World Cup 2018: All 16 teams ranked according to their strength
After a fortnight of suspense and drama, we are down to the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2018. It has been unpredictable in the group stage, which saw a German disaster and an Argentine scare.
Many teams that came with high expectations had to struggle hard to find a way through, while some outsiders conquered the scene with a spirited performance. Forget all the pre-tournament favourites. All that matters is how they perform now.
Let us check out how the 16 teams rank according to their strength:
Japan qualified to the knock out stages from a very tough group, overcoming Senegal and Poland. They were tied with Senegal on points and goal difference and edged out on the fair play rule. However, they deserved to feature in the last 16 with the spirited performance they showcased.
They began their campaign with a surprise win over Columbia by two goals to one. It was the first time that Japan defeated a Latin American team in a world cup match. They carried their good form to the second match against Senegal where they fought for a 2-2 draw.
They lost to Poland by a goal to nil in their final group stage match to finish second on the table with 4 points. They have scored and conceded 4 goals in their three group stage matches. Collective work and energy shown on the pitch are the strengths of Japan.
This is an amazing result for the Samurai Blues considering they are ranked 61 in the world. They will face Belgium in their next encounter on Monday. Although it will not be an easy match for the Asians, they will be hoping for some heroics from their star players Kagawa and Honda.