World Soccer Power Rankings: Spain rises after wins over England, Croatia; USA cracks top 25

The World Cup is in the rear-view mirror, and now the focus has shifted for many national teams throughout the world. Teams in Europe are involved in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, African teams are in qualification for their continental tournament, and September also featured some top-tier international friendlies. 

And while Tuesday featured some fantastic games including a shocking scoreline between Spain and Croatia, all eyes in North America were on the USA vs. Mexico battle that showcased plenty of U23 talent that could make an impact during the 2022 Qatar qualifying cycle. A 1-0 United States win has to have fans excited. Sure, friendly scorelines don't mean too much, but they do grow in importance when it is against your rival, and there are three things that should excite the U.S. fans.

Steffen is the future: Zack Steffen continues to show that he is the future of this national team in goal. The talented Columbus Crew star can pull off some off some crazy saves, and his cat-like quickness and reactions are a reason why he is so highly rated. He showed that again against Mexico:

Adams and McKennie could be a top midfield: It's a luxury to have players like Weston McKinnie and Tyler Adams who are under the age of 20 in midfield. McKennie is a young star in the Bundesliga and Adams is likely to headed to Europe sooner rather than later. They go way back and have a strong bond off the field as well as on it, and their chemistry is evident when they play. Having them at the core of the midfield for years to come should have USA fans thrilled.

And Adams also scored his first international goal against El Tri. Not a bad way to find the net for the first time in a U.S. uniform, huh? 

Miazga's toughness is needed: Look, this isn't to condone mocking or trash talking, but Matt Miazga calling out Diego Lainez's height gave his side a bit of jolt, which is something that has clearly been missing. After failing to qualify for the World Cup, the players were obviously down and a bit lost, wiped out and not able to give any more. But that toughness, those moments that pump up the crowd and show your teammates you aren't backing down, they all play a role in the team's mentality and state of confidence in the moment. 

The incident boosted the crowd, and it frustrated Mexico. Moments later, El Tri picked up a red card. The unwillingness to back down that at times can be a positive:

And with that result, the U.S. enters our top 25. 

Here are our rankings with the changes coming in relation to our final World Cup power rankings:

World Club Soccer Power Rankings

Previous rankings: Final World Cup rankings

RKTEAMCHGANALYSIS

1.

France

--

The World Cup winners followed up their glorious run in Russia by drawing at Germany and beating the Netherlands. Impressive.

2.

Belgium

+1

Roberto Martinez's team continues to build off of its third-place finish at the World Cup by beating Scotland and Iceland by a combined score of 7-0.
3.

Brazil  

+2

As expected, Brazil beats the U.S. and El Salvador in friendlies. Neymar scored twice and inches closer to Pele's national team goal-scoring record. 

4.

Spain

+12

Want to know how you jump up 12 spots? By beating England at Wembley and crushing World Cup runners-up Croatia 6-0, that's how.         

5.

England

-1

Unlucky against Spain so they slip, but the 1-0 win over Switzerland in a friendly was a positive sign.

6.

Uruguay

--

Destroyed Mexico 4-1 without Edinson Cavani and made it look easy. One of the most complete teams in South America.

7.

Russia

--

Great form from this team. A lovely 2-1 win at Turkey in the Nations League and then crushed Czech Republic 5-1.

8.

Croatia

-6

What in the world was that? I get that Spain has some fantastic players, but that was ugly and concerning. Just turn the page.         

9.

Colombia

--

Beat Venezuela and drew Argentina while in the U.S., both quality results that keeps this team's chemistry going.

10.

Denmark

+3

Got their players back after the commercial dispute and quickly returned to their winning ways. This team has some serious talent.

11.

Argentina

-11

It's a new era with a ton of young talent getting their chance to represent the country. Decent results, but it's more about the experience and improvement. 

12.

Japan

-2

Beat Costa Rica, but the teams in front were a bit more impressive. For now, this team is the class of Asia.

13.

Switzerland

+1

How about that 6-0 win over Iceland? That was impressive and shows the quality this team can have in attack if it finds the consistency. 

14.

Portugal

+1

Looked sharp without Cristiano Ronaldo and beat reeling Italy 1-0. When they get Ronaldo back, they should only improve. 

15.

Sweden

-7

Lost to Austria and blew a 2-0 lead against Turkey. Not a good week for one of the surprises of the World Cup.

16.

Mexico

-4

A young team, but a 4-1 loss to Uruguay and a 1-0 loss to USA doesn't create positive vibes.

17.

South Korea

+1

A nice little window with a win over Costa Rica and a draw against Chile. All great tests ahead of AFC Cup qualifying next year.

18.

Poland

+3

An impressive 1-1 draw at Italy created some good vibes in the UEFA Nations League. Huge test against Portugal and Italy at home next.

19.

Nigeria

+1

The Super Eagles should cruise through Africa Cup of Nations qualifying and just beat Seychelles 3-0. Are they the most talented team in Africa?

20.

Germany

-1

Didn't look sharp at home to France. Sure, that's a tough opponent but this felt much like the World Cup team that had talent but really couldn't put it together for stretches. 

21.

Peru

+1

Yes, Ricardo Gareca's team lost both matches but I'm sure he's impressed with what he's seen from the team. No shame in losing to both Netherlands and Germany by 2-1 scorelines. Both games will help with his team's improvement. 

22.

Senegal 

-5

A 2-2 draw at Madagascar isn't a positive, and now they welcome Sudan next month.

23.

Serbia

--

Four points to start to the Nations League, beating Lithuania and drawing Romania. They may have found their scoring touch.         

24.

Ukraine

NR

Welcome to the top 25. Two wins from two to start off the Nations League is the way to do it.          

25.

United States

NR

Forget about playing Brazil -- it was always going to be a scheduled loss. That match was all about seeing how you stacked up against some of the best talent in the world. That said, beating your continental rival and continuing the youth movement should have fans excited.
  • Dropped out: Iceland, Costa Rica.
  • Just missed the cut: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Wales, Turkey, Mali, Guinea, Tunisia. 

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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