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