News Matches
World Cup

World Cup 2022 Power Rankings: Argentina and Germany tumble after shock opening defeats

5:15 AM SGT 25/11/22
World Cup power rankings HIC 16:9
The tournament in Qatar is well under way, so who looks best equipped to lift the trophy, and who looks undercooked?

Given its timing and its setting, the 2022 World Cup promised to be an edition like no other, and the first round of group-stage matches have provided plenty of drama.

Teams from around the globe arrived in Qatar with some looking in better shape than others, but the first few days have already shown that what we thought ahead of the tournament was not necessarily correct.

But who are now the favourites to lift the trophy, who are looking like surprise packages, and who is facing up to an early exit?

Having ranked all the contenders throughout the build-up to the tournament, here's how GOAL sees it after the first 16 matches...

(Last updated: November 18.)

  • Costa Rica Power Rankings GFX

    #32 Costa Rica

    Last time: 28th

    At least make it look like you're trying! Costa Rica absolutely no-showed against Spain, and were perhaps fortunate to only lose 7-0 in the end given La Roja's dominance.

    Japan's win over Germany in the other Group E game further diminished their chances of qualifying for the knockouts, and an early exit is now inevitable.

  • Australia Power Rankings GFX

    #31 Australia

    Last time: 31st

    For about 15 minutes, the Socceroos were in dreamland. Winning 1-0 against the defending champions and holding their own too.

    Then France took things up a gear or two, and Australia couldn't cope. The good news? Their next two matches surely can't be as tough.

  • Qatar Power Rankings GFX

    #30 Qatar

    Last time: 29th

    The worst host-nation team ever? That's certainly on the cards for Qatar now after their feeble display against Ecuador in the tournament's opening game.

    Maybe it was first-night nerves, but they will have to improve massively if they are to get out of the group.

  • Iran Power Rankings GFX

    #29 Iran

    Last time: 26th

    Regardless of their result against England, Iran can be immensely proud of the way they stood up to their oppressive government back home by refusing to sing the national anthem.

    When all is said and done, we will likely look back on it as the bravest decision made at this World Cup, and for that they should be applauded.

  • Canada Power Rankings GFX

    #28 Canada

    Last time: 27th

    Sometimes football is unfair, and that was definitely the case on Wednesday as Canada dominated Belgium, only to lose 1-0 in their first World Cup match since 1986.

    Alphonso Davies' missed penalty was the cherry on top of a performance that lacked a clinical edge up front, but they should not lose heart or hope of reaching the last 16 just yet.

  • Tunisia Power Rankings GFX

    #27 Tunisia

    Last time: 30th

    Tunisia came into the tournament having kept seven clean sheets in their last eight games, so perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that they managed to restrict Denmark to so little in their opener.

    Holding the Danes to a draw now also means that a win against Australia on matchday two will put them in a great position to reach the last 16.

  • Cameroon Power Rankings GFX

    #26 Cameroon

    Last time: 25th

    Cameroon really should have gone into half-time against Switzerland with the lead, so to then concede almost immediately after the break was a real sucker-punch for the Indomitable Lions.

    Serbia are next up for Rigobert Song's side, and anything less than a victory will likely mean an early exit from the competition.

  • Ghana Power Rankings GFX

    #25 Ghana

    Last time: 23rd

    Oh Inaki Williams - if only you'd worn longer studs! The Ghana striker slipped at the vital moment when it looked like he was about to score the cheekiest of late equalisers against Portugal.

    That meant that although the Black Stars were the only African team to score in the first round of games, they find themselves bottom of Group H.

  • Saudi Arabia Power Rankings GFX

    #24 Saudi Arabia

    Last time: 32nd

    The biggest upset in World Cup history? Saudi Arabia can definitely make a case for it after their stunning come-from-behind win over Argentina.

    Can they now kick-on and make the knockout stages for just the second time? We cannot rule it out.

  • Senegal Power Rankings GFX

    #23 Senegal

    Last time: 15th

    Just in case there was still any doubt, Senegal's loss to the Netherlands only served to illustrate how much the African champions will miss Sadio Mane in this tournament.

    They managed to keep the Dutch at bay for 84 minutes on Monday, but lacked a cutting edge up front before Edouard Mendy's errors saw them fall to a late defeat.

  • Morocco Power Rankings GFX

    #22 Morocco

    Last time: 22nd

    These Power Rankings have been tipping Morocco as potential surprise entertainers at the World Cup, so of course they kicked-off with a 0-0 draw!

    Holding Croatia does, though, keep the African side well in contention to make it through to the knockout rounds.

  • South Korea Power Rankings GFX

    #21 South Korea

    Last time: 20th

    South Korea didn't offer much going forward against Uruguay, but were resolute defensively to earn themselves a point from their opener.

    They will need Son Heung-min to step up, though, if they are to progress out of the group.

  • Serbia Power Rankings GFX

    #20 Serbia

    Last time: 16th

    Serbia gave it a good go against Brazil but were unable to hold out as the favourites ran out 2-0 winners in matchday one's final game.

    Expect them to be more adventurous in their final two matches as they chase a place in the knockout rounds.

  • Mexico Power Rankings GFX

    #19 Mexico

    Last time: 19th

    Mexico actually performed better than some fans were expecting in their opener against Poland, and yet they still needed a penalty save from legendary goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to save them from defeat.

    It was definitely a missed opportunity, and they will hope that Raul Jimenez is fit to start and offer them some more cutting edge against Argentina next time out.

  • USA Power Rankings GFX

    #18 United States

    Last time: 18th

    Oh, Walker Zimmerman, did you really need to dive in there? The centre-back's challenge on Gareth Bale ended up costing the U.S. two points against Wales despite them having dominated for long periods.

    Despite the disappointment of the final result, it was definitely an encouraging performance from Gregg Berhalter's team, though they will need to raise their level again when they face England on Friday.

  • Wales Power Rankings GFX

    #17 Wales

    Last time: 17th

    When Wales's football team needs a hero, they almost always turn to Gareth Bale. And he almost always delivers.

    It was Bale who netted the equalising penalty against the United States on Monday, and that point sets them up nicely for their meeting with Iran on matchday two.

  • Germany Power Rankings GFX

    #16 Germany

    Last time: 3rd

    Germany passed Japan to death at times but lacked that clinical edge up front as they slid to a shock 2-1 defeat.

    A second successive group-stage exit is now on the cards, with Spain to come on matchday two.

  • Japan Power Rankings GFX

    #15 Japan

    Last time: 24th

    Takuma Asano's winning goal against Germany spraked wild scenes both inside the stadium and back home as Japan enjoyed the biggest result in their footballing history on Wednesday.

    With Costa Rica to come next, they could be secure of a place in the last 16 with a game to spare if they win that one.

  • Ecuador Power Rankings GFX

    #14 Ecuador

    Last time: 21st

    So, who had Enner Valencia as their bet for the Golden Boot? The veteran striker got Ecuador off to a flying start in Qatar, scoring twice to take down the hosts.

    Though inexperienced, the South American outfit showed enough in their opener to suggest that they could yet be a surprise package at this tournament.

  • Poland Power Rankings GFX`

    #13 Poland

    Last time: 13th

    Will Robert Lewandowski ever score at a World Cup? He might not get a better chance than he did against Mexico, but he couldn't convert from the penalty spot.

    Poland were actually pretty disappointing during that goalless draw, and will need to improve ahead of their meeting with a buoyant Saudi Arabia next time out.

  • Uruguay Power Rankings GFX

    #12 Uruguay

    Last time: 12th

    One of the many 'dark horses' to underwhelm in their opening game, Uruguay struggled to create chances for the likes of Luis Suarez, Darwin Nunez and substitute Edinson Cavani.

    Fede Valverde did look good in midfield, however, and he will be key when they Portugal on matchday two.

  • Croatia Power Rankings GFX

    #11 Croatia

    Last time: 10th

    Runners-up back in 2018, Croatia will have to improve on their opening performance against Morocco if they are to get close to repeating that run in Qatar.

    Their issue is likely to be scoring goals, as they undoubtedly have the players to unlock defences, but lack a potent striker to make the most of the talent behind them.

  • Denmark Power Rankings GFX

    #10 Denmark

    Last time: 8th

    Is the curse of the dark horses yet to strike again? Denmark looked anything but potential challengers in their draw with Tunisia as they struggled to match their opponents from north Africa.

    With France up next, they must improve quickly if they are to avoid a group-stage exit.

  • Switzerland Power Rankings GFX

    #9 Switzerland

    Last time: 14th

    Switzerland did what Switzerland tend to always do at major tournaments - win in the most efficient way possible.

    Breel Embolo's strike to down Cameroon sets them up well to again reach the knockout rounds for what would be the fourth time in the last five World Cups.

  • Argentina Power Rankings GFX

    #8 Argentina

    Last time: 2nd

    Well that wasn't how Lionel Messi's final World Cup was meant to begin! Argentina's shock loss to Saudi Arabia has left them up against it to even make it out of the groups, never mind challenge for the trophy.

    The Copa America winners do have a team capable of turning this around, and they could yet still finish top of their group, but things could not have got off to a worse start.

  • Belgium Power Rankings GFX

    #7 Belgium

    Last time: 9th

    They looked old, they looked slow and they were almost-totally dominated by Canada, and yet Belgium still managed to pull out the win in their opening game.

    Romelu Lukaku is unlikely to fix all their problems, but adding a reliable goalscorer to the mix should help somewhat, particularly in the knockout stages, when their defence might not be able to hold up their end of the bargain.

  • Portugal Power Rankings GFX

    #6 Portugal

    Last time: 11th

    They were by no means convincing, but Portugal held off a late fightback from Ghana to kick their tournament off with a win.

    Cristiano Ronaldo was on the scoresheet, but perhaps more importantly, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao found the net for a team that needs its supporting cast to step up in the attacking third.

  • Netherlands Power Rankings GFX

    #5 Netherlands

    Last time: 7th

    It was by no means a convincing display by the Netherlands, but they eventually got the job done against Senegal with a 2-0 win.

    Louis van Gaal will have been pleased to see in-form Cody Gakpo get on the scoresheet, though the Oranje need Memphis Depay back fit and firing to give them a real edge up front.

  • England Power Rankings GFX

    #4 England

    Last time: 6th

    After six games without a win, England kicked-off their World Cup campaign by scoring six goals in what was one of the most complete performances of the opening round.

    The Three Lions were vibrant in attack as young guns Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka shone brightly, and though question marks over their defence remain, this was a great start from Gareth Southgate's team.

  • France Power Rankings GFX

    #3 France

    Last time: 5th

    Slow out of the blocks against Australia, France eventually got themselves going and could have won by more than the 4-1 scoreline in their opener.

    Despite their bad injury luck continuing, with Lucas Hernandez being ruled out of the rest of the tournament, the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele are capable of producing performances that can overcome any crisis.

  • Spain Power Rankings GFX

    #2 Spain

    Last time: 4th

    Costa Rica offered very little in terms of resistance, but Spain showed that despite being one of the youngest teams in Qatar, they are potentially the most exciting to watch.

    Their 7-0 win has seen some tout them as the team to beat, but we are keen to see how they fare against tougher opposition, such as a desperate Germany on matchday two.

  • Brazil Power Rankings GFX

    #1 Brazil

    Last time: 1st

    It took them a while to break down Serbia, but thanks to Richarlison's double the pre-tournament favourites got the job done.

    The only concern was a potential injury to Neymar, and if their talisman does end up missing games, they must pray they cope with his absence better than they did back in 2014.