Squad value is a good proxy for the quality of a team, so we’ve ranked all 32 World Cup countries based on their player’s worth in the transfer market to see if it gives any clear indications about who could triumph at Russia 2018.
We’ve used data from Transfermarkt to work out the total estimated transfer value of each member of every 23-man squad in the tournament.
This is different to adding up actual transfer fees, but a more accurate way of measuring current worth. For example, Messi has been at Barcelona for his entire career so would count as having no value if you did it that way.
Starting XIs change each game, and so a team’s value will vary from game to game, but these overall team totals will give you a good estimate for how expensive each team is.
So, who do you think has the priciest team in the world? Read on to find out.
32. Panama: Total value £7.4 million
With a total value of £7.4 million across their 23 players, Panama are the least valuable team in the World Cup.
Panama’s best player is the midfielder Aníbal Godoy. He plays for the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer and is worth an estimated £700,000.
Their forward Blas Pérez ranks as the tournament’s joint-third cheapest player.
31. Saudi Arabia: £16.6m
You could be forgiven for not having heard of many Saudi Arabia’s 23. All but three of them play their club football in the Saudi Pro League with 16 of them coming from just two clubs: Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal.
Their star man — in transfer value terms — is Yasir Al-Shahrani, a winger who plies his trade for Leganés in La Liga. He is valued at the princely sum of £1.3m.
While they may be minnows in this list, Saudi Arabia are, at least consistent. They have one of the lowest variations in value across their squad meaning theirs is one with a high level of equality.
30. Peru: £33m
Peru have been heralded as a potential surprise in this year’s World Cup, but one look at their market value would say otherwise.
The South American team ranks 30th in the tournament, at just £33m, with their top man André Carrillo contributing £5.3m of this. You may recognise Carrillo: he played for Watford in the last season, on loan from Benfica.
29. Costa Rica: £36.1m
As Costa Rica proved in 2014, you don’t have to have a squad full of high value superstars to perform well in World Cups. Ranked in a similarly lowly position this year, they’ll be hoping to repeat the trick.
Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas is the Ticos most valuable man, with an estimated worth of £15.8m in today’s transfer market. They also feature serial Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell who could make his £2.6m price tag look like a steal.
28. Iran: £41.9m
2018 will mark Iran’s first consecutive World Cup appearance, after they left the 2014 tournament in the group stage.
This time round, the team’s total worth tallies up to an estimated £41.9m.
Their most valuable player, attacking midfielder Alireza Jahanbakhsh, plays his domestic football for the Dutch club of AZ Alkmaar. He has an estimated transfer value of £10.6m.
27. Australia: £43.6m
Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy is the jewel in the Aussie crown with the midfielder accounting for about a fifth of their total squad value at £8.8m.
Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan comes a close second with a value of £7m but no other player surpasses the £5m mark.
26. Tunisia: £51.8m
Tunisia will be England’s first opponent as they face each other in the Volgograd Arena on Monday.
On paper, there should be no comparison: The Tunisian team totals up a value of £51.8m — some £717.3m less than England’s total value.
Midfielder Ellyes Skhiri is the team’s star player, valued at an estimated £8.8m.
25. Japan: £64.6m
Former Manchester United man Shinji Kagawa is Japan’s most expensive talent with a modest value of £11.4m. Aside from the Dortmund attacking midfielder Premier League players Maya Yoshida and Shinji Okazaki make up Japan’s other high-ticket stars.
Admittedly, at this point in proceedings “high-ticket” has a different definition than it will later on in this list. Some players — who we’ll meet later on — are individually worth twice the value of Japan’s whole squad.
24. Iceland: £66.9m
Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is Iceland’s star man, and is estimated to be worth £26.4m.
He makes up almost 40 per cent of the total Icelandic squad’s worth of £66.9m. The island minnows might seem like they can be easily dismissed as a mediocre one-man band, but England’s Euro 2016 team may say otherwise.
While Iceland ranks 24 for the overall team’s worth, they rank 19th for the value of their most-valued player.
23. South Korea: £74.8m
South Korea have faded from the global footballing consciousness since they jointly hosted the 2002 World Cup with Japan.
The majority of their 2018 squad play in either Japan or Korea but they do have a standout player in the former of Tottenham’s Heung-min Son. Valued at £44m he accounts for nearly 60 per cent of his country’s total squad value, the second highest proportion for any player in any team.
22. Sweden: £105.4m
Here we are: the first team to break £100m.
At an estimated squad value of £105.4m, Sweden rank 22nd in the tournament based on squad value.
Their most valued player, Manchester United defender Victor Lindelöf, is valued at £22m — over a fifth of the total squad value.
21. Morocco: £113.9m
What are Morocco doing so high up this list I hear you ask? Well, even at this stage all it takes is a couple of big fish to propel you up the rankings, and Morocco can boast three players worth £20m or more in the spine of their side.
Midfielders Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) and Amine Harit (Schalke 04) both come in at £22m while Juventus’ Medhi Benatia is worth £20m.
20. Nigeria: £118.7m
Nigeria put up a spirited game against England in their 2-1 defeat at Wembley last weekend, and they’ve earned praise for their exciting green-and-white striped kit.
However, they’re a distinctly mid-table team when it comes to squad value, weighing in at an estimated £118.7m.
Perhaps surprisingly for English fans, Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi ranks only fifth in the team for transfer value. He is one of five players in the team who are valued over £10m.
Wilfred Ndidi claims the top-spot in the team, valued at £22m.
19. Mexico: £129.9m
Mexico can boast an evenly distributed squad of respectable value.
There are no huge names in the mix but PSV winger Hirving Lozano could well have the sort of tournament that will send his worth rocketing upwards. He is currently valued at £22m by Transfermarkt, Mexico’s most expensive player.
18. Russia: £142.4m
It’s fair to say that, ranked 70th in the world by FIFA, hosts Russia would struggle to find a place in the World Cup if it wasn’t taking place there.
But with a total squad value estimated at £142.4m, Russia’s team is the 18th most expensive in the World Cup.
This figure is relatively evenly distributed across the squad, which has five players worth over £10m. Aleksandr Golovin tops the list as Russia’s most valuable player, worth an estimated £15.8m.
17. Egypt: £173.6m
There’s one stand-out player in Egypt’s team and that man is Mohammed Salah. Valued at £132m (the joint-third highest for any player) he is responsible for more than three-quarters of the worth of the entire squad.
Mohamed Elneny is a distant second at £8.8m.
16. Switzerland: £191.9m
With a total value of £191.9m, the Swiss are in the top half of the squads.
While eight of their players are estimated to be worth over £10m, Granit Xhaka tops the list, worth £35.2m. Arsenal fans will be well aware of this midfielder, with Xhaka accumulating 70 caps for the North London club.
15. Colombia: £221.1m
Given their performance at Brazil 2014 it is somewhat surprising that Colombia don’t feature higher on this list. This is because they have — in cricketing parlance — quite a long tail. Though they have two or three big names in the squad they also have 13 players who are valued at less than five million pounds.
Propelled to fame by his performance in Brazil, James Rodríguez is Colombia’s most valuable player. His transfer worth is estimated at £61.6m while Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez is their second most valuable player at £35.2m.
14. Denmark: £228.2m
Christian Eriksen’s £70.4m price tag goes a long way to explain Denmark’s large squad value. Indeed, Denmark’s prospective performance in the tournament will depend a lot on the Tottenham midfielder.
The Danish team totals a squad value of £228.2m, with Christian Eriksen and Andreas Christensen collectively contributing almost half of this.
13. Serbia: £235.4m
The Serbian squad has the honour of featuring one of the most talked about men in world football at the moment in the form of Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. A target for several big Premier League outfits, if you believe the rumours, the midfielder has a transfer value of £79.2m.
Milinkovic-Savic’s value is supplemented nicely by that of Nemanja Matic (£35.2m), Dusan Tadic (£13.2m) and
Luka Milivojevic (£13.2m).
12. Poland: £241.6m
The Polish team clocks in at a total value of £241.6m, with eight players each contributing more than £10m.
The Polish captain Robert Lewandowski is estimated to have a market value of £79.2m — a third of the total squad’s value. The country will need a good performance from the Bayern Munich striker in order to progress from a group that also contains Senegal and Colombia.
11. Senegal: £261.6m
Also vying for one of the top two positions in Group H, Senegal’s squad value beats that of Poland.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mané takes up 23.5 per cent of the total, at £61.6m but has able support from Napoli’s
Kalidou Koulibaly (£52.8m) and Monaco’s
Keita Baldé (£26.4m).
10. Croatia: £316.8m
Croatia are the tenth most expensive team in the 2018 World Cup, with a squad valued at an estimated £316.8m.
The squad is both well-balanced and strong.
Ivan Rakitic, Croatia’s most expensive player, has an estimated value of £44m — or 13.9 per cent of the total. 11 other players have a value of over £10m, six of which top £20m.
9. Uruguay: £327.8m
Uruguay are one of the true dark horses in this competition and it’s easy to see why, given the depth of talent that they have at their disposal.
In Luis Suárez (£61.6m) and Edison Cavani (£52.8m) they have two genuinely top bracket goalscorers while at the back they can rely on Athletico Madrid’s centre back pairing of
José Giménez (£39.6m) and Diego Godin (£30.8m). An impressive team spine is completed in midfield by potential Arsenal signing Lucas Torreira (£26.4m) and Inter Milan’s Matías Vecino (£18.5m).
8. Portugal: £408.8m
Portugal’s star player needs no introduction. Cristiano Ronaldo is worth an estimated £88m and shoulders a solid fifth of the total squad value of Portugal.
Aside from their captain, Portugal also draws on the likes of Bernardo Silva, Gonçalo Guedes and Gelson Martins to reach a total squad value of £408.8m.
7. Argentina: £612.5m
Despite a recent run of poor form, 2014 finalists Argentina will still fancy their chances in Russia if they can get their glittering forward line firing. They have the seventh highest-value team in the tournament, at an estimate of £612.5m.
Their emblematic captain Lionel Messi makes up a quarter of this total, valued at a whopping £158.4m, while Paolo Dybala (£96.8m),
Sergio Agüero (£70.4m) and Gonzalo Higuaín (£52.8m) make up the rest of the attacking threat in this top-heavy squad.
6. Belgium: £663.5m
With only six players in the Belgian side having an estimated transfer value of less than £10m, their overall value totals £663.5m.
The formidable team will face England in the Kaliningrad Stadium on June 28 in what could be a crunch match to decide who tops Group G.
The squad’s most expensive players are Kevin De Bruyne (£132m), Eden Hazard (£96.8m) and Romelu Lukaku (£79.2m).
5. England: £769.1m
The madness of the Premier League’s spending power generally ensures that English players fetch a premium in the transfer market. This has probably inflated England’s worth here, but let’s savour the Three Lions’ presence within the world’s elite while we can.
Harry Kane is England’s highest valued man, with a price tag of £132m, one of only six players at the World Cup whose value extends into nine figures.
Dele Alli (£88m) is the second most valuable member of the squad while Raheem Sterling (£79.2m) is in third. England’s least valuable player — Ashley Young (£6.2m) — is the most expensive least valuable player for any nation.
4. Germany: £777m
The current World Cup holders have one of the most equally distributed teams in the tournament, with their top-valued player Toni Kroos only consisting 9.1 per cent of the total squad value.
The squad’s value is estimated to be £777m, which makes it the fourth most valuable in the tournament.
Alongside Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos (valued at £70.4m), Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen (£52.8m) and Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels (£52.8m) also rank as the joint-favourite’s best-valued players.
3. Brazil: £863.3m
Despite having the joint most expensive at the tournament in Neymar (£158.4m), Brazil’s squad is far more evenly balanced than Argentina’s.
Their ten most valuable players include two goalkeepers in Alisson and Ederson, two defenders in Marcelo and Marquinhos and Casemiro, a defensive midfielder, as well as five highly rated attacking players.
2. Spain: £906.4m
Spain is one of two teams in the World Cup valued over £900m — or one billion euros. They come in second place in the squad value rankings, clinched by France by a mere £44m.
Another favourite of the World Cup, Spain has the most equally distributed team in Russia. The team’s most expensive player, Sergio Busquets, is valued at £70.4 — or just 7.8 per cent of the overall team’s £906.4m value.
The winners of the 2010 World Cup can also boast the likes of Real Madrid midfielders Isco and Marco Asensio (each £66m), as well as Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea (£61.6m).
1. France: £950.4m
France emerge as fairly comfortable winners in these rankings with a total transfer market value less than £50m shy of £1bn.
Les Bleus’ array of young talent is formidable. Ten of their squad are valued at in excess of £40m with PSG’s Kylian Mbappé topping the list at £105.6m.
Antoine Griezmann (£88m), Paul Pogba (£79.2m) and Ousmane Dembélé (£70.4m) are all also individually worth more than the entire squads of Panama, Saudi Arabia and Peru combined.