World Cup 2022: Scenarios, standings, tiebreakers as Brazil, Portugal qualify for last 16; 27 teams alive

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We’re reaching the business end of the World Cup group stage as some of the groups only have one match remaining. So far, France, Portugal, and Brazil are the only teams to book their passage to the round of 16 but more will join them on the final matchday of each group. Qatar have also joined South Africa as the only World Cup hosts to ever fail to make it out of the group stage. But let’s take a look at who can join the trio in the last 16 and what their path is to get there. 

Looking at tiebreakers, the start is simple with the team that has the most points advancing. If two teams are level on points then it will go to their overall goal difference. If they still can’t be split, next up the team that has scored the most goals will be the side to advance. The rules will then be reapplied with only the head-to-head match between the two teams that are tied. So the point total in those matches is next followed by goal difference in head-to-head play and goals scored. If they make it the entire way through and can’t be split it finally goes to the fair play system.

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The fair play system will see the team with the fewest penalties in matches advance. So a team loses a point per yellow card, three points for each red card caused by a second yellow card, four points for a straight red card and if a yellow is followed by a straight red card it will count as five points. 

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Here are the groups including all groups that have played two matches

Group A

Netherlands

1

1

0

2

2

4

Ecuador

1

1

0

2

2

4

Senegal

1

0

1

0

2

3

Qatar 0 0 2 -4 2 0
  • Netherlands: Can make the round of 16 with a win or draw against Qatar. Can win the group by bettering Ecuador’s result. 
  • Ecuador: Can make the round of 16 with a win or draw against Senegal. Can win the group by bettering the Netherlands’ result.
  • Senegal: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win against Ecuador. Can also qualify for the round of 16 with a draw versus Ecuador and the Netherlands losing to Qatar by more than two goals. Can win the group with a win versus Ecuador and a draw or loss by the Netherlands versus Qatar.
  • Qatar: Eliminated from contention for the round of 16.

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Group B

England

1

1

0

4

2

4

Iran

1

0

1

-2

2

3

United States

0

2

0

0

2

2

Wales

0

1

1

-2

2

1

  • England: Can win the group with a victory over Wales. Can qualify for the round of 16 with a draw or a loss by fewer than six goals and a United States draw or loss.
  • Iran: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win or draw versus the United States. Can win the group with a win and an England draw or loss.
  • United States: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win over Iran. Can win the group with a win and an England loss or a win and an England draw if they make up 4 goals worth of goal difference.
  • Wales: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win over England and a loss by Iran. Can also qualify with a win over England by more than four goals. Can win the group by bettering Iran’s result and defeating England by more than four goals.

Group C

Poland

1

1

0

2

2

4

Argentina

1

0

1

1

2

3

Saudi Arabia

1

0

1

-1

2

3

Mexico

0

1

1

-2

2

1

  • Poland: Can win the group and qualify for the round of 16 with a victory over Argentina. Can also qualify for the round of 16 with a draw but would only win the group in that case if Saudi Arabia draws or loses to Mexico.
  • Argentina: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win over Poland. Can also qualify for the round of 16 with a draw and a Saudi Arabia draw or loss by fewer than three goals to Mexico. Can win the group with a victory and a Saudi Arabia draw or loss.
  • Saudi Arabia: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win over Mexico. Can also qualify with a draw and a loss by Argentina or a loss and Argentina losing by one more goal. (i.e. Saudi Arabia loses 1-0 and Argentina loses 2-0 would see Saudi Arabia advance
  • Mexico: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win and a Poland victory over Argentina. Can also qualify by winning and making up the goal difference advantage on Poland/Argentina while Argentina defeats or draws Poland. 

Group D

France

2

0

0

4

2

6

Australia

1

0

1

-2

2

3

Denmark

0

1

1

-1

2

1

Tunisia

0

1

1

-1

2

1

  • France: Qualified for the round of 16. Can win the group with a win or draw against Tunisia or an Australia draw or loss.
  • Australia: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win versus Denmark. Can also qualify with a draw and a Tunisia draw or loss. 
  • Denmark: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win versus Australia.
  • Tunisia: Can qualify for the round of 16 with a win versus France and an Australia loss to Denmark where Tunisia wins by more goals than Denmark. Tunisia can also qualify for the round of 16 with a win over France and an Australia draw.

Group E

Spain

1

1

0

7

2

4

Japan

1

0

1

0

2

3

Costa Rica

1

0

1

-6

2

3

Germany

0

1

1

-1

2

1

  • Spain: Through to the last 16 with a win or draw versus Japan. Can win the group with a win over Japan. Can also advance with a loss to Japan and a draw between Costa Rica and Germany.
  • Japan: Through to the last 16 with a win versus Spain. Can also advance to the last 16 with a draw against Spain and a draw between Costa Rica and Germany. Can win the group with a victory versus Spain and having a better goal difference than Costa Rica if they defeat Germany. 
  • Costa Rica: Can advance with a victory over Germany and a loss by one of Span/ Japan or a draw between the two. Can also advance with a draw and a loss by Japan. Can win the group with a win, a Spain loss, and making up the six goal difference between Japan.
  • Germany: Can qualify for the last 16 with a win and a loss by Spain or Japan. Can also advance with a win by more than one goal and a Japan draw.

Group F

Croatia

1

1

0

3

2

4

Morocco

1

1

0

2

2

4

Belgium

1

0

1

-1

2

3

Canada

0

0

2

-4

2

0

  • Croatia: Can advance to the round of 16 with a win versus Belgium. Can also advance with a draw versus Belgium and a Morocco loss to Canada. Can win the group by bettering Morroco’s result.
  • Morocco: Can advance to the round of 16 with a win or draw versus Canada. Can also advance to the round of 16 with a loss and a loss by Belgium or a loss, a Belgium win, and having a better goal difference than Croatia. Can win the group by bettering Croatia’s result and making up the one-goal difference. 
  • Belgium: Can advance to the round of 16 with a win over Croatia. Can also advance with a draw and a loss by Morocco by more than three goals.
  • Canada: Eliminated from contention for the round of 16.

Group G

Team Name

W

D

L

Goal Difference

Matches Played

Points

Brazil

2

0

0

3

2

6

Switzerland

1

0

1

0

2

3

Cameroon

0

1

1

-1

2

1

Serbia

0

1

1

-2

2

1

  • Brazil: Through to the last 16, can win the group with a win or draw versus Cameroon or a Switzerland loss.
  • Switzerland: Can make the last 16 with a win or draw versus Serbia. Can win the group with a win, a Brazil loss, and making up the goal difference of three.
  • Cameroon: Can make the last 16 with a win versus Brazil and a Switzerland loss. Can also make the last 16 with a win versus Brazil by more than one goal and a draw between Switzerland and Serbia.
  • Serbia: Can make the last 16 with a win versus Switzerland and a Cameroon loss.

Group H

Team Name

W

D

L

Goal Difference

Matches Played

Points

Portugal

2

0

0

3

2

6

Ghana

1

0

1

0

2

3

South Korea

0

1

1

-1

2

1

Uruguay

1

1

-2

2

1

  • Portugal: Through to the last 16. Can win the group with a win or draw versus South Korea or a Ghana loss.
  • Ghana: Can make the last 16 with a win or draw versus Uruguay. With a draw, they will need to have a better goal difference than South Korea if they defeat Portugal.
  • South Korea: Can make the last 16 with a win versus Portugal and a Ghana loss or draw versus Uruguay.
  • Uruguay: Can make the last 16 with a win versus Ghana and a South Korea loss or draw versus Portugal. If South Korea wins along with Uruguay, it will come to tiebreakers.

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