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Stock rising, falling: Which World Cup sides are heading in opposite directions?

Jul 15, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT

clint_dempsey_usa AP

After the World Cup ended on Sunday, all 32 teams have now returned home after a sizzling summer of soccer.

Many are experiencing contrasting emotions at the moment.

[ RELATED: Story of the 2014 World Cup ]

Plenty of sides under-performed in Brazil, but plenty of teams overachieved too.

Here we take a look at three teams whose stock is on the rise after their World Cup performances, plus three teams who return with their tails in-between their legs.

Momentum means a lot in soccer. Let’s see who has got it.

Top 10 goals | PST’s best XI | Story of the WC | Top moments  | Grades


USA – With Jurgen Klinsmann’s side getting out of the “Group of Death” they could do no wrong heading into the knockout stages. A brave battle against Belgium resulted in defeat, but there was plenty to be positive about. Key players like Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey came up big when it mattered, while youngsters DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green showed they are stars of the future. An entire nation is hopeful ahead off Russia 2018, as the U.S. gained plenty of respect from around the globe for their gritty performances. The next two summers provide a good chance for more tournament experience, as the Gold Cup and Copa America Centenario await.

FRANCE – The French lost 1-0 to eventual champions Germany in the quarterfinals and were so close to sending the game into extra time with the final attack. Didier Deschamps’ side stumbled into the World Cup via the UEFA playoffs, but left Brazil with everyone raving about their potential to lift the European Championships on home soil in 2016. Raphael Varane (despite being bullied by Mats Hummels for the deciding goal in the quarters) impressed, Paul Pogba won the Young Player of the Tournament award and the duo of Karim Benzema and Matheiu Valbuena were live-wires up top.

NETHERLANDS – Dutch courage prevailed, as the Oranje produced some superb soccer and went for broke in Brazil. Louis van Gaal’s side smashed Spain 5-1 in the opener and were a breath of fresh air throughout. Now LVG has stepped down to take charge of Manchester United, legendary Dutch coach Gus Huddink will take over this summer. Sure, guys like Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie are getting older, but there are plenty of talented youngsters like Daley Blind, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum who will shine  bright. The future’s bright. The future’s Oranje….

Honorable mention: Colombia


What next for Spain?


SPAIN – The end of an era? It could well be. After their embarrassing title defense in Brazil, Spain could see several legendary players bowing out. Xavi, Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Xabo Alonso, David Villa… they could all make way. Will Vicente del Bosque still be in charge for the 2016 European Championships? Will Spain qualify? Is this the end of tiki-taka? So many questions have arisen after a truly disastrous World Cup.

ITALY – Another European giant and former World Cup winner is floundering after being knocked out in the group stages of the World Cup. Veterans Andrea Pirlo, Gigi Buffon and others failed to patch up a pragmatic and rather dull Cesare Prandelli side. Mario Balotelli scored in their opening win against England then disappeared for the rest of the tournament, while a lack of true attacking talent must be worrying. Prandelli is no longer in charge, could Antonio Conte be the man to restore the Azzurri’s pride?

BRAZIL – We will see what life after Luis Felipe Scolari will look like for the Selecao but it appears they have plenty of issues to address. Neymar aside, they have no superstar talents and with their monumental collapse during the 2014 World Cup, there is some serious work to be done. First they need a new manager, find out the contenders here. Then the real work can begin. Defensively they need to be more organized, in midfield they need structure and up top they need another top forward to ease the burden on Neymar. Yes, they made the semifinals on home soil this summer… but the home crowd urged them on against Colombia and Chile in tight knockout wins that only papered over the gaping cracks.

Dishonorable mention: England

  1. jucam1 - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    USA rising? In comparison to whom?… Out of all the teams that played and did WAY better than the US, the fact that US is your #1 rising team is just false. I get that this is a US sight but this is blatant homerism. Coast Rica is a way better team and rising. Algeria played better. Colombia is WAY better. Belgium is head, shoulders, and ankles better. That is just 4 i could mention. The US is getting better but wouldn’t put them in the top 8 or 9 of the teams that are truly rising globally. They’ll get there some day but creating a false story is just hype and way misleading.

    • scottlemenager - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      I think if you look at results vs. Expectations the US did pretty darned good. Belgiums stock was already on the rise before the cup as was columbia, nobody should have been suprised by them. Algeria did good vs germany, but they had the motivation of a national scandal to push them and still lost anyways. The only team missing is Costa Rica, they were certainly a shock. Id be curious to swap the US and Costa Ricas group games though to see if either would have made it out…both groups of death but decidedly different feels to them.

      • patriotsdefense - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:08 PM

        If Klinsmann can convert Gedion Zelalem over to the star and stripes then the USMNT might have a real chance going into Russia. That is a huge question mark but he did back out of a German youth UEFA commitment that would have cap tied him this summer. If they get him, then look out. I’m not saying they win it all but maybe they are this years France in 2018. Quarter Finals might not be out of sight. Anything is possible from there.

      • Skulb - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        Still though, the Algerians were the one who came closest to knocking out Germany at this World Cup with a stunning first half. The French and Argentinian attempts were positively pedestrian in comparison. I`d say that`s pretty darn impressive, at least impressive enough to make this list.
        On the other end maybe England and Portugal deserve mention as well, for being even more disappointing than expected.

    • boscoesworld - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      All of the sides you mention were already well respected so they performed as expected but did not rise. Costa Rica being the exception. They were not in the strongest group. The US was.

    • nickj689 - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      For starters everyone new that Belgium and Colombia were on the rise before the WC. Algeria did good but they also had a much easier to group. And as for Costa Rica it’s hard to tell if there simply a one-tournament wonder or if they’ll continue to turn out great performances like this in the future.

      • nickj689 - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        *much easier group to.

  2. adriantx - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    What bunch of crap!!! If anything the US’s stock fell from the 2010 WC!!! The only reason they advanced out of the group was because Germany piled on the goals vs Portugal.

    • dws110 - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      The 2010 team would have finished dead last in the group. Don’t kid yourself.

    • Skulb - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:33 PM

      You know Brazil had 53% possession vs Germany right?. Possession is more likely to lose you matches these days than win them. Just ask Brazil, England and Spain.

      • Skulb - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        This went the wrong place, please ignore.

  3. braxtonrob - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    US fans are blinded by (this WC’s) positive results.

    The USMNT has taking great strides …. backwards. That was possibly the worst possession performance in the modern history of the USMNT. It astounds me that US fans foresee winning a WC with that style of play. Astounds me!

    • boscoesworld - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      All of the sides you mention were already well respected so they performed as expected but did not rise. Costa Rica being the exception. They were not in the strongest group. The US was.

    • boscoesworld - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      You may be right about the possession but dude, Did Jurgen sleep with your wife or something? Get a grip. The last two years the US has played it’s best soccer. Been watching since the early 80s.
      Please excuse my duplicate post.

    • Skulb - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:32 PM

      Possession is so 20th century man. You know Brazil had 53% possession against Germany right? What wins matches is not possession but loading on breaks, well taken set pieces and lots of crosses into the box.
      Germany just won the World Cup almost entirely by exploiting the opposition`s mistakes, and hardly caring who had the ball. They improved and managed to play their own game in the final, but up until then it was all counter moves following mistakes and breaks.
      To quote Jose Mourinho: “In football it is risky to have the ball. The team that has the ball are much more likely to make a mistake.” In other words, pass the ball to the opponent and wait for him to bungle something and then pounce. Sounds weird but works, as France, Germany, Holland and others demonstrated in this World Cup.

    • Skulb - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:34 PM

      You know Brazil had 53% possession vs Germany right?. Possession is more likely to lose you matches these days than win them. Just ask Brazil, England and Spain.

  4. braxtonrob - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Also, the US had the personnel to win (i.e. reach the semi’s) THIS World Cup. If not for poor coaching and a handful of inferior-chosen roster spots, what could have been!

    • paperlions - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      Okay. This is just stupid.

      Who on the US side would start for Germany or Argentina or Brazil or the Netherlands or Belgium or France? Anyone? Maybe one or two guys or one or two of those teams.

      • Skulb - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:01 AM

        Maybe Tim Howard and Michael Bradley. Bradley got a lot of criticism, but he actually ran more than anybody else at the World Cup. Having extreme skills like that is always good, even if you`re not always the best man on the pitch.

        Other than that you`re right obviously, although Clint Dempsey could have started on Brazil any day over Fred and Jo. But that`s more because they were out of form than because he`s an amazing player.

  5. the8man - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:13 PM


  6. dws110 - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    I thought NED was thuggish for the most part. The match against Spain being the outlier, most of their games were attritional at best and they played cheaply. I thought it a huge disappointment that they made it so deep, that game against Costa Rica was almost criminal.

  7. herogoesallin - Jul 16, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    usa stock rising???? smh. england and spain falling the most, but from a english writer you cant expect to list them in the “down3”, right? nbcs soccer “experts” are not good at all.

  8. herogoesallin - Jul 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    belgium is not even listed….are you kidding me.

  9. lyleoross - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    While there has been a good bit of ranting and supporting of the US, the story is harder to read. First, Coast Rica did look much better than the US. They played strategically and better than the teams they beat. The US spent the last two years working on tactical football, and when the rubber hit the road at the WC, they fell back on physical strength, and long breakaway ball. That doesn’t represent progress. If your only measure is getting out of group stage, then they had a “good” WC. If your measure is did we play the kind of football that the rest of the world is playing, then we didn’t do much.

    But the detractors are missing two things, the last year, and when the US was down. The US played it’s best football ever in qualifying. It was highly tactical, and control oriented. It is what JK is trying to instill and the last year was great to watch. But here’s the most important thing; when the US was down, our play got better. Our passing stats went up, as did our other numbers. It felt a lot like when we were tied or up, that we got afraid and fell into old habits, but when we were forced to compete for a goal, the go to style was what JK wanted. To me, that is a very good sign, and a step forward. Now JK needs to get that to be the default, no matter what the score or time on the clock.

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