With the final set of matches determining the Round Of 16, here are my top ten teams heading into the FIFA World Cup 2018 knockout round!
1.) Brazil: Don’t look now but the five-time champions are beginning to click! Neymar and company showed signs of why the Selecao may be the top team in the tournament in a comfortable win over Serbia to close out group play, and can only get better!
2.) France: Young, balanced, creative and perhaps the biggest threat to the fore mentioned Samba Kings, Les Bleus boast perhaps the best collection of young talent in Russia not named Neymar in the form of Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann.
While they have played rather average, and not up to their potential, France is a tough out for any opposing side.
3.) Croatia: Perhaps the dark horse of the entire tournament. Thanks to be placed on the opposite side of the World Cup bracket, and not having to worry about the “Infinity Gauntlet” of powerhouses such as Brazil, France, Argentina, Portugal and Uruguay.
Croatia has the talent in players such as Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic to make some noise all the way to Moscow.
4.) Mexico: Perhaps the most exciting and underrated team in the tournament, El Tri come in on a high in knocking off Germany. Despite losing to Sweden 3-0, Mexico–thanks to the likes of forwards Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez, Hirving Lozano and goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa are dangerous and a team to watch.
5.) Spain: Always a tough and solid side, led by the likes of Diego Costa, Sergio Ramos, Isco, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique, this may be the last stand for the one-time champs and most dominant sides ever to play European football.
6.) Belgium: A dark horse of there ever was one, The Red Devils ooze talent in the form of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne. With such a potent attack and quality midfield and goalkeeping in Thibault Courtois can Belgium put it all together?
7.) Uruguay: Another dangerous side that has so much talent going for them, La Celeste, are flying under the radar despite having world-class players such as Luis Suarez, Diego Godin and Edinson Cavani.
It also doesn’t help that they are in the “Infinity Gauntlet” bracket and have to face Ronaldo-led Portugal and either Lionel Messi-led Argentina or a young and talented French squad. Yikes!8.) Portugal: Any team that has Ronaldo is a threat. And Portugal is a quality side. If CR7 pulls off the impossible and claims glory in Moscow, they will build a statue in Lisbon that will make the Statue of Liberty look like your child’s slime party project. Bet!
9.) Colombia: From the land of coffee, cocaine and some of the hottest models you will ever find on Instagram (you know!) Colombia escape the wrath of Thanos and lucked out in landing on the opposite bracket.
If James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao ball out like they have the potential to do, then Los Cafeteros will be drinking more than champagne in Moscow!
10.) Argentina: Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria are not enough for this side to make it far, Especially with a lack of defense and relying too much on Messi to do everything.