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This was the 2018 World Cup.
One of the best in recent history, crowned by an epic final between France and Croatia. A period of introspection surely follows now, with millions of football fans around the world figuring out what to do with themselves now that it's over.
For the last time, we have ranked the 32 competing nations in strength, their challenge for the trophy and how strongly they impressed. There are natural segmentations in the order; for example, those who left in the groups were between 17 and 32, and those who lost in the 16 are between the ninth and the 16.
1 of 15  Ian MacNicol / Getty Images  32. Panama
Panama's goals ahead of the World Cup will have been extremely modest: listening to its national anthem finally played in the final, scoring a goal, making a nation proud. It is possible that they have lost all the games, but they achieved all three of those goals.
Even with Mohamed Salah at half speed, few Egyptians (if any) expected to lay an egg in Group A. Losing to Saudi Arabia in the last minute of his last game, he summarized the disaster that caused his tournament. out to be.
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30. Costa Rica
Costa Rica bravely defended and took good form from goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but with a complete lack of Avant-garde presence at the other extreme, they were never going to be able to go by blow with Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia.
29. Saudi Arabia
Little was expected from Saudi Arabia in these finals, particularly after its heartbreaking opening screen against Russia, but things improved remarkably from that moment . They played well in the defeat against Uruguay and squeezed a deserved final triumph of Egypt.
Tunisia was an interesting watch because they did things differently. Most of the parties that faced the talent gap shrank in their projectiles and played it safe, however the Águilas de Cartago played at full throttle, attacking football and leaving empty spaces for opponents to take advantage of.
They were deservedly defeated by England and Belgium. but won a victory against Panama in Game 3.
The Icelandic campaign felt similar to that of Costa Rica. They defended themselves with courage and put their bodies on the line, but the lack of talent puts a natural handbrake on how far they can go. With the opponents ready for what they could do (thanks to Euro 2016), their limits were clearly shown.
How can a campaign that started with such a stunning qualifying race go as badly as Poland did in the final? The performances that served, considering the quality available to Adam Nawalka, were almost incredible.
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Australia was much better than many expected. The emergency coach, Bert van Marwijk, installed a frame and solidity in his game that made them competitive in each group game.
His fall was decisive; the only two that managed were from the place. People like Andrew Nabbout and Robbie Kruse worked hard in the open game, but did not meet the quality criteria.
Morocco was an absolute delight to see and probably deserved more than the solitary point they achieved. They pressed, they pbaded well, they dribbled aggressively and they entertained us all.
If all the great opportunities had not fallen to the central Medhi Benatia.
It is becoming very easy to believe that there is indeed a curse in play in the World Cup final. Germany became the third consecutive country to continue winning the tournament by leaving in the group stage next time, with Spain and Italy opening the way to them.
They seemed an absolute strategic disaster, putting pressure on the centrals. in a rather regretful way, and were punished accordingly.
Nigeria's opening performance was a real surprise, but a change of formation for Game 2 brought a much better performance and a victory.
They only needed a draw against Argentina in the third game to advance and not be able to handle it, but it is clear that there is a lot to build and work to advance in this Super Eagles team.
Like Morocco, Peru caught many casual fans in the course of the group stage thanks to its stimulating style and attack.
It was a shame to lose their first match against Denmark, a result that everyone but eliminated, but kept their heads up and their eyes focused, scoring and winning Game 3 for the delight of a stadium full of white and red supporters .
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Jean Catuffe / Getty Images  20. South Korea
Sentenced before a ball was kicked, South Korea did well to get out of a horrible group with three points. Of all the teams, Germany was the one who surrendered them.
Artists of three stars emerged, one predictable (Son Heung-min), the others not so much (Kim Young-gwon and Jo Hyeon-woo).
Attracted towards a terror group of its own, which includes Spain, Portugal and the selection of dark horses from many villages in Morocco, Iran did a great job to get four points.
Carlos Queiroz's tactics were ingenious, hamper Morocco and almost embarrbad Portugal, and the team fought impressively in a close defeat against Spain.
It's fair to say that we expected more from Serbia, that we had a fit forward (Aleksandar Mitrovic), a real differentiator (Sergej Milinkovic-Savic) and a solid six back in the tournament.  The key game was always going to be against Switzerland, and losing that in the final minutes essentially knocked them out in Game 2. We only saw a good Milinkovic-Savic game, and Mitrovic missed many opportunities. 
The first team to be eliminated from the World Cup by fair play points. Remember Senegal, since they are the answer to a test question that is coming soon.
What happened to them felt hard, particularly given the sporadic glow of their game, but when you try to drop points the way they did, elimination is hard to avoid.
Things went as badly as could be expected for Argentina.
It was always likely that they would emerge from the group – the star quality shown meant at least as much as could be expected – but they are too dysfunctional a side to face good and organized opponents. France showed them the door with a certain style.
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Japan became the second team of many fans. They played good, fast and technical football with a smile on their face, and Takashi Inui and Gaku Shibasaki stood out in the midfield for the right reasons.
They almost achieved what would have been one of the surprises of the tournament, but they surrendered a two-goal lead to Belgium. Considering the foggy circumstances that accompanied his arrival in Russia (his manager was fired in April), you can not smell what the Samurai Blue achieved.
From the perspective of the whole team, Portugal's performances were not good. Cristiano Ronaldo dragged them through the thriller with Spain, and in the next three games they only impressed William Carvalho and Pepe regularly.
The inability to build pbading plays and the bad form of players like Raphael Guerreiro and Bernardo Silva contributed to a round-out of -16.
For Denmark to progress beyond what they did-the round of 16-they needed Christian Eriksen to have a world-clbad game in each game. A solid defense can only go so far if it lacks its offensive production; they only scored three goals in four games, none of them came from a striker.
Those who suggested that the departure of Julen Lopetegui the day before the start of the tournament would not affect Spain, which were simply a self-conscious, football machine, were wrong . Substitute coach Fernando Hierro seemed lost on the sideline when his side pbaded himself to death and then lost in penalties against Russia.
Switzerland emerged as a team that had the mettle and qualities to disrupt good teams, but when they were tasked to play against teams it was badumed that to win, to dominate, they fell short. .
Their elimination at the hands of Sweden was a surprise to many, but they showed their limitations in possession and attack.
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FABRICE COFFRINI / Getty Images
The Colombian World Cup was pure chaos From the beginning (Carlos Sanchez's red card three minutes into the game against Japan) to the foul-athon they did his round of 16 meetings with England, things never seemed to have complete control.
James Rodriguez's injury affected his tournament greatly, and they really did well to win victories in the group. The strange substitutions of Jose Pekerman prevented them to a certain extent, as well as their approach.
Despite reaching the elimination stage in difficult circumstances, this is probably a tournament to forget for Los Cafeteros.
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Perhaps the World Cup in Mexico reached an aggressive peak early and then slid down the wrong path.
It started with an epic victory over Germany, it continued with a solid victory over South Korea, but then it came out spectacularly wrong in Game 3.  The almost inexplicable 3-0 defeat against Sweden threw them off the railing, and there was little faith that the course would be straightened in the round of 16 against Brazil. It is a pity that they have fallen apart; They were one of the best sides to look at.
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Sweden's world record for the World Cup was not good, and the feeling was that they might have difficulty climbing from a difficult group.
That feeling was aggravated by his last defeat against Germany in Game 2, which took Die Mannschaft to their level in three points with very different final games on the cards.
But a spectacular three The goal he showed against Mexico, out of nowhere, paved the way for the knockouts, and a solid performance against Switzerland led them to the quarterfinals.
It's more than most Swedes expected, and certain players: Ludwig Augustinsson and Andreas Granqvist in particular, were among the best in their positions throughout the tournament.
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Matthew Ashton – AMA / Getty Images
Russia did much, much better than anyone expected in this World Cup.
Before the tournament, many gave them a group start, a rare phenomenon for a host, but they collected six points, advanced to knockouts and even shocked Spain in the round of 16.
Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov , Roman Zobnin, Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba … there were quality interpreters in every area of the field.
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Uruguay ran out of strength. As strong as they are, each game feels like a fight, a fight, and without Edinson Cavani they simply did not have enough to beat France in the quarterfinals.
It was an important tournament for the "new generation" of La Celeste "The old war horses were abandoned, which allowed Diego Laxalt, Lucas Torreira and Rodrigo Bentancur to enter, shine and point the way forward."
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Brazil could have left earlier than anticipated, but pleasantly, the fine lines in football have been recognized this time.
Their elimination at the hands of Belgium was quite unfortunate , and the work that Tite has done to bring Selecao to the position where they are strongest side in CONMEBOL, playing well and (to a large extent) getting the best of their best players, has been recognized.
Ronaldo is among a cast of people who ask him to keep his work and continue this project, by Globo (h / t Meta).
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The autopsy of the campaign of seven Inglater games ra has been led by many, each one arriving at slightly different conclusions.
Accusations that did not beat a strong team are balanced by those who target t or the players Gareth Southgate is working with.
Everyone agrees that England was a great success, maybe had some luck, but although football did not come home, it was in fourth place, this campaign did wonders with the reconnection of a nation with its team .
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He can not help feeling that if Belgium had lost to England in their last group match, managing to get to the easier side of the draw, & # 39; I qualified for the final of the World Cup. Then, who knows? We could talk about the Red Devils as world champions.
They showed that they are one level or two above England in the tiebreaker in third place, taking an early lead and sealing the result late after defending against a period of pressure. Eden Hazard rounded out a brilliant tournament with style, scoring the second.
The triumph ensured the best performance of Belgium in a World Cup final.
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Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images  That Croatia did an excellent job to reach the final, and that they played magnificently despite losing, are points that will be lost in the players and the manager at this time. It will take a while to overcome the disappointment of falling into the last obstacle, but over time, they will look back with pride at their adventure.
They won the midfield battle against France, forcing N & # 39; Golo Kante to enter their worst game in years, and emphasized both sides of France's formation. They rushed and harbaded-Ivan Perisic led a committed, high-energy performance-but they could not find the golden touch often enough.
It was a tournament that delighted and moved, but ended in tears. It feels a little hard on Croatia, but they just did not have enough in the tank for a final victory.
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They did not play particularly well in the final. They made mistakes. Your best player had a surprise. His archer produced a howler of epic proportions.
But they found a way to win. France is world champion.
Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe scored dazzling goals, Antoine Griezmann calmed down and stood out from set pieces, and defenders continued to work to block Croatia's threat of attack.
Over the course of the tournament, France has felt like the strongest side, the likely winners. It worked that way, although the road was much rockier than expected.
All statistics through WhoScored.com .