of the group stage, moved further into the past.

    Meanwhile, Europe's continental weights took a slight hit despite the continent retaining the World Cup trophy. After all, they didn't do quite as well as they did in South Africa. As a result, some lower teams took a slight drop, like Malta and Northern Ireland.

    Near the top of this group of teams lies quite a few African sides, all of which will be looking to make a statement in qualifying for and, hopefully, going deep in the 2015 African Cup of Nations.

90-61

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    Dolores Ochoa/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    90Oman193.550+3
    89Sudan196.5330
    88Togo197.7480
    87Jamaica202.9270
    86 Cabo Verde206.319-1
    85Libya209.757-1
    84Qatar213.057+2
    83Senegal216.8490
    82DR Congo221.4550
    81Uganda230.5900
    80Egypt234.4130
    79Angola235.0560
    78Cameroon236.203-1
    77Iraq243.851+1
    76Ethiopia244.0850
    75Morocco251.2560
    74South Africa256.328-1
    73Latvia275.385-2
    72Macedonia277.545-2
    71Jordan278.652+3
    70Lithuania282.400-3
    69Uzbekistan288.303+3
    68Wales290.535-4
    67Moldova290.944-2
    66Estonia292.6760
    65Azerbaijan294.504-2
    64Tunisia294.653+5
    63Georgia297.607-3
    62Mali299.191+6
    61Bolivia305.418-3

     

    Analysis

    There are some very interesting national teams in this group of 30, many of which could be primed to make big runs over this next cycle. The team that stands out, though, is Cameroon, the lowest-ranked team to have played at Brazil this summer.

    The Africans looked poor for most of the four years after South Africa, but they were able to get a few big names back into the squad and scrape into qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

    When Cameroon got there, though, they were clearly outclassed and went out without so much as a point, clearly looking like one of the worst teams in the tournament.

    Other notable teams in this group are European upstarts like Wales and Estonia, who should be a handful in their Euro qualifying groups.

60-31

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    Fernando Vergara/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    60Panama307.380+2
    59Bulgaria307.679-4
    58Albania310.681-1
    57Belarus315.136-3
    56Iceland314.8210
    55Zambia316.312+6
    54Norway330.172-3
    53Montenegro331.7330
    52Honduras332.719-9
    51Armenia334.044-1
    50Finland334.402-1
    49Slovenia334.556-3
    48Israel334.684+4
    47Scotland336.426+1
    46Algeria342.683+13
    45Slovakia347.7320
    44 Burkina Faso 347.797+3
    43Iran359.974+1
    42Peru363.634-2
    41Serbia363.867-2
    40South Korea364.571-9
    39Austria368.546+3
    38Venezuela370.881-1
    37Paraguay372.108-4
    36Poland373.920+2
    35Hungary377.190+6
    34Republic of Ireland382.7030
    33Turkey385.770+2
    32Romania394.3190
    31Australia395.722-7

     

    Analysis

    The most notable movements in this group of national teams, of course, comes from some of the action in Brazil this month.

    One of the big surprise packages of this World Cup, Algeria, move up 13 spots thanks to their amazing run through their group and how they pushed eventual champions Germany right to the edge in the round of 16.

    Meanwhile, one of the teams Algeria shocked, South Korea, moved the other way, falling nine spots after they crashed out of a group from which they will think they should have advanced when they look back.

    Australia also fell quite a few spots, as they lost every match, though in a very difficult group. Honduras fell nine spots after getting zero points from a relatively easy group.

    Finally, two teams who missed the World Cup in Hungary and Zambia are still moving up the rankings thanks to their poor results drifting into the past.

    For Hungary, a six-match winless streak has faded to four years in the past while they have lost just once in their past five. For Zambia, it's a string of five consecutive losses at the end of last year that they are slowly recovering from.

30-21

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    Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    30Czech Republic401.572-1
    29Denmark414.699+1
    28Japan417.591-5
    27Ukraine423.141+1
    26Ghana424.390-4
    25Ivory Coast432.326+1
    24Nigeria435.505+3
    23Sweden437.268+2
    22Costa RicaCosta Rica438.633+14
    21Ecuador443.4520

     

    Analysis

    Three of the first four top 30 are European teams that failed to make the World Cup in Czech Republic, Denmark and Ukraine. All three are still formidable teams, though, and should be featuring in France come Euro 2016.

    Japan and Ghana, meanwhile, both took tumbles at this World Cup, as both not only failed to get through their respective groups but also did so without winning a match.

    The Ivory Coast got their World Cup off to a flying start with a come-from-behind victory over Japan and a hard-fought and valiant loss to Colombia, but they fell victim to the scrappy Greeks and a contentious penalty call.

    After this setback, one must wonder if this golden era for the Ivorians will ever get its time to shine.

    Nigeria got through their group with the aid of some strange officiating against Bosnia and Herzegovina and put up a good fight with France for 80 minutes, so one would think that the reigning African champions would be on cloud nine heading into this new cycle.

    Unfortunately, the Nigerian government must have expected a bit more, as they had Nigerian Football Federation president Aminu Maigari arrested upon his return to the country and disbanded the federation before FIFA banned them from international football.

    The future of Nigerian football is obviously in a tenuous position as a result.

    Sweden sit at 23 as the highest-ranked team not to compete in Brazil this summer. Heading into a relatively easy Euro 2016 qualifying group with the likes of Russia, Austria, Montenegro, Moldova and Liechtenstein, Sweden will be looking to make a statement and win the group outright.

    Costa Rica definitely provided the biggest shocks in the 2014 World Cup, failing to lose a match in a group with former world champions England, Uruguay and Italy before pushing the Netherlands to a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals.

    Based on these performances, Costa Rica deserve to be much higher on the list, but Los Ticos didn't exactly wow when they were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the past two Gold Cups. A 14-spot rise is quite hefty, though, and it will certainly go up if Costa Rica can hold their form.

    The read on Ecuador heading into the tournament ended up holding true, as the South Americans struggled to defeat a poor Honduras side to earn their only points in the group. The team will need to improve their results outside of Quito in order to reach their full potential.

20-11

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    20Bosnia-Herzegovina446.903-2
    19CroatiaCroatia447.617-3
    18Switzerland458.359+1
    17Mexico459.039+3
    16USA466.473+1
    15Russia478.621-5
    14Greece481.911-1
    13Chile484.377+2
    12England491.613-3
    11Uruguay500.275-4

     

    Analysis

    Bosnia and Herzegovina kick off the top 20 with thoughts that they should be higher.

    The Bosnians have been slowly rising through the rankings for years and seemed to have been gifted an easy passage through the group phase with Iran and Nigeria.

    However, the Europeans couldn't recover from a few calls going against them in their match with Nigeria and ended up crashing out early.

    Croatia and Russia again failed to capitalize on their squads' potential as they both flamed out in the group stage when they entered the final match with their destinies in their own hands. Despite a fairly simple path to Euro 2016, it's hard to trust either of these two teams.

    Switzerland seemed to scrape through their group after a thumping from France but pushed Argentina to the limit in the round of 16. The Swiss will now be looking to do something they've struggled with in the past and use this momentum to excel in the next major tournament.

    Mexico recovered from their poor qualifying campaign to put in a great run in Brazil, drawing the hosts and going out on a contentious call in the round of 16. The question is still there, though, as to which of the two Mexican sides is the real team: The one that struggled in qualifying or the one that did so well in Brazil.

    The USA were able to navigate the Group of Death before again falling in extra time in the Round of 16, but it's hard to say they ever looked impressive. The team should enter the Gold Cup next summer with a point to prove as Jurgen Klinsmann looks to turn them into a CONCACAF juggernaut.

    Greece again found a way to get through their group. It really is uncanny how this team can look so bad and find a way through. With two hungry nations in Hungary and Romania in their qualifying group for Euro 2016, though, Greece could face a test over the next few years.

    Chile got through a tough group and gave Brazil all it could handle. Next summer's Copa America should be quite interesting, with this talented Chilean side serving as hosts.

    England certainly didn't look like the 12th-best team in the world at this World Cup, but a few bad performances does not see the Three Lions drop too far. The English have still been very consistent over the past four years and should be heading through qualifying and into Euro 2016 easily.

    Uruguay certainly had a tumultuous month at the World Cup and will face a stern test of character over the next few years.

    With some important components in the squad aging and Luis Suarez unable to wave his magic wand due to his suspension, what will come of this team over the next year and into the Copa America?

10-6

11 of 16

    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    10PortugalPortugal503.050-2
    9Belgium512.102+5
    8France512.433+4
    7ItalyItaly513.560-1
    6Colombia532.093+5

     

    Analysis

    Strangely, the bottom half of the top 10 is made up of two teams that failed to get through their respective World Cup groups and three teams that crashed out in the quarterfinals.

    Portugal went out in the Group of Death, but really only because of Pepe's ridiculous red card in the first match. The team never quite looked right with a hobbled Cristiano Ronaldo anyway, but don't sleep on them to come back to Euro 2016 at full strength.

    A young Belgium side made their first steps to greatness in Brazil, but fell short against Argentina. The team should be building to a big tournament in 2018, but they also have a good outside shot at European glory in 2016.

    France recovered from the demons of the last World Cup but were never really a match for Germany in the quarterfinals. Expect them to be formidable hosts at Euro 2016, though.

    Italy fell victim to the bite heard round the world in crashing out of the group stage, but they really should never have been in that position. With some aging stars, though, the reigning Euro runners-up have a few questions to answer over the next few years.

    Colombia looked like the clear pick for the best team at the World Cup throughout the group stage and the round of 16 but fell victim to an inspired host in the quarterfinals. This team should already be penciled in as favorites at next summer's Copa America, though.

5. Brazil

12 of 16

    Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    5Brazil576.118-2

     

    Analysis

    Brazil entered the tournament as sizable favorites, holding home-field advantage that comes with hosting the tournament.

    Right from the offset it became apparent, though, that that hosts' advantage was actually a disadvantage for this team, as they spent every match battling their opponents, the pressure and the ghosts of 1950.

    It all became too much for the side with the loss of superstar forward Neymar to a fractured vertebra and captain Thiago Silva to a suspension, as the Brazilians capitulated to the Germans in the semifinals to a horrifying extent, falling seven behind and suffering their worst defeat ever. What's more, they did it yet again in the third-place playoff, falling 3-0 to the Netherlands.

    The questions now turn to how this country will proceed with its national team and how these players can recover from the trauma of the events of the past week.

4. Argentina

13 of 16

    Martin Meissner/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    4ArgentinaArgentina588.6450

     

    Analysis

    It may seem strange that the World Cup runners-up wouldn't see their ranking rise after the tournament, but Argentina were strange World Cup finalists.

    After getting through a relatively weak group with three one-goal victories, Argentina went into the knockout stage and seemed to forget where the net was. The Argentineans managed just two goals in their incredible 450 minutes of play in the second round.

    The team's defense played so well that those goals were enough to win three matches and come close to winning the final. Still, with the talent up front for this team, it's hard not to be disappointed with their performances over their last four matches.

    With the likes of Lionel Messi at the helm, though, this is surely not the last to be heard from Argentina.

3. Spain

14 of 16

    Martin Meissner/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    3SpainSpain590.134-2

     

    Analysis

    How can a team that failed to get through its World Cup group stay in the top three nations of the world? Well, Spain was arguably the greatest national team ever right before this summer. After all, this is the first time the Spaniards have fallen out of the top spot in the history of these rankings.

    Yes, they floundered in Brazil and looked a shell of themselves, but this Spanish side is still stacked with talent.

    It will be up to them to prove over the next few years that the past month was a blip on the radar and not a sign of a changing of the guard in international football.

2. The Netherlands

15 of 16

    Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    2NetherlandsThe Netherlands596.082+3

     

    Analysis

    The third-place finishers at this summer's World Cup come in at No. 2.

    The Netherlands were shockingly good in the early stages of this tournament, powering through a group that many had tipped them to fall in. Their signature 5-1 victory over Spain in the opening match set the tone for what was to be a free-flowing, glorious team to watch.

    Unfortunately, the goals dried up for the Dutch when they hit the knockout stages, as they barely snuck past Mexico, had to get past Costa Rica on penalties and finally fell to Argentina in a shootout.

    It was only when they went to the third-place match, though, that the Netherlands got back to their free-flowing ways, destroying the hosts 3-0 en route to the bronze medal.

    While some of the most important cogs in this team are aging a bit, this Dutch side is still young on the whole and should be a pre-tournament pick come Euro 2016.

1. Germany

16 of 16

    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press
    Rank NationPoints out of 1000Change
    1Germany659.758+1

     

    Analysis

    It's only fitting that the World Cup champions be ranked No. 1, but Germany would still occupy the top spot in these rankings after the tournament even if they had lost as early as the semifinals.

    The Germans finally came good in the later stages of a major tournament, though, getting the trophy they so deserved.

    What's scary, though, is how young so much of this team is at the moment.

    Don't be surprised if, come this time in four years, Germany is still atop these rankings and boasting a run similar to that of Spain's golden age.

     

     

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