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June 16, 2010 at 4:21 PM

World Cup power rankings — after the first round of matches

So each team down in South Africa has played at least one game — the hosts and Uruguay have played two. Here is how I rank ’em based on how good they’ve been and how good I think they are…

* * *

1. Germany (beat Australia 4-0) — superb, the only team that really hasn’t showed any flaws so far

2. Brazil (beat N. Korea 2-1) — like many of the powers, showed well but finished poorly in opener

3. Argentina (beat Nigeria 1-0) — only a phenomenal effort by the Nigerian GK stopped a blowout

4. Holland (beat Denmark 2-0) — no real size or strength up front hurts, Robben would help

5. Spain (lost to Switzerland 1-0) — uh oh, my preseason fav showed its underachieving form

6. England (tied U.S.A. 1-1) — Green blunder ruined a defensive effort that didn’t allow many chances

7. Ivory Coast (tied Portugal 0-0) — the result is one thing, but seeing Drogba play? very encouraging

8. Chile (beat Honduras 1-0) — I have to highly rate my pre-tournament sleeper pick right?

9. Ghana (beat Serbia 1-0) — no Michael Essien, no problem… though its opponent was overrated

10. Italy (tied Paraguay 1-1) — defending champs are closer to the pack’s middle than the elite

11. U.S.A. (tied England 1-1) — gritty draw against the group favorite, but now results are expected

12. Portugal (tied Ivory Coast 0-0) — looked remarkably tame, especially C-Ron, could be in trouble

13. Switzerland (beat Spain 1-0) — Nkufo-led Swiss have the top upset so far, defense looks very good

14. S. Korea (beat Greece 2-0) — one of the nice surprises of the 1st round with a comprehensive win

15. Uruguay (tied France 0-0, beat S. Africa 3-0) — lethargic start was evened out by a dominant win

16. Mexico (tied S. Africa 1-1) — probably deserved the victory and will need to work to advance

17. France (tied Uruguay 0-0) — always disappoint, so a stalemate shouldn’t have been a huge shock

18. Japan (beat Cameroon 1-0) — Keisuke Honda could emerge as the unforeseen star of the event

19. Paraguay (tied Italy 1-1) — in great shape to advance after a hard-fought tie and Slovakia draw

20. Serbia (lost to Ghana 1-0) — another vastly overrated team (by me) looked nothing like expected

21. Denmark (lost to Holland 2-0) — next two games against Japan/Cameroon are winnable & losable

22. Cameroon (lost to Japan 1-0) — huge disappointment, a quarterfinal pick for me is in trouble now

23. N. Korea (lost to Brazil 2-1) — very resilient in the back, and who couldn’t love F Jong Tae-Se

24. Slovenia (beat Algeria 1-0) — one win down & a guarantee against the U.S., not lacking confidence

25. Nigeria (lost to Argentina 1-0) — GK Enyeama was great in defeat, but he’ll need help to advance

26. Slovakia (tied New Zealand 1-1) — probably deserved better against the Kiwis, in trouble now

27. S. Africa (tied Mexico 1-1, lost to Uruguay 3-0) — inspired in opener, but looked awful in game No. 2

28. Greece (lost to S. Korea 2-0) — another overrated disappointment, far removed from recent years

29. New Zealand (tied Slovakia 1-1) — stole a point with Reid’s heroics, tourney already a success?

30. Algeria (lost to Slovenia 1-0) — made two awful mistakes, can they keep it close against the Brits?

31. Honduras (lost to Chile 1-0) — CONCACAF boys didn’t show well, relying too much on aging vets

32. Australia (lost to Germany 4-0) — suffered the embarrassing result of the tourney, are they that bad?

* * *

This was an incredibly difficult task, let me know what you think…


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