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Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: Top 10 Teams Heading Into Final Round of Group Play

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2014 World Cup: Top 10 Teams Heading Into Final Round of Group Play

Spain v Netherlands Robin van Persie
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There are two things that the 2014 World Cup is definitely not lacking: goals and surprises. There's been more than enough scoring, and plenty of surprise results and performances. The teams we expected to dominate haven't, while some teams that we had written off have performed well. With each team playing two matches, here are the 10 teams that have played the best.

10. Belgium

Belgiun national team
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10. Belgium

Belgiun national team
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It's tough to argue with results, as Belgium has two wins, but for a supposed dark horse to win the tournament, they haven't looked that impressive. That being said, when they needed to step up and score a goal, they showed that they have the players that can do that, but they'll want to put together a quality 90 minutes in their final group game before they face off against one of the survivors from the Group of Death in the next round.

9. Argentina

Iran Argentina Leo Messi World Cup
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9. Argentina

Iran Argentina Leo Messi World Cup
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It's been a rather lackluster six points for Argentina, who are perhaps one brilliant moment from Lionel Messi and one great save away from being in a tough spot. Argentina has already secured passage to the Knockout Stage, where they have a player in Messi that can put the team on his back, but as a whole they've looked quite unimpressive through the first two games.

8. Mexico

Ochoa Brazil Mexico World Cup
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8. Mexico

Ochoa Brazil Mexico World Cup
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El Tri got a herculean effort from Guillermo Ochoa to earn a point against Brazil, and without that performance Mexico doesn't look quite as good, but they've played well during their first two games, especially for a team that was lucky to qualify. They stand a good chance of advancing if they can play against Croatia the way they played against Cameroon and Brazil.

7. Brazil

Neymar Brazil
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

7. Brazil

Neymar Brazil
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

Brazil has been far from a dominating force in this tournament, as the hosts haven't exactly stood out in their first two games. But they were unlucky to not to get three points against Mexico, and they have one game left before the Knockout Stage to get their act together and start playing like a team that's capable of winning this tournament.

6. Colombia

Colombia v Greece: Group C - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
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6. Colombia

Colombia v Greece: Group C - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
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If goal celebrations were a factor, Colombia would be No. 1, but they're still playing well, putting together a convincing 3-0 win over Greece and knocking off a talented Ivory Coast team. This may finally be Colombia's time to make an impact on the world stage, as they have quality players all over the field and look like a threat to make a deep run.

5. Costa Rica

Costa Rica celebrate victory over Italy
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5. Costa Rica

Costa Rica celebrate victory over Italy
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The Ticos are definitely the biggest surprise of the tournament, but the so-called minnows from CONCACAF are for real after beating both Uruguay and Italy. They step on the field with great confidence and they play like they belong, unafraid to be the aggressor. Costa Rica can play with any team in this tournament, and there's no telling how far they'll be able to go to keep this Cinderella story alive.

4. Germany

Miroslav Klose Ghana Germany World Cup
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4. Germany

Miroslav Klose Ghana Germany World Cup
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Germany looked as good as possible after their first match, but they took a step back after their usual second-game slide. That being said, a draw against a desperate Ghana team is nothing to be ashamed of, and barring a complete disaster against the U.S. they should advance to the Knockout Stage, and as of right now they remain one of the top contenders to win the tournament.

3. Chile

Chile Spain World cup history
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3. Chile

Chile Spain World cup history
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Chile looked promising after its opening match, but dominating Spain in the manner that they did really opened some eyes. They are playing great soccer, and they look supremely confident playing on their home continent, which could propel them deep into the tournament if they can continue to play at such a high level.

2. Netherlands

Netherlands v Ghana - International Friendly
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2. Netherlands

Netherlands v Ghana - International Friendly
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The Dutch got a scare against Australia, and while they didn't look overly impressive in that game, they did what they needed to do to get three points. More importantly, they obliterated Spain in their opening game, and the goal-scoring tandem of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie is playing well, and that's enough to make the Netherlands one of the tournament's most impressive teams thus far, and a leading favorite to win the whole thing.

1. France

France Switzerland World Cup
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1. France

France Switzerland World Cup
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Heading into the World Cup, Switzerland giving up five goals in the entire tournament would have been a shock, much less allowing five in one game, but France did just that. Granted, they are in one of the weakest groups, but the French have been a revelation offensively, and if the Swiss defense can't stop them, there may not be many teams in this tournament that can.