With the first round of matches over, our assessment of each of the 32 teams, ranking them by their likelihood to win the World Cup
32. Costa Rica
Pretty wretched. Passed through with ease, little signs of life up front, could not seem to decide if they should stand off or crowd round Spain but got nowhere near them.
Woeful on opening night against Ecuador, with a depressing number of passes going astray. Seems inevitable they will join South Africa as the only hosts to exit own World Cup at group stage.
You only need to look at the clubs their players represent to know this is not a particularly strong squad. No great shame in losing to France, must beat Tunisia next.
Below their best against England rather than merely bad. Time will tell if England made them look that way or if expectation they would be tough opponents was overstated.
Pushed back for long periods by a Mexico side not expected to pull up any trees. Robert Lewandowski could not get into the game and they missed their chance to nick it with his penalty.
Obstinate and well-organised in defence but that was about it. Still yet to concede under manager Walid Regragui, although 0-0 against Croatia was only his fourth game in charge.
A bit of a throwback. All balls into the channels and tireless running from striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Look a decent finisher short of relevance.
Highly committed to hold Denmark, with the promise of a sting in the tail up front at times. Will need a result against Australia next, as their final game is against France.
23. Saudi Arabia
High line frustrated one of the tournament favourites. Roared back to win with stunning goal. Will go down as one of the most thrilling results of this or any other World Cup.
Could not find a way through against Poland despite dominating possession. Hard to see who will emerge as their penetrative threat.
The unluckiest losers in opening round of games? Energetic, inventive and committed in frequent moments of exposure at the back. Richie Laryea’s last-ditch slide tackle to deny Michy Batshuayi was particularly wonderful.
A concerning first half against USA, a rousing second. Kieffer Moore made the difference and must start against Iran.
19. South Korea
Prodded away at Uruguay but tired towards the end and were a touch fortunate to hang on for a point. Must work out how to get Son Heung-min more involved.
Impressively steely with Enner Valencia potent up front. Could be awkward opponents for somebody in the round of 16 (possibly England) but tough to judge on basis of game against Qatar.
Some semi-serious talk they have blend of youth and experience to challenge for the title, but not on the evidence of a drab draw with South Korea. Looked better with Edinson Cavani up top than Luis Suarez.
An impressive defensive performance for an hour against Brazil, with a clear threat from set pieces. Could bloody a few noses.
Toiled rather against Morocco and could not find the breakthrough but should have more joy in next game against Canada, if John Herdman’s side play as openly as they did against Belgium.
Looked a wise choice as a dark horse, but did not come through match against Cameroon giving much hope to anyone who has them backed at long odds.
Played with pace and poise against Wales but lacked stamina and wherewithal to see it out. Youthful exuberance is in their favour, but England game on Friday will set the tone for their tournament.
Part disappointing, part unfortunate against Tunisia, who disrupted their plan. Were one bad miss away from a goal and one Var disagreement away from a penalty.
Went behind to Germany but fought back valiantly for fabulous win. Should give this team the confidence they have occasionally lacked.
The final African team to play, the first to score. Unfortunate losers in minor classic against Portugal and look likely to give remaining group stage opponents problems.
Froze horribly against Saudi Arabia. Surely talent is there to bounce back and escape from group? Equally, better teams have made a mess of two games and found themselves dumped out.
Bossed first half against Japan, wilted in the second. A less concerning shock defeat than Argentina’s, but theirs is a weaker squad than Messi and co. Need a big response in next game against… Spain. Gulp!
A win but several worries for Roberto Martinez. The defending was frequently shoddy, Kevin de Bruyne failed to sparkle and they were unsettled by an energetic but limited Canada.
Finished strongly and passed well against Senegal but ball retention suggested they could come unstuck against stronger opposition. Frenkie de Jong is a cut above and Memphis Depay potent off the bench.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed chances, won a penalty, scored it then had a small strop on the bench. Time to hand over to Joao Felix as this team’s leader. Room for improvement, but an encouraging start.
Vibrant and relentless in attack with the sublime Jude Bellingham pulling the strings in statement win against Iran. Should go far, but defence remains a slight worry.
Ominous. Vinicius Jr and Richarlison are a combo which will take some stopping. Toiled to break down an obstinate Serbia, after a glorious second they started having some fun.
The most aesthetically pleasing performance of the tournament so far, lines broken and perfect passes found at will. Gavi justified the hype. Sterner tests than Costa Rica surely await.
Some teams had bigger wins, but it was the manner of France’s 4-1 win which puts them top of the pile. Went behind early then methodically dismantled Australia. Kylian Mbappe looked especially frightening.