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World Cup 2022 energy rankings: how the 32 look with two months to go | World Cup 2022

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Álvaro Morata celebrates with Nico Williams after scoring the winner against Portugal in Braga.

1) Brazil (up 1)

It’s three years since Brazil misplaced to anyone apart from Argentina, a ahead line of Neymar, Richarlison, Vinícius Júnior and Raphinha potent sufficient that Gabriel Jesus was ignored of the latest pleasant wins over Ghana and Tunisia. One defeat in 29 is an distinctive file; the one doubt is that they haven’t performed a European group since dropping to Belgium on the final World Cup. JW

2) Argentina (down 1)

The retirement of the vast majority of the fleet of excellent forwards has cleared the image for Argentina. Lionel Scaloni’s facet is probably not as glitzy as most up-to-date iterations, however this Argentina facet are harmonious and coherent and get the perfect out of Lionel Messi. They’ve gone 35 unbeaten and beat Italy within the Copa Finalissima in June – however the one different European facet they’ve performed since October 2019 is Estonia. JW

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3) Spain (-)

Luis Enrique asserting his remaining pre-World Cup squad in a video of him biking in homage to the Vuelta a España didn’t fairly have the optimistic impact he may need hoped as La Roja slumped to their first house defeat in nearly 4 years in opposition to Switzerland. However regardless of the Spain supervisor saying that Portugal have a greater probability of success in Qatar it was his facet who claimed high spot of their Nations League group after Álvaro Morata’s late winner in Braga. EA

Álvaro Morata celebrates with Nico Williams after scoring the winner in opposition to Portugal in Braga. {Photograph}: Hugo Delgado/EPA

4) Netherlands (-)

4 Netherlands ▶

May this be Louis van Gaal’s grand finale? Not one of the goalkeeping choices encourage confidence, however the 71-year-old coach circled a qualifying marketing campaign that had begun badly and has put collectively a balanced squad taking part in vibrant soccer. Maybe they’re barely overreliant on the targets of Memphis Depay, however there’s a sense of objective and organisation about this squad that recollects 2014. JW

5) Germany (-)

Germany have the potential to win in Qatar however, like lots of their conventional rivals, should handle obvious flaws. Hungary uncovered them with a supremely executed win in Leipzig, Hansi Flick’s first defeat in cost, and though they have been largely managed in opposition to England the best way they buckled amid a 15-minute flurry will breed concern. They play in Flick’s engaging type however nonetheless lack killer intuition. NA

6) Denmark (up 1)

If Denmark have been spooked by a slender setback in Croatia final week, they didn’t present it. Three days later they toppled France with an excellent efficiency and they’re taking part in with the tempo that gained so many admirers at Euro 2020. It helps, too, that Christian Eriksen has returned in such imperious type: he scored a shocking objective in Zagreb after which outclassed his French counterparts. A problem for honours seems to be sensible. NA

7) France (down 1)

No nation has such a depth of expertise as France, however not one of the different favourites has such an array of gamers embroiled in varied off-field distractions whereas there may be actual ill-feeling between the households of sure gamers. Add a provocative coach in Didier Deschamps who favours attritional soccer that hardly ever appears to get the perfect out of his facet and the potential for implosion is critical. JW

Kylian Mbappé scores in opposition to Austria on the Stade de France in France’s 2-0 win final week. {Photograph}: Aurélien Meunier/Getty Pictures

8) Croatia (up 5)

Any suggestion Croatia are a fading power has been dispelled by the actual fact they deservedly topped a Nations League group that includes Denmark and France. Luka Modric was irresistible in final Thursday’s 2-1 win over Denmark and proceeded to attain in a convincing victory in opposition to Austria. The previous guard seem to have one final push in them and it might propel the group a good distance in Qatar. NA

9) England (up 1)

Semi-finalists on the World Cup and finalists on the Euros, England ought to go to Qatar with optimism, however they’ve gained none of their previous six video games, numerous key gamers are injured or out of shape and endurance with Gareth Southgate appears to be operating out. Twenty good minutes in opposition to Germany no less than lifted the temper slightly, however the Harry Maguire challenge looms giant. JW

Harry Maguire in an England wall in opposition to Germany. {Photograph}: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

10) Serbia (up 5)

Whisper it, however Serbia’s optimism seems justified. They’re in excellent type, this month’s resounding wins over Sweden and Norway suggesting Dragan Stojkovic has nurtured a maturity and steadiness to enhance their undoubted aptitude. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic have been on track in Oslo, and the previous scored a hat-trick in opposition to Sweden. A troublesome group in Qatar ought to maintain few fears. NA

11) Switzerland (up 3)

The favourites ought to all be cautious of Switzerland, who backed up their June win over Portugal by triumphing in Spain with a tactically spectacular show. They subsequently overcame the Czech Republic – albeit aided by Yann Sommer’s penalty save from Tomas Soucek – and an skilled facet, buoyed by the targets of Breel Embolo, seems to be nicely set to hassle the later levels. NA

12) Belgium (down 4)

Kevin De Bruyne shrugged off his self-confessed boredom at taking part in Wales to mastermind a victory secured by means of a dominant first-half displaying final Thursday, however the best way they in the end squeaked house confirmed that defensive doubts stay. A slender defeat by the Netherlands was nicely contested and salvaged some delight after June’s thrashing however there’s a sense that the golden era’s ship has sailed. NA

Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne takes on the Wales defence. {Photograph}: Anadolu Company/Getty Pictures

13) Uruguay (down 1)

A qualification marketing campaign that was operating out of steam was salvaged when the troublesome resolution was taken final 12 months to interchange Óscar Tabárez after 15 years in cost. Diego Alonso noticed them to Qatar with 4 straight wins however they’re struggling to seek out the correct steadiness: one ahead leaves them wanting firepower (and Darwin Núñez is an implausible huge man) however two renders them open by means of midfield. JW

14) Portugal (down 5)

A disappointing efficiency in opposition to Spain after the 4-0 thumping of the Czech Republic may have dampened spirits considerably in Portugal however they continue to be among the many favourites. Their veteran supervisor, Fernando Santos, needed to apologise to Tiago Djaló after the primary match when he admitted forgetting the Lille defender was amongst his substitutes and was criticised by some supporters. EA

15) Senegal (down 4)

Aliou Cissé’s facet will arrive in Qatar strongly fancied to comply with up their first Africa Cup of Nations triumph with a robust displaying below the skilled supervisor. However regardless of a cushty win over Bolivia in France, Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Iran confirmed there are nonetheless issues over the group’s means to attain sufficient targets to hold them deep into the event. EA

Senegal have a good time after successful the Africa Cup of Nations in February. {Photograph}: Sunday Alamba/AP

16) Poland (up 2)

Poland will at all times battle to flee the accusation that they’re Robert Lewandowski plus 10 others, however they actually needs to be given the presence within the squad of Arkadiusz Milik and Piotr Zielinski, in addition to an array of wonderful goalkeepers. Czeslaw Michniewicz changed Paulo Sousa as coach in January and Nations League type below him has been patchy, the one wins coming in opposition to Wales. JW

17) Canada (down 1)

After beating Qatar final Friday, Canada’s 2-0 defeat by Uruguay in Bratislava on Tuesday confirmed they will compete with a number of the finest sides. Their supervisor, John Herdman, admitted that his gamers had been ready for a possibility to face sides from outdoors North and Central America as they put together for the World Cup and they are going to be hoping for one more check of their remaining warmup in opposition to Japan. EA

18) Wales (down 1)

After the excessive of qualifying for his or her first World Cup since 1958, it has been a testing few days for Wales as defeats by Belgium and Poland meant Robert Web page’s group have been relegated from their Nations League group with one level from six matches. In fact all that may imply nothing if they will progress from Group B into the knockout levels in Qatar. EA

Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring the objective in opposition to Ukraine that took Wales to the World Cup. {Photograph}: Gareth Everett/Huw Evans/Shutterstock

19) Morocco (up 2)

After the sacking of Vahid Halilhodzic in August – the second time the veteran supervisor has been sacked after qualifying for the World Cup – there’s a new optimism amongst Atlas Lions supporters. The recalled Hakim Ziyech starred in final Friday’s 2-0 win over Chile in entrance of 25,000 largely expat Moroccan followers at Espanyol’s floor earlier than Walid Regragui’s facet drew 0-0 with Paraguay. EA

20) Japan (up 5)

Stable performances within the 2-0 win in opposition to USA and a 0-0 draw with Ecuador may have given Hajime Moriyasu’s facet additional confidence earlier than a remaining warmup match in opposition to Canada in Dubai on 17 November. However with the mighty problem of getting to face Germany and Spain of their group, Japan will have to be extra medical to have an opportunity of reaching the knockout levels for the fourth time. EA

21) Ecuador (up 5)

No one has been left a lot the wiser by goalless attracts with Saudi Arabia and Japan, besides to conclude that Gustavo Alfaro’s group shouldn’t be relied on for fireworks. Enner Valencia would have illuminated the latter sport had he not missed from the penalty spot. Ecuador haven’t conceded of their previous 5 and might area wonderful younger gamers resembling Brighton’s Moises Caicedo however their toothlessness is a fear. NA

22) Mexico (down 3)

Hirving Lozano’s winner in opposition to Peru sparked hope that El Tri had seen the again of a poor run; optimism elevated after a scorching first half introduced a two-goal lead over Colombia. However Mexico ended up dropping 3-2 and the night was blighted additional by homophobic chanting within the Santa Clara crowd, which led proceedings to be paused within the 82nd minute. Enchancment is required rapidly each on and off the pitch. NA

Hirving Lozano celebrates after scoring for Mexico in opposition to Peru. {Photograph}: Omar Vega/Getty Pictures

23) USA (down 3)

Following up an abject efficiency in opposition to Japan of their 2-0 defeat final Friday with one other lacklustre show within the 0-0 draw in opposition to Saudi Arabia was hardly the perfect preparation for the World Cup and Gregg Berhalter continues to be looking for solutions in a number of key areas. At this fee, the US will face an enormous process to make it out of their group in Qatar. EA

24) Iran (down 1)

Carlos Queiroz was introduced again this month in an effort to recapture the highs of his earlier eight years in cost. A win over Uruguay and draw with Senegal, each contested in Austria, counsel it was the correct resolution. These matches have been performed to a backdrop of protests at house and Group Melli made a visual assertion in opposition to the repression of ladies earlier than dealing with the African champions. The ahead Sardar Azmoun made it clear he doesn’t worry repercussions. NA

25) Australia (up 6)

Again-to-back wins over New Zealand, the second with an experimental facet, have bred slightly extra optimism across the Socceroos however they nonetheless seem scratchy and the ultimate make-up of Graham Arnold’s squad stays anybody’s guess. The targets are hardly flowing, though Jason Cummings’ debut in opposition to the Kiwis was encouraging, and an absence of top-level expertise bodes ailing for important progress. NA

Australia’s Jason Cummings will get caught in in opposition to New Zealand. {Photograph}: Hannah Peters/Getty Pictures

26) South Korea (up 2)

South Korea certified convincingly below the previous Portugal coach Paulo Bento, successful seven and drawing two of 10 third-phase qualifiers, however type since has been combined, wins over Egypt and Chile rubbing alongside convincing reverses in opposition to Brazil and Japan. The latest unconvincing draw in opposition to Costa Rica and 1-0 win over Cameroon haven’t cleared the image. JW

27) Cameroon (down 5)

Two disappointing defeats in friendlies in opposition to Uzbekistan and South Korea is not going to have crammed Rigobert Music and his squad with confidence heading into the World Cup. Bryan Mbuemo made his debut in opposition to Uzbekistan after the Brentford ahead switched allegiance from France, and there was a return for the veteran defender Nicolas Nkoulou after 5 years in retirement since successful the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017. EA

28) Tunisia (down 4)

After three successive victories and a run of fresh sheets that stretched again to March, the 5-1 thrashing by Brazil on Tuesday on the Parc des Princes was a setback for a group who’ve constructed their latest success on defensive nous. However there’ll nonetheless be perception among the many Carthage Eagles squad that Jalel Kadri is moulding a group who might be able to springing a shock in a gaggle containing France and Denmark. EA

29) Ghana (down 2)

Whereas dropping 3-0 to Brazil was no embarrassment in a sport that featured Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey making his Black Stars debut off the bench, Ghana laboured to a 1-0 win over Nicaragua on Tuesday that highlighted their deficiencies in assault. However the addition of Athletic Bilbao’s Iñaki Williams – who made his first begin in opposition to Nicaragua – might make all of the distinction if he can settle in rapidly. EA

Ghana’s Iñaki Williams on the centre of the motion in opposition to Nicaragua. {Photograph}: Marcial Guillén/EPA

30) Qatar (-)

Will Qatar be the weakest host facet to seem at a World Cup? Their type presents a compelling argument. A 2-0 defeat by Canada in Vienna noticed them concede softly early on earlier than struggling to make an attacking impression; dropping 3-0 to Croatia’s Underneath-23s three days beforehand was even worse and, until they will discover a important impetus on house soil, it’s arduous to see them not bowing out early. NA

31) Costa Rica (down 2)

Eleven days in the past Jewison Bennette got here off the bench for Sunderland at Watford and scored the equaliser. Then he began for Costa Rica in opposition to South Korea and scored each targets in a 2-2 draw, his first strikes for his nation. He’s solely 18, and was omitted from Tuesday’s win over Uzbekistan, however already Bennette seems to be the nice hope of Costa Rican soccer, including a touch of finesse to an in any other case workaday facet. JW

32) Saudi Arabia (-)

Saudi Arabia had been grimly constant below Hervé Renard, the one coach ever to win the Africa Cup of Nations with two totally different international locations, dropping solely one in all their 10 third-phase group video games. Kind for the reason that begin of December, although, which included a gaggle stage exit within the Arab Cup, has been dreadful: two wins within the final 11, and simply 4 targets scored. JW

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