A word on ranking methodology. The teams have been ordered by subjective likelihood to win the World Cup. Some teams are above others within these rankings who they trail in their groups. Please do not panic. Teams that have been eliminated are ranked at the bottom, and separated by the standard of their performances.
32. Qatar (previous ranking: 31)
Hosts out with a whimper, looking far from the well-prepared underdogs who won the Asian Cup. At least they had a goal to cheer in an otherwise feeble showing across two games.
31. Canada (previously 21)
If Qatar’s exit was deserved, Canada feels harsh. They took the game to Belgium with some success in their first match, but were more exposed against Croatia. Can at least go home with happy memories of taking an unexpected lead against Modric & co.
30. Costa Rica (previously 32)
Somehow managed to beat Japan but still look one of the weakest teams at this or most other modern World Cups. Kind opponents for Germany next.
29. Wales (previously 20)
Desperately disappointing. One heroic push too far for Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay and little around them to suggest the immediate future will come close to the dizzy heights of 2016. Could and should rouse themselves for England.
28. Tunisia (previously 25)
A team of triers, roared on by one of the largest and loudest travelling contingents here in Qatar. Unfortunately they look over-matched in most departments, and their composure and decision making in key moments has let them down.
27. Saudi Arabia (previously 23)
A strong sense they have had their fun at this tournament now, after the reality check of defeat to Poland followed their thrilling win against Argentina.
26. South Korea (previously 19)
Fairly heartbreaking to witness their sadness after ending up on the losing side against Ghana, but despite valiantly fighting back they look a group destined to come up short when it counts.
25. Cameroon (previously 26)
A delightful mess of a side, all industry, wild attacking and enjoyably loose defending. Would be great fun if they could get something from final group game against Brazil.
24. Australia (previously 30)
Were understandably delighted with their 1-0 win against Tunisia, their first World Cup win in 12 years and only the third in their history. That’s probably mission accomplished for this tournament for a dedicated but modest squad.
23. Iran (previously 29)
An impressive result against Wales after a weirdly terrible opening game against England. Quite a lot riding on game against USA on Tuesday, and we’re only talking about the football. You would make them underdogs on what we’ve seen so far.
22. Mexico (previously 22)
Made it tough for Argentina but no real complaints about their 2-0 victory in the end. As has so often been the case, they feel like a team who are making up the numbers.
21. Switzerland (previously 14)
A European Mexico. Shook off their well-earned reputation as the team which makes every tournament but never does anything memorable at the last Euros. Look likely to revert to type here.
20. Senegal (previously 24)
Not enormously impressive despite victory over Qatar. Went back to basics with a 4-4-2 after losing to Netherlands in opening game, and have a fighting chance against Ecuador next.
19. Serbia (previously 16)
Good luck drawing any firm conclusions from their unhinged 3-3 draw with Cameroon, in which they were all smiles after coming from 1-0 down to pull ahead 3-1 but desolate by the end. Switzerland next, in a match which promises far more geopolitical intrigue than thrilling football.
18. Japan (previously 11)
An epochal choke against Costa Rica after their best result in World Cup history against Germany. Such a turnaround in performances does not suggest a long stay in Qatar.
17. Belgium (previously 7)
Unfortunately look like front-runners for the title of most dysfunctional team in the tournament. Some of the post-match comments after Morocco defeat suggest players in open revolt. In the words of Telegraph Sport’s Sam Dean: an unhappy team playing unhappy football.
16. Uruguay (previously 17)
A slow start against South Korea was forgivable, the same general malaise infecting their Portugal game suggests anyone believing the hype about Uruguay was misguided. Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin are all looking their age.
15. Netherlands (previously 6)
Bringing back unhappy memories of Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United. Off the pace against Ecuador, listless with possession and do not look especially motivated.
14. Poland (previously 28)
A solid bounce-back win against Saudi Arabia after disappointing in their opening match against Mexico. A World Cup goal at last for Robert Lewandowski, whose presence is enough to raise them a good five spots on this list.
13. Morocco (previously 27)
Another game, another clean sheet and a famous victory over Belgium which was no plucky, fortunate giant-killing, instead a fully deserved victory built on tight defending and a clinical streak in front of goal
12. Denmark (previously 12)
Raised their game against France and gave them a scare. Were a few missed chances away from a point against (spoiler alert) one of the best teams in this competition. Should go through, given they play Australia next.
11. Ghana (previously 10)
Edged a classic against South Korea. Look dangerous from out wide and when they counter-attack with speed. Wrestled a volatile game back to sanity, defending bravely to see it out. Could come unstuck against better opposition.
10. USA (previously 13)
A coming-of-age performance in their 0-0 against England with their midfield trio and Christian Pulisic especially impressive. Unfortunate to draw in the end. Must take their chances in final group game with Iran.
9. Ecuador (previously 18)
Seriously impressive in the draw against the Netherlands, pairing speed up front with industry in midfield. Enner Valencia leaving the pitch on a stretcher was quite the downer, although he is reportedly keen to struggle on and play in their final group game.
8. Germany (previously 8)
Still with us, just about. Looked better after the introduction of Leroy Sane and Niclas Fullkrug against Spain and have enough talent to kick into gear. Clearly not at the level of previous German teams but tournament offers a chance to evolve now, rather than the embarrassment which seemed possible after Japan defeat.
7. Argentina (previously 9)
From a devastating low to an glorious high, as Lionel Messi scored and Mexico were vanquished. Now need to stop running the emotional gamut and knuckle down. Clearly have the squad to go far, but the Saudi defeat will linger for a while longer. Poland next could be tricky.
6. England (previously 4)
Well below expected levels against USA, as they were against Scotland in Euro 2020. You are allowed one performance and result like that in a tournament, but only a win will do on Tuesday if we are to take them seriously as contenders.
5. Croatia (previously 15)
Navigated a tricky assignment against Canada after falling behind, seizing control then breezing away from their opponents. Luka Modric, somehow, still looks like a world beater, and Andrej Kramaric is the sort of capable but streaky forward who may catch fire at a convenient time
4. Brazil (previously 3)
Another frustrating hour against Switzerland but prevailed in the end. Looked wasteful in front of goal at times, with the niche idea that they would somehow be elevated without Neymar disproved. Still playing with enough promise and finesse to terrify anyone
3. Spain (previously 2)
A bit of a reversion to the mean against Germany after sweeping Costa Rica aside in their opening game. Put on their usual passing masterclass but it took the introduction of Alvaro Morata for them to turn possession into an actual goal threat.
2. Portugal (previously 5)
More convincing over two games than many more fancied teams. Cristiano Ronaldo fairly immense in 2-0 win against Uruguay and there is an appealing grittiness around him to suggest a deep run is possible.
1. France (previously 1)
In a World Cup where teams have struggled to put together back-to-back strong performances, France are the clear early pace-setters. Denmark were a sterner test than Australia and they rose to the occasion with Kylian Mbappe superb again and Antoine Greizmann close to his best. The team to beat.