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The 16 Teams Left In The World Cup, Ranked By Coolness

France's forward #10 Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Denmark at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 26, 2022.
Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

Well, that sure was a World Cup group stage, alright! After the first 48 matches in Qatar, the tournament is down to the final 16 teams, who now move on into the most exciting part of soccer: a World Cup knockout stage. The favorites generally all made it through, though some (Argentina, Spain) did so with more stress than others (France, Brazil). There were also some nice surprises to be found. Morocco not only advanced in a tough group, but actually won the damn thing, while Asia has three teams—Japan, South Korea, and Australia, who counts as Asia for soccer purposes—in the round of 16.

Not all round-of-16 teams are built the same, though. I don't mean in terms of quality, though certainly in that regard as well. Rather, we're talking about coolness here. What is coolness, and how do we rank it? Well, that's the fun of it: This is completely subjective and in the eye of the beholder, which in this case is me (with some help from the other Defector soccer sickos). In general, I prioritized teams that didn't make me zone out while watching their games, as well as teams that showed some of their full potential, even if they weren't pushed to the extremes of their talent by underwhelming opposition.

With that all in mind, here is the definitive ranking of the remaining 16 teams, ranked by how much ass it kicks to be able to watch them play at this World Cup.

1. France
2. Brazil
3. Morocco
4. Argentina
5. Spain
6. USA
7. Japan
8. Croatia
9. England
10. Switzerland
11. South Korea
12. Portugal
13. Senegal
14. The Netherlands
15. Poland
16. Getting punched in the face by Kangaroo Jack
17. Australia

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