Top of the pile after embarrassing a full-strength Spain side: the current world and European champions – easily the result of the round. From three to five at the back, it isn’t quite total football, but will keep even the best teams guessing.
Miss out on the top spot only because their win was against 10 men. Should now steamroll the group and likely to face a relatively weak Group H runner-up in last-16, and France in the quarter-finals. An easy draw. Who needs strikers anyway?
A new age for Les Bleus: only three of the team that thrashed Honduras played in 2010. Didn’t appear to miss Franck Ribéry and have arguably the easiest route to the quarter finals than any other team. Karim Benzema is on top form.
Beat Costa Rica and the Azzurri all but progress from the group. Whisper it, but the early pessimism surrounding their chances echoes that of 2006. The return of Mario Balotelli’s mojo and Gianluigi Buffon may be back for the upcoming games.
Remains the most frightening attack but signs against Bosnia-Herzegovina that their defence could come unstuck – surely Lionel Messi cannot bail them out every match. Or can he? The manager, Alejandro Sabella, still does not appear to know if 5-3-2 or 4-3-3 works best.
Could not have hoped for a better start with their biggest ever World Cup win in a relatively weak group. Radamel Falcao may be absent but they celebrated their goals with a togetherness that usually carries a team deep into the competition. Greece, in fairness though, were desperately poor.
No injuries (apart from Arturo Vidal but he is on the mend), no suspensions and three points on the board. A tough group but likely only to need a draw against Spain to qualify and have a counter-attacking game not dissimilar from the Dutch technique which tore the Spanish apart.
A win and a draw, even if they have been more laboured than fans would have hoped for. Home advantage means they remain the bookies’ favourites but Chile or Spain are likely last-16 opponents while Hulk remains an injury doubt and Fred out of form and out of touch.
Despite a heavy defeat to Holland, only a fool would write off the holders and European champions, who also lost their opening game on their way to victory four years ago. The strongest squad in the tournament means that Vicente del Bosque’s promised changes should not weaken them against Chile.
Sneaking inside the top 10 despite defeat in their opening match as they showed glimpses of brilliance against Brazil, only to be undone by refereeing decisions. Luka Modric has not trained because of a foot injury but should recover in time for Cameroon, while Mario Mandzukic returns from suspension.
An opening victory followed by an impressive performance against the hosts has put Mexico in a decent position ahead of their final crunch match against Croatia, all without conceding a goal in the tournament so far, mainly due to the brilliance of Guillermo Ochoa in goal.
Belgium deserved their win against Algeria even if the performance did not always live up to the high standards expected of one of the more favoured European teams at the tournament. A reasonably easy group on paper should see them progress. Eden Hazard was relatively quiet in the opening game but has the potential to be one of the stars.
A defeat, but at least England looked like a team that wanted to reinvent itself, with Raheem Sterling key to the freshness. A nervy week ahead for Roy Hodgson: Thursday’s opponents Uruguay looked vulnerable in their opener, but Costa Rica may yet provide an unwelcome sting in the tail.
14) Costa Rica
Jorge Luis Pinto’s side shocked Uruguay in their first game but it was not as if they did not thoroughly deserve their victory. After a quiet first half they exploded in the second half with Joel Campbell the outstanding performer. May struggle against Italy but could well draw or even beat England in their last group game.
15) Ivory Coast
A crucial win against a difficult opponent has put Sabri Lamouchi’s team in a strong position in Group C. Lamouchi was brave enough to start Didier Drogba, still not fully recovered from injury, on the bench and has hinted that Wilfried Bony will keep his place up front. Ivory Coast has quality in every department.
A magnificent win, but with Jozy Altidore looking like he could miss the rest of the tournament, Jürgen Klinsmann’s decision to leave Landon Donovan out looks costly. USA’s defence, where Matt Besler is struggling with an injury, must again be on top form if they are to stop Germany and Portugal and progress.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side were lethargic at times in their opening game against Ecuador but it feels as if this is a more attack-minded Swiss team than four years ago. The front players – Xherdan Shaquiri, Granit Xhaka and Josip Drmic to name three – have speed, trickery and youthful exuberance in abundance. Likely to progess together with France.
18) South Korea
The South Koreans, under the shrewd guidance of Hong Myung-bo, were on top for large spells against the Russians and in, Han Kook-young , have one of the up and coming players of their continent. “The condition of players and organisation of team was good,” Hong said after the game – and what more can you ask for?
The Bosnians played well against Lionel Messi’s Argentina and arguably deserved to draw the game. Miralem Pjanic’s performance was one of the best in the opening round of games and, with Nigeria and Iran coming up, Bosnia should be hopeful of progressing.
Fabio Capello’s side bounced back from Igor Akinfeev’s horrible mistake to draw their opening game but it was a pretty lifeless performance. Belgium and Algeria are next up: Capello, with his massive salary, could be looking at an early exit.
A nightmare start for Portugal, losing Pepe to suspension and Fábio Coentrão and Hugo Almeida to injury. But don’t write them off yet: beat Ghana and USA (who suffered their own injuries in the opening game), as they still should with a fit-again Cristiano Ronaldo, and they are through.
What a disappointing opening performance by Uruguay, encapsulated by Maxi Pereira’s late and ugly kick on Joel Campbell. They have bounced back before, of course, and did so during the World Cup qualifying, and may have a certain striker back against England.
Japan took an early lead against Ivory Coast but were disappointing in the end. Alberto Zaccheroni’s side defended too deeply and, once the opponents had thrown on Didier Drogba and switched to 4-4-2, were overrun in the end. Progressing now will be very difficult.
Reinaldo Rueda’s side were somewhat unlucky to lose to a late Swiss goal in a helter-skelter end to their opening game. Jefferson Montero and Antonio Valencia played well in the wide positions but they may need a result against France now to go through.
Ghana will be kicking themselves after losing their first game despite Andre Ayew scoring an 82nd-minute equaliser. Predictably, reports of a player revolt soon emerged but that has now been denied by the Ghana Football Association.
Vahid Halilhodzic’s side did everything that could have been asked of them against Belgium but still ended up on the losing side. The coach was furious about a foul in the build-up to Belgium’s winning goal but will have been heartened by his side’s performance and espcially that of the excellent Sofiane Feghouli.
Hopes were high in Nigeria before the Iran game but all that positivism evaporated within 90 insipid minutes against a defensively well-organised Iran side. All Nigeria’s attack-minded players were disappointing and Stephen Keshi has a huge job on his hands now. They had to win that game.
Arguably the weakest side at the tournament, Carlos Queiroz’s team must be given credit for the way they battled for a draw against the African Cup of Nations champions. But with Argentina and Bosnia to come, do not expect this stubbornness to last.
The Indomitable Lions proved anything but against Mexico and were lucky not to have lost by more after a couple of dodgy offside decisions. Samuel Eto’o’s knee injury rules him out for the Croatia game and without their talisman and captain, Cameroon look set for an early exit.
There was nothing that was good about Honduras’s opening game. They were poor and they were far too physical and in the end France were lucky to escape without any serious injuries. Wilson Palacios is suspended for the next game against Ecuador.
Deep divisions exist with both the manager and captain scathing of the team’s “ridiculous” performance against Colombia. With an out-of sorts forward line, they already look doomed.
Less than convincing in qualifying for the tournament, the Socceroos showed some encouraging glimpses against Chile but were ultimately well beaten. With the prospect of Holland and Spain still to come, it is all but certain Australia are heading home next week.