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2,690 Posts
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Rank PR* Team

1 -- Argentina

So much talent it could probably put two teams together that would challenge for the title.

2 -- France

"Les Bleus" have dominated the world's game, winning the '98 World Cup and Euro 2000.

3 -- Italy

If Giovanni Trapattoni's side doesn't make the semifinals, its campaign will be deemed as a failure back home.

4 -- Brazil

Even with all their problems in qualifying, the Samba Kings can't be ruled out.

5 -- England

After an inspirational revival under Sven-Goran Eriksson, England is now a challenger for the title.

6 -- Portugal

The golden generation of Portuguese football finally gets a chance to showcase its skills.

7 -- Spain

The underachievers have the ingredients, but can Jose Antonio Camacho cook up the right meal?

8 -- Germany

For once, it isn't one of the top-five favorites to win the title, but the Germans tend to rise to the occasion.

9 -- Croatia

The stars who took a shocking third in '98 may be past their prime, but you can't ignore their experience.

10 -- Cameroon

The Olympic gold medalists were the first team to earn a berth through qualifying play -- their fourth straight.

11 -- Paraguay

In qualifying, it beat Brazil for the first time ever and it was the only country not to lose to Argentina.

12 -- Sweden

They finished third in '94 but missed out in '98; hard work and organization might not cut it in the Group of Death.

13 -- Denmark

They nearly stunned Brazil in '98 and they could surprise a few more people this time around.

14 -- Belgium

It is the first nation ever to actually qualify for six straight World Cups, having surprised the Czechs in a playoff

15 -- Ireland

Went undefeated in qualifying play, including two draws against Portugal and a 1-0 home win against Holland

(tie) -- Nigeria

The new football superpower won the '96 Olympic gold medal and qualified for a third straight World Cup.

(tie) -- Poland

The Polish showed no problems scoring in qualifying, becoming the first European side to clinch a berth.

18 -- Turkey

A surprise Euro 2000 quarterfinalist, it built on that success by making its first World Cup since 1954.

19 -- Uruguay

Came back to beat Australia in a playoff to make their 10th overall World Cup but their first in 12 years.

20 -- Russia

Vladimir Beschastnykh's eight goals helped them qualify for the second time since the end of the Soviet Union.

21 -- Japan

Philippe Troussier's side has earned the respect of the football community, and it has home-field advantage.

22 -- Mexico

A late qualifying surge earned a 12th World Cup berth, the most of any CONCACAF country.

23 -- Slovenia

It went undefeated through group play and a playoff with Romania to qualify for a first World Cup.

24 -- Ecuador

It beat Brazil and Paraguay and impressed throughout qualifying to make the finals for the first time ever.

25 -- United States

Fourth straight trip and seventh overall despite the sport's status as sixth or seventh most important.

26 -- Senegal

Sent shockwaves by beating top African teams to qualify, and then making the African Nations Cup final.

27 -- South Korea

The home-field advantage boosts Guus Hiddink's side, which has never won a World Cup game in six trips.

28 -- Costa Rica

Made second World Cup by winning CONCACAF with a record 23 points; advance to second round in 1990.

29 -- South Africa

Technical director Jomo Sono leads the side into its second World Cup after Carlos Queiroz quit in March.

30 -- Tunisia

Coach Henri Michel quit in March because of what he described as poor working conditions.

31 -- Saudi Arabia

Scored 43 goals in qualifying, the most of any nation, to make a third World Cup; finished 12th at USA '94.

32 -- China

Coach Bora Milutinovic aims to make the first-time qualifiers his fifth team to reach the second round.


36,402 Posts
9th isn't bad, but if we all agree that a quaterfinal berth for Croatia is certainly not out of the question, then it's pretty realistic.

Keyboard Hero
8,368 Posts
I'm with wolf on this one.

9th seems a little high this time around.

36,402 Posts
We could go to the semi's, but a quaterfinal berth is certainly not out of the question, given we play the way we played in the qualifiers (especially the Belgium game)

So if we storm through the group stage, we can handle anyone after that, with some luck and good football.

7,230 Posts
If we can make it out of the group stages we can be dangerous. I also thought 9th was a little high at first but when you look at the teams below us it isn't that unrealistic.

Although I am sick of people calling the team old!! :mad:

36,402 Posts
I know, I've seen so many say that Croatia is old etc. etc.

Our veterans arent even that old, Boksic is 31, Vlaovic 29 and Stanic 30, let's not mention the backline and some reserves.

Croatia's average age, including the 30+ players like Boka, Suker, Jarni, Prosinecki, was 27 years when added up. That's not an old team by any strech of the imagination.

212 Posts
I think its extremely optimistic but than again i cast my mind back to France 98 and anything is possible.

You look at Russia at 20 and that tells you that after the first 8 there there is minimal difference in quality with the countries ranked between 8 to 22 or so.Again Luck,injuries,suspensions will determine success in the tournament.

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