Instead let's look at the teams who did the best job of over/underperforming to their FIFA Ranking
To be sure there are some flaws to my methods. I eliminated people chronologically, giving more credit to teams who powered through many rounds of difficult competition rather than those who ran up the score on the San Marino's of the world.
With that in mind, here are the top 5 over achievers club
Andorra + 112
San Marino +84
|Everybody loves Gylfi|
Here's our two best over acheivers of the finals themselves
Costa Rica +50
|Yes Enner, I'm praising you again...|
Meanwhile here are our underachievers in chief
El Salvador -54
Trinidad And Tobago/Haiti -55
Serbia gets special mention as the World Cup team from 2010 that dropped the farthest (even though North Korea got eliminated first, they began their descent much sooner than the Serbs). The underwhelming North Americans were compensated for by one big overachiever (see the Costa Rica note). And Syria, well, technically they were eliminated for fielding an ineligible player, but I'd guess that civil war had a little something to do with their poor showing as well.
|We believe it too Steven|
So what does all this mean: simply this--as we get set to embark on another four year cycle of the World Cup and all the qualification falderal that goes along with it: do not forget the teams you don't see every day. Don't exclude teams that don't dominate the Champions league rosters or give extra favor to those who do (if that were the case, Serbia would be in and Costa Rica out...I think we're all grateful to watch Los Ticos rather than the Serbs). It's a long road to Moscow and you'll be consistently surprised along the way as some times rise and others fall.
|Copper Bullets may be dreaming of a|
Whose in the same sweet spot that saw Ecuador and Costa Rica rise up? How about these names: Ireland, Zambia and Oman.
And as for the long shot set to emulate near misses Ethiopia, Lebanon and Iceland? Is it too early to think that Antigua and Barbuda or Malaysia could take that vital next step?
But the potential disasters in waiting? Well...it could be literally anyone...but I don't know...Turkey may be the next cautionary tale.