World Cup team performance summary at the end of the group stage, to see who’s been the best so far.

Visualisation of the World Cup End of Group Stage standing. Teams are ranked by tournament rank = points, goal difference, goals scored

Some Notes:

  • Uruguay did pretty well to get 6 points from a goal difference of 0.
  • Spain are the only seeded team (Pot A) to leave the tournament.
  • FIFA may be happy that 3 teams from each of the other pots (B,C,D) qualified.
  • Algeria were the set piece specialists – 3 set piece goals and a penalty, out of their 6 goal total.
  • The gods were perhaps with the Greeks. They managed to qualify without scoring a single open play goal and with a net goal difference of -2 (England returned just 1Pt from the same goal difference). They were good at hitting the woodwork through – doing this 4 times – more than any other team and twice as many times as the goals they actually scored.
  • Switzerland games have been great for goals, with 13 in 3 games, averaging at more than 4 a game. Top tip.
  • No Asian teams made it out of the group stage.
  • There is a cluster of crucial set piece goals around the mid-table teams.
  • Croatia put six onions in the proverbial bag but still didn’t qualify. Half the teams that qualified scored fewer goals!
  • Ecuador however may feel most hard done to. They scored the same points and better goal difference than Greece but still didn’t qualify.


In the figure, teams are ranked from top to bottom, by tournament end of group standing i.e points > goal difference > goals scored. Change in relative team position since the start of the tournament is also shown in colour, along with a breakdown of how goals were scored.

I’d planned to include some shot information, but then noticed a big discrepancy between FIFA and BBC numbers. Will do this analysis later if I can understand why the two are different.

Obviously the above ranking is done in the eyes of the tournament rules and doesn’t take into account the relative ease of the groups when ranking performance thus far. For example, a team that has beaten 3 good teams has arguably performed better than a team of similar rank, that has beaten 3 poor teams. The two would be ranked the same above. Weighting each result by standard of opposition (ranking), much like the official FIFA ranking points, is probably a better indicator. I’ll try to produce this comparison to follow.