Every team has their strengths and weaknesses. We’ll get straight to it. Here are 32 fun facts about the 32 nations in the World Cup. Maybe it’ll make you rethink how you expect the groups to shape up. All of this information can be found in our rankings or on various places around the site. Check it out.
Unless otherwise specified, when we refer to a record, it refers to the past 3 years of match data. We also lay out records in the format W-D-L.
Of course we know that we are manipulating statistics for personal gain, but it’s just more fun this way.
Brazil: Against teams ranked outside of our top 10, which all other Group A teams are, Brazil is 27-6-2. They’ve only lost one match to a team not on their home field. That team was fellow Group A member Mexico.
Croatia: One of the most drastic splits on record, Croatia is 1-4-8 against our Top 30 and 17-4-0 against teams outside our Top 30. Both Mexico and Brazil are in our Top 30.
Mexico: Mexico has played 19 consecutive friendlies in the USA or Mexico. 13 of their past 22 games have been in neutral venues, and they are 7-1-5 in those matches, but they are 0-0-3 against our top 20. Both Croatia and Brazil are in our Top 20.
Cameroon: Cameroon has played 7 matches against our Top 50. They are winless in those 7 matches, scoring just 5 goals against 14 allowed.
Spain: Against teams outside of our top 60, Spain is 12-0-0. They’ve scored 39 goals against just 4 allowed in those matches. We rank Australia #63.
Chile: In Chile’s past 15 matches, they are 15-3-2. The 5 teams they did not defeat we rank 1, 1, 2, 3, and 6.
Netherlands: In the past 2 years, against our top 20 teams, Holland is 0-4-4, scoring just 6 goals against 12 allowed. We rank Spain #3 and Chile #4.
Australia: Away from home, against our Top 25, Australia is 0-0-5, with 3 goals scored against 19 allowed. All 3 Group B opponents are in our Top 15.
Colombia: When not in an opponent’s home venue, Colombia has an ongoing 14 match unbeaten streak.
Greece: In the past 3 years, Greece has played 8 games against teams ranked between #16 and #37. They have not allowed a single goal in those matches. Both Ivory Coast and Japan fall in that range.
Ivory Coast: Against teams outside our Top 30, Ivory Coast is 23-7-0. We rank Japan #33.
Japan: Since last summer, Japan tried their luck in 11 consecutive friendlies against non-AFC competition. They went 7-1-3 in those matches, including a home win over Ghana and a road win over Belgium.
Uruguay: Played a remarkable 14 games against our Top 10, producing an unspectacular 4-3-7 record in those matches. The only other team in Group D we rank in the Top 10: England.
Italy: Collected just 6 points in 7 matches leading up to the World Cup, including 2 home draws against teams outside of our Top 65. Against Uruguay and England the past 3 years, Italy is 0-2-2.
England: Against teams #15 or worse, England is 16-10-1. Both Italy and Costa Rica are outside of our Top 15.
Costa Rica: Just a 1-2-5 record in their past 8 matches against non-CONCACAF opponents. Also have not defeated an opponent in our Top 15. Will likely have to to advance.
France: In their past 5 matches, have outscored opponents 17-1. But against CONMEBOL opponents have gotten just 3 points in their past 5.
Switzerland: Despite being a neutral country, has not played a match in a neutral location since World Cup 2010, during which they naturally went 1-1-1.
Ecuador: Has played every team in our Top 10 except for our #8 team. That would be France. But with just 2 wins in previous 14 matches, arguably the coldest team in the tournament. Average opponent rank in those 14 matches: a ridiculous 21.4
Honduras: 27 consecutive matches and almost 2 years without scoring more than 2 goals. In those same matches, Honduras has only allowed more than 2 goals just 3 times. Take the under.
Argentina: We have only 1 match on record with Argentina allowing more than 3 goals. That would be a 4-1 road drubbing at the hands of… Nigeria.
Bosnia-Herzegovina: A perfect 11-0-0 with 38 goals for and 3 allowed against teams outside our Top 50. We rank Iran #73.
Nigeria: Since becoming African Champions, are 0-5-4 against CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and UEFA opponents.
Iran: Have never played a team in our Top 50. In 4 games against teams ranked between 50 and 60, of which 3 took place in 2014, Iran has a total of 3 points. Argentina (5), Bosnia-Herzegovina (15) and Nigeria (27) will be by far the best opponents played in our database.
Germany: In their past 21 matches, Germany has 1 single loss. It came at the hands of the USA.
Portugal: In 4 of Portugal’s past 5 neutral matches, the teams have combined for 0 or 1 goal. You may need Ronaldo’s painted on abs to wake you from a snooze fest.
USA: Conversely, just 1 of the USA’s past 25 matches has ended in a goalless draw. Against teams ranked #19 or higher, the USA has allowed 25 goals in 10 matches, without a single clean sheet. Both Germany (#2) and Portugal (#11) fit the bill.
Ghana: Against the WGF Top 40, Ghana is 0-3-3. In those matches, however, they’ve allowed just 8 goals against. This includes holding Brazil, Chile and Netherlands to 1 goal each.
Belgium: Even moreso than Switzerland, have not taken a Belgian dip and played a match at a neutral venue since May 2009. Despite that, have a 5 match road win streak dating back over 18 months.
Russia: Talk about defense, Russia has allowed more than 1 goal to be scored against them just once in their past 37 matches. It appears the source of political tension has been revealed, as that was by the USA. In their 38th match, a team scored 2 on Russia. That team? Belgium.
Algeria: Undefeated in 2014, defeating all 3 UEFA opponents with 7 goals scored and just 2 against.
Korea Republic: Since the start of 2012, against our Top 75, Korea Republic is 3-2-13. Unfortunately, no teams in Group H are outside of the Top 75, where they are 9-3-0 over the same time period.