The Final Eight FIFA World Cup 2018 Teams
We’ve reached the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup 2018. One of these eight teams are going to take home arguably the most prestigious title in sports that is FIFA World Cup . Here are our power rankings of the eight teams in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals — ranked from least likely to win to most likely. The quarterfinal matches list is also there and quarterfinal matches started from tomorrow.
You want history? Brazil has won five World Cups. They are the greatest soccer nation in the world. Also, having won in 2002, they are the most-recent winners left in the tournament as well. You want talent? This team is loaded. Neymar, as arguably the third-best player in the world, is now the best player still in action this summer. Other than an iffy game in the opener with Switzerland, nobody has really threatened Brazil. They dispatched a good Mexico team with ease. They are the top-ranked team in ELO and SPI. Brazil is the best team of the past, and the best team of the present. They have to be the favorites.
The bloom is off the rose a bit for Croatia after they barely eked out a win via penalty kicks over Denmark. However, they are here, and they have won all four of their games in this World Cup. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are elite midfielders. They rank seventh in ELO, a much better ranking system than FIFA’s. That’s tops on their side of the bracket. Now we have gotten to the reason this team is second in these power rankings. Their path to the finals should be relatively easy. Beating Russia is well within their grasp. The four most-talented teams in this tournament are all on the other side of the bracket. Fortune has smiled on Croatia.
It’s easy to sleep on Uruguay: a small nation whose great successes happened over 60 years ago. Yes, they’ve won two World Cups, but one of them was the very first one in 1930. What does that even mean in 2018? However, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are a potent one-two punch. Their defense is staunch. They’ve allowed only one goal in this tournament. You can’t lose if the ball doesn’t go in your net. Uruguay is on the hard side of the bracket, but overlook them at your own peril.
Now that England has actually won a penalty shootout, anything seems possible. Could England finally find World Cup success after winning as the host country in 1966? They are on the easier side of the bracket. Beating Sweden is well within their grasp, and Croatia (or Russia) won’t scare them too much. Harry Kane is going to win the Golden Boot, and maybe the Golden Ball. If not for the fact England carries so much baggage with them, a lot more people would be talking about them as a favorite. They aren’t as good as, say, Brazil, but they are good enough to beat a team like Brazil once. Maybe even on penalties.
France are no worse than the second-most-talented team in this World Cup, depending on how you feel about Brazil. Kylian Mbappé seems primed to take the title of the world’s best player at some point — perhaps even soon. They are one of the teams left that have a World Cup, having won it in 1998. They also made the finals in 2006. Most of the teams left standing either have never made it that far or haven’t done it in the modern era of soccer. And yet, it’s hard to buy into France fully. They haven’t looked great, even in their win against Argentina. That game could have easily gone against them. If they were on the other side of the bracket, making it to the finals would be within their grasp. Instead, they’d have to beat Uruguay and (likely) Brazil. Could they do it? Sure, but betting on it would take more faith than they’ve earned.
There are a few European countries that were soccer powerhouses in a bygone era that a lot of fans aren’t aware of. (For example, did you know that Austria and Hungary used to be two of the best teams in the world?) On that front, Sweden were runners up in 1958 and finished in the top four in 1938 and 1950. That was a long time ago, though. This Sweden team is hard to get a read on. Their talent does not impress. They have no superstars. Most people didn’t expect them to get out of the group. They only got past Switzerland 1-0 thanks to a deflected shot. Then again, they were oh-so-close to getting a win against Germany and trounced Mexico. Still, you have to assume talent wins out — eventually.
Belgium was so close to disaster. After the country failed to qualify for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, they increased their efforts to build a competitive national team. Their “golden generation” made the quarterfinals in 2014, but this is supposed to be the year. It’s the Cup where they are all in their primes. Yet there was Belgium down two goals to none to Japan in the knockout stage. A miracle comeback led to a 3-2 win, but it was greeted with relief — not rejoice. Now, the Belgians have to face Brazil, and if they somehow win that game it’s on to face either Uruguay or France to even make it to the finals. They aren’t going to do it. It’s really that simple. Hey, at least they beat Japan.
It’s weird that Russia is still standing. Sure, being the host country helps. It got South Korea into a World Cup semifinals. However, talent-wise, Russia is definitely the worst team remaining. They lack stars. Most of the team plies their trade in Russia, which is far from the best domestic league on the planet. You would have been forgiven for not being able to name a single Russian player before this tournament. Russia was drawn into one of the easiest groups in memory, and then they squeaked out a win over a lackluster Spain team thanks to a penalty kick goal during the game and a victory in a penalty kill shootout after extra time. If they make it another round, it will be a stunner.
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