Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: Top 5 Teams Eliminated in the Group Stage

2014 World Cup: Top 5 Teams Eliminated in the Group Stage

Italy v Uruguay: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
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Soccer can be a cruel sport, especially at a World Cup, when one little mistake can be the difference between going home and advancing. With the Group Stage over at the 2014 World Cup, 16 teams are advancing and 16 teams are heading home, but that doesn’t mean that the 16 teams going home haven’t played well. Here are five teams that played well, but just didn’t have enough to go through.

5. England

Uruguay v England: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
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5. England

Uruguay v England: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
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England leaves Brazil with just a single point, but they played much better than that. They looked quite dangerous while on the attack, but they were just unable to finish opportunities, which kept them from getting positive results. Defensively, England has a lot of work to do going forward, but they did show off some promising young attacking players during this World Cup, and they should feel encouraged by that.

4. Japan

Shinji Kagawa looks disappointed after Japan draw with Greece
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4. Japan

Shinji Kagawa looks disappointed after Japan draw with Greece
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The Japanese gave a good performance, but they just didn't get the results they needed. They let one get away against the Ivory Coast and then failed to breakthrough against Greece, putting them in a tough position in their final match against Colombia. It wouldn't have been a shock to see them advance, but they just didn't finish their opportunities well enough to get out of the group.

3. Bosnia-Herzegovina

Slovakia v Bosnia-Herzegovina - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier
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3. Bosnia-Herzegovina

Slovakia v Bosnia-Herzegovina - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier
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The World Cup debutants had a good showing despite being knocked out with a game to spare. They fought hard in a tight game against Argentina and then were robbed of a point against Nigeria in a game that could have kept them alive heading into their final match. They did get their first World Cup win before leaving Brazil, and they're definitely a nation to watch in future tournaments.

2. Ivory Coast

Greece Ivory Coast World Cup
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2. Ivory Coast

Greece Ivory Coast World Cup
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The Elephants had one foot in the Round of 16 before a controversial penalty knocked them out. They could have done more to secure their spot in the next round, as they let opportunities slip through their fingers, but when they got going, the Ivory Coast definitely looked like a team that belonged in the Knockout Stage.

1. Italy

Italy v Uruguay: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
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1. Italy

Italy v Uruguay: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
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Were the Italians so stunned by Luis Suarez biting another player (again) that they gave up the goal that knocked them out? We'll never know for sure, but the Italians were 10 minutes from advancing, but instead they go home after the Group Stage for the second consecutive World Cup, which is simply astounding. This was a far cry from the world champions of 2006, but this Italy team certainly looked good enough to advance, but failed to do so.