World Cup Power Rankings: England and Australia the big winners, Salah injury casts doubt on Egypt’s campaign – FIFA World Cup – Russia 2018
The Socceroos look to be taking on board Bert’s teachings but still face a daunting group in Russia. (AAP)
Australia, England and Peru were the winners in our World Cup Power Rankings after the latest round of warm-up matches, with the big showdown in Russia rapidly approaching.
England’s 2-1 win over Nigeria might not look all that dazzling on paper, but Gareth Southgate’s side were very impressive in seeing off the Super Eagles, with a disciplined performance and featuring some slick passing play.
Most importantly, Harry Kane showed he’s still in form with a nice goal.
With Croatia suffering a convincing loss to Brazil and Portugal churning out a couple of draws against Tunisia and Belgium, England moves up to eighth.
The Socceroos, too, strongly outperformed the teams around them at the lower end of the rankings with their thumping 4-0 win over the Czech Republic. The result may not be that important against a group of Czech players probably more focused on their upcoming holidays, but the match did show coach Bert van Marwijk is implementing his system well.
Bert’s boys move up to 28th, which is better going than where they started from a few weeks ago.
Matthew Leckie (L) celebrates his opening goal with team-mates against Czech Republic in Austria. (AP: Ronald Zak)
The bad news for Australia is that group opponents Peru have been ultra-impressive in the lead up to the Big Dance.
Their latest efforts saw them swat away Scotland 2-0 and Saudi Arabia 3-0, playing some sumptuous football along the way. They are now undefeated in their last 14 internationals, dating back to November, 2016. Gulp. They’ve zoomed all the way up to 17th.
Paolo Guerrero made an impact on his return from a doping ban, scoring twice in Peru’s win over Saudi Arabia. (AP / Keystone: Gian Ehrenzeller)
The biggest drop is for Egypt, who go down four places after draws with Kuwait and Colombia and, more importantly, the Sergio Ramos hatchet job on Mo Salah’s shoulder.
Salah is the undeniable focal point of the side, and the man who could turn their solid play into goals in Russia.
With him in doubt, the Egyptians are a much less daunting prospect. Expect them to soar back up the rankings if he can prove himself to be fit and firing as the tournament gets underway.
Right at the summit, the only change is star-studded France moving up to third after Germany’s loss to Austria. Would anyone be surprised if the current top four hogged the semi-finals spots come July?
Keep an eye on these Power Rankings throughout the World Cup as they get regular updates, and be sure to click through to read the latest on each team.