Colombia dancing their way to the #2 spot
1. France- The 5-2 scoreline does not even reflect the amount of dominance France had in the game. Switzerland were lucky to keep it close with as Diego Benaglio kept the game close. Karim Benzema and now Olivier Giroud are both firing making France the most dangerous and scary team in the tournament. (Previous Rank: 3)
2. Colombia- Scary moments at the end for the Colombians but they were spectacular until the end of the game. James Rodriguez has been every bit as good as advertised and even scored a header from a corner despite his size. They are also quickly becoming fan favorites with their eccentric celebrations. (Previous Rank: 4)
3. Costa Rica- Who would have known that the performance against Uruguay was not a fluke and Costa Rica are a very legitimate team. In what was considered to be a tough group, Costa Rica flew passed the competition and was the first to qualify. Giancarlo Gonzalez was a defensive rock. (Previous Rank :5)
4. Netherlands- An unconvincing performance sees last week’s top team slip a few spots but also raises questions. There were moments in which Australia controlled the game and look like the better team. Memphis Depay came on to save the day but they are not quite the same team that dismantled Spain. (Previous Rank: 1)
5. Chile- The destruction of Spain was complete by a Chilean team that have been performing even though superstar Arturo Vidal has been average. The Spain game felt one sided at points and they were never able to put up a solid battle against the superior Chile team. Definitely a team to watch-out for. (Previous Rank: 11)
6. Germany- Anyone that figured Ghana would be a cakewalk for any team were dead wrong. Ghana is arguably the best team in Africa and made the German’s lives miserable at times. Mats Hummels usually has one bad game per tournament and this seemed like it was it. They remain favorites to escape the group of death. (Previous Rank: 2)
7. Argentina- Iran came to play and exposed a number of weaknesses in this Argentina team. Amazingly, they were willing to defend Lionel Messi individually and gave him space at times. Of course giving Messi any space will come back to bite you and his wonderstrike put Argentina through. (Previous Rank: 7)
8. Belgium- Another unconvincing performance at times but they have been a mirror image of Argentina but have beat better teams. Eden Hazard has twice come to the rescue to save Belgium in the dying minutes by setting up two important goals giving Belgium passage to the knockout stage. Regardless of where they finish, they will have a tough opponent. (Previous Rank: 8)
9. Brazil- Mentioned last time that Oscar’s performances would determine the success of Brazil and Oscar was not great against Mexico. Of course Brazil should have come away with all three points but Guillermo Ochoa robbed them. There’s an outside chance they might not qualify but should beat Cameroon. (Previous Rank: 9)
10. United States- Mathematically speaking, the United States are in a pretty good position. Logically speaking, getting a single point from Germany will be tough. Snagging that one point will prove that the United States deserve to be with powerhouses Germany and Ghana, but they could also scrape by through various scenarios. (Previous Rank: 10)
11. Mexico- Mexico are now in a favorable position to earn a spot in the knockout round. The problem is that they are struggling offensively and cannot find the back of the net. One goal by Oribe Peralta and more struggles from Javier Hernandez means Mexico need to find a source of offense. Marco Fabian looked like a spark during his cameo. (Previous Rank: 12)
12. Croatia- It looks as though Croatia might actually be the best team in the group. Their performance against Cameroon was more dominant than Mexico’s and Mario Mandzukic has started off with some fire. They are in a poorer position than Mexico otherwise they would be ranked ahead, they need a win. (Previous Rank: 20)
13. Nigeria- Ranked last during matchday 1, they seem to be beneficiaries of a good schedule. By no means did they deserve to beat Bosnia with a few wrong calls leading to the result, but they are now in shape to qualify with just a tie against an Argentina team that already qualified. Emmanuel Emenike’s performance was superb. (Previous Rank: 32)
14. Italy- Costa Rica have been the story of the tournament at the cost of Italy, a team that probably felt they were through with their victory over England. It was not a minor setback, Costa Rica were the better team and Italy were a bit lucky to maintain the goal difference over Uruguay. Just need a point now. (Previous Rank: 6)
15. Uruguay- Turns out Luis Suarez can make the difference and ended England’s chances with a clinical performance. His partnership with Edinson Cavani was solid and could be dangerous for any team if they advance. Things get difficult with their final match against Italy and Uruguay needing a win. (Previous Rank: 27)
16. Ivory Coast- The prediction that Didier Drogba is done turned out to be true. His introduction had no positive influence on the game. Gervinho’s magic is what drew the Ivory Coast close but fell just short against Colombia. On the positive side, a draw gets them through to the next round. (Previous Rank: 14)
17. Algeria- A lot of people called out Belgium for under-performing against Algeria but it turns out they are pretty good. Their destruction of South Korea was just what they needed to give themselves a shot at advancing. A draw puts them through to the next round and it looks very manageable against Russia. (Previous Rank: 25)
18. Ghana- The reluctance to rank them higher comes from the difficult position the loss to the United States put them in. A win over Portugal would not guarantee them a spot in the next round so their destiny is out of their hands. Kudos to them on their performance against Germany, they were great. (Previous Rank: 21)
19. Switzerland- They absolutely deserved their loss to France but that does not mean they are a bad team. They showed they still had some fight left in them even after going down early. Ranked above Ecuador because their last game is against already eliminated Honduras team while Ecuador have to play France. (Previous Rank: 13)
20. Ecuador- Despite a win over Honduras, Ecuador are not in the ideal position. The only way they can guarantee their passage is by beating the most in-form team of the tournament. They did not look great against Honduras either and could have easily ended with a tie. They do benefit from France already qualifying. (Previous Rank: 18)
21. Russia- Losing to Belgium hurt a lot more after Algeria went on to win their game. Russia need a win over a pretty decent Algeria team to advance but the question of why Fabio Capello keeps leaving Alan Dzagoev on the bench is puzzling. They have been offensively inept with only 1 goal so far. ((Previous Rank: 22)
22. Iran- What seemed like a long shot at the start of the tournament is now a possibility for Iran. Bosnia have been unlucky so it is a tough match for Iran, but they proved that they can compete with a tournament favorite and were really unlucky to leave with nothing. They will need help to advance. (Previous Rank: 31)
23. Japan- Another team that failed to grab their chance by drawing with Greece. They remain long shots to advance with a tough game against Colombian coming up. They needed more from star midfielder Shinji Kagawa but they will need a miracle and help to qualify for the next round. (Previous Rank: 19)
24. Greece- They are in the same position as Japan but with a slightly easier team but more difficult situation. The Ivory Coast need a point to guarantee their place in the next round and will fight their hardest for that. In addition, Greece need to really beat down the Ivory Coast to even have a shot of advancing. (Previous Rank: 26)
25. Portugal- Their best chance to get points out of the group of death was probably against the United States and they were outplayed. Salvaging a point in extra time technically kept them alive but they need a huge victory over a Ghana team that also need a win. Cristiano Ronaldo has still not scored a goal this tournament either. (Previous Rank: 28)
26. South Korea- Just like Portugal they are grasping for straws and the first one they need is a win against 1st place Belgium. Even if they manage to secure a huge victory, either Algeria or Russia could qualify with a win. They are the weakest team with a chance to qualify but Algeria proved to be the superior team. (Previous Rank: 23)
27. Australia- They battled like heroes in a group where they were the biggest outcasts. They were given no shot to advance through the group but they played with grit and determination with the results just failing to go in their favor. Admirable performance by these guys, a victory over Spain would mean a lot to them. (Previous Rank: 29)
28. Bosnia and Herzegovina- Hard-done by some poor officiating, Bosnia were just unlucky and that cost them. Realistically they could have finished anywhere in their group but they did not take their chances when they needed. They probably should have made it through. (Previous Rank: 15)
29. England- Let the brutal English media blame game come into play. The fact is, England did not have the quality to compete with Italy or Uruguay. Steven Gerrard’s mistake was the result of misfortune but, regardless of the result, England were not going very far anyway. They need to start fresh now. (Previous Rank: 16)
30. Honduras- Probably considered one of the weakest teams, they could have been in a good position going into the final. Ecuador was vulnerable and they just failed to qualify. While they had some good players, they just lacked the overall quality needed to compete in this tournament. (Previous Rank: 30)
31. Cameroon- Surely they are not this bad? Something happened between the first and second games as Captain Samuel Eto’o watch his team get eliminated from the bench. They should have been better able to compete, but they were probably done when they failed to get a result against Mexico. (Previous Rank: 24)
32. Spain- Vicente del Bosque relied too much on an old guard that was not reliable. Iker Casillas having two nightmare games in a row summed up Spain’s tournament. They can look to the future because they have an abundance of brilliant stars coming through the ranks. They just need to let go of the one phenomenal old guard. (Previous Rank: 17)
Karim Benzema takes top honors as the best player on matchday 2
GK: Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)- Not statistically the best goalkeeper but his contribution lead to endless memes about his incredible game. Might have single-handedly helped Mexico advance.
RB: Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast)- For the second time, Aurier was the best right back in the tournament. Not as offensively efficient, Aurier still added 3 tackles, 3 clearances and 2 interceptions.
CB: Rafik Halliche (Algeria)- Scored a goal while providing 11 clearances, 2 tackles and 2 interceptions. All around wonderful performance
CB: Giancarlo Gonzalez (Costa Rica)- Player of the game in the Costa Rica/Italy game, 5 aerial dules won, 5 tackles, 4 interceptions and 6 clearances.
LB: Junior Diaz (Costa Rica)- Assisted Ruiz in the game winning goal while adding 4 tackles and 4 clearances defensively.
Mid: Blaise Matuidi (France)- 1 goal and 2 chances created, he also added 4 successful dribbles offensively and 4 interceptions, 2 tackles and 2 clearances defensively
Mid: Lionel Messi (Argentina)- Messi scored the game winner in the dying minutes but also created 3 chances, had a 93% pass completion rate and 7 successful dribbles
Mid: Son Heung-Min (South Korea)- 1 goal and 1 chances created but also added a tournament high 9 successful dribbles.
Mid: Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria)- Scored the game winning goal and had a 92% pass completion rate. He also added a team high 5 tackles
Fwd: Karim Benzema (France)- One missed penalty but was an unstoppable machine otherwise. 1 goal, 2 assists, 6 chances created, 96% pass completion rate all on just 40 touches. Best player of matchday 2 without question.
Fwd: Mario Mandzukic (Croatia)- A brace to put the game away for Croatia but also won a game high 5 aerial duels and created 2 chances.