Bahrain’s AL KHOR — The group stage, which ends on Tuesday, is drawing to a conclusion. Which teams are therefore in a position to advance, and what must occur for them to do so?
The tournament’s group-by-group scenarios are listed below for each participating team.
If the Netherlands defeats Qatar or ties them, they will advance.
The Netherlands can still make the tournament even if it loses to Qatar if Ecuador defeats Senegal. However, if Ecuador and Senegal draw and Netherlands loses, Ecuador would win the group with five points, tying them with Senegal. In such a case, the Netherlands would need to lose to Qatar by a single goal to advance. It will come down to the total goals scored if it loses by two goals. If Senegal and the Netherlands both score the same number of goals, the Netherlands advances because it defeated Senegal in the head-to-head match. Senegal would advance if the Netherlands fell to Qatar by three goals or more.
There are other possibilities as Senegal might win the group if Netherlands and Ecuador both drop the third game. Goal differential, followed by goals scored between the two teams, will determine who takes second place. It would come down to fair play, or how many red and yellow cards each team has if those two categories are tied. It will come down to a random draw if fair play is equal.
The group winner will be decided by goal differential and then goals scored, however, if Netherlands and Ecuador both win, both teams progress. Once more, if the results in each of those categories are the same, fair play will prevail, with a random drawing if necessary.
With a victory or a tie against Senegal, Ecuador advances. By the scenarios mentioned above, if Ecuador loses, it can only qualify if the Netherlands loses.
If Senegal defeats Ecuador, they advance, and if the Netherlands draws or loses, Senegal will take first place in the group. For the Netherlands to lose, Senegal would still be able to advance, and the aforementioned scenarios would still be true. If the Netherlands wins or draws, Senegal cannot qualify. If Senegal loses, it will not move on.
After two losses, Qatar is unable to advance.
Wales must lose by four goals or more for England to be eliminated; otherwise, they must win or tie.
If England triumphs, it will take first place in the group and would retain that title even if Iran were drawn against the United States. If England draws and Iran defeats the USA, Iran would win the group and England would come in second. If, on the other hand, England draws but USA wins, the USA must win by at least four goals to take first place in the group. The victor of the match would take the group lead with England and Wales each getting four points if England loses and Iran or the USA win. In such a scenario, for England to defeat Wales, their loss would have to be by no more than three goals.
However, if Iran defeats the USA and England loses, all of the other teams in the group except for the USA would have four points. The outcome would then depend on how much England lost to Wale, which would determine where it finished. England would place no worse than second in the group, barring a defeat against Wales by seven goals. If England lost to Wales by three points, Wales would move up to the first place, but losing by four or five points would reverse those positions. If Wales loses by six goals and Iran and England are tied, goals scored and, if necessary, head-to-head results will determine the group winner.
Iran wins its match against the United States and advances; if it loses, it is eliminated. Unless Wales defeats England and Iran finishes behind both of those nations on goal differential, Iran qualifies with a tie.
If the USA wins, they advance. Any other outcome will delete it. If Wales beats England, or if that game finishes in a draw and the USA gets enough goals to win the group on goal differential, the USA will advance.
Wales needs to defeat England to have any chance of making it, and even then it would depend on the other team in the group finishing in a draw and a tiebreaker based on goal differential. Wales would need to overcome the English by at least four goals to finish ahead of them if the USA or Iran win.
With a victory or a tie against Argentina, Poland advances. If Saudi Arabia draws or loses, Poland may win the group with a win or a tie if Saudi Arabia loses or draws. Depending on the tiebreaker, which uses goal differential as the first criterion, Poland may not necessarily be eliminated with a loss. If Mexico triumphs and Poland loses, Mexico and Poland would tie for second place with four points each, with Argentina taking first place in the group. Goal differential would then be the deciding factor, followed by goals scored, head-to-head outcomes, and finally fair-play points. But if Mexico and Saudi Arabia draw, Poland would tie Saudi Arabia for first place with four points. Once more, the number of goals would determine who finished in second place. Poland
If Argentina defeats Poland, they advance. Unless Saudi Arabia defeats Mexico or, in the event of either of those outcomes, it wins the tiebreaker, it also advances with a tie. Argentina loses to Poland and is eliminated. If Saudi Arabia draws or loses, Argentina would advance from the group. If they and Saudi Arabia both triumph, the group champion would be determined by goal differential, then goals scored, and finally the outcome of the head-to-head matchup. Mexico and Saudi Arabia would at the very least advance if they draw. Poland would win the group with five points, Argentina and Mexico would be equal at four points, and Mexico would upset Saudi Arabia if Argentina draws and Mexico wins. Goal differential would then determine who finished second.
Saudi Arabia beats Mexico and moves on. If Argentina and Poland draw, Saudi Arabia has a chance to win the group. If Poland defeats Argentina, it also advances with a tie, but if Poland and Argentina tie, it is eliminated with a tie. Poland would need to lose by at least three goals for Saudi Arabia to advance if Saudi Arabia draws and Argentina beats Poland. Saudi Arabia will effectively be disqualified if they lose to Mexico or if both games are drawn.
If Mexico wins and Poland defeats Argentina, they both advance. If Mexico triumphs and there is any other outcome, a tiebreaker will determine who comes in second. If Mexico loses to Saudi Arabia or ties them, they are out. Mexico will advance if they defeat Saudi Arabia by four or more goals.
After defeating Denmark, France qualified with one game remaining. If they defeat Tunisia or draw with them, or if Australia loses against Denmark, they will take first place in the group. Goal differential and subsequent tiebreakers will determine the group winner if the French lose and Australia wins.
Australia beats Denmark in its final match to advance and loss eliminating it. If Tunisia defeats France, it also qualifies with a draw. Goal differential will be taken into consideration if Tunisia wins and the Socceroos draw.
If Denmark defeats Australia, it will advance unless Tunisia defeats France and prevails in the tiebreaker. If Tunisia defeats France, it will be able to advance if the other game is either a tie or a victory for Denmark, in which case it will still need to prevail in a tiebreaker.
With a victory or a tie against Japan, Spain advances. They would take first place in their group if they won, and they would also if Costa Rica lost or drew. If Costa Rica defeats Germany and Spain loses, Spain will be eliminated. Spain, which now has a goal difference of +7, enters a tiebreaker with any other outcome in Costa Rica vs. Germany game. Spain would need to lose by a score of 13 goals to lose its place as runners-up if Germany and Costa Rica tie.
Japan moves on if it defeats Spain and is eliminated if it loses. If Costa Rica draws or loses, Japan may also win the group with a victory. If Costa Rica triumphs and Japan draws, Japan is sent packing. In the event of a tie, Japan would compete in the second-place tiebreaker. Germany would proceed as runners-up over Japan in the case that they defeat Costa Rica by more than one goal, which is the only tiebreaker scenario of relevance. If both of the Group E games are drawn, Japan would advance as the runner-up.
If Costa Rica defeats Germany, it is eliminated while a victory promotes them. If Japan-Spain ends in a tie, a victory would also give Costa Rica the top spot in the group. Costa Rica will progress if Spain defeats Japan if the match ends in a draw, but not if the match ends in a tie. If Japan wins and Costa Rica draws, “Los Ticos” will have to score 13 goals to make up for the goal differential deficit.
If Germany loses or ties, they are out. If Germany defeats Costa Rica and Spain defeats Japan, Germany advances as the second-place finisher. If Germany triumphs and Spain loses to Japan, Spain would have an eight-goal deficit in goal differential to make up.
If Morocco defeats Canada or ties them, they advance. If Morocco triumphs and Croatia loses to Belgium or draws, Morocco will take first place in the group. The top slot would be decided by goal differential and following tiebreakers if Morocco and Croatia both win. If both games are draws, or if Croatia wins and Morocco draws, Morocco will undoubtedly place second at the very least. If Croatia defeats Belgium, Morocco also advances if it loses, or if it triumphs in a second-place tiebreaker if Croatia and Belgium tie. Morocco would need to lose by four goals or more in that tiebreaker to lose and not advance. If Morocco and Croatia both lose, Belgium would win the group and a playoff would determine the runner-up.
Croatia advances if they defeat Belgium or draw with them. If Morocco fails to win or draws, Croatia will take first place in the group. Croatia will still take first place in the group even if both games are drawn. Croatia would come in second if they draw and Morocco wins. If Belgium defeats Croatia and wins the group, Morocco must draw or lose to Belgium to advance. In the event of a tie, Belgium can also advance, but only if Morocco loses to Canada and prevails in the second-place tiebreaker. Belgium is eliminated if Morocco wins or draws and Belgium loses.
Canada is no longer there.
With a win or a tie against Cameroon, or if Switzerland does not defeat Serbia, Brazil, who has already qualified, would be certain of taking first place in the group. Goal difference and subsequent tie breakers, if necessary, will determine the group winner if Brazil loses and Switzerland wins.
If Switzerland defeated Serbia, they would advance. Unless Cameroon defeats Brazil and triumphs in the tiebreaker for second place, it would also qualify with a tie. If Cameroon won and the Swiss drew, the two nations would each have four points, and subsequent tiebreakers would be used. With a defeat, Switzerland cannot qualify.
If Serbia defeats Switzerland and Cameroon loses to Brazil, Serbia advances. Serbia would need to win by a wider margin to overtake Cameroon in terms of goal differential if both teams won.
If Switzerland defeats Serbia, Cameroon is out. If Switzerland/Serbia is a tie or Serbia triumphs, it can qualify if it defeats Brazil, but only if it triumphs in a tiebreaker.
With a win or tie against South Korea, or if Ghana fails to defeat Uruguay, Portugal would be certain of taking first place in the group. Goal differential and subsequent tiebreakers would be used to determine the group winner if Ghana wins and Portugal loses.
If Ghana beats Uruguay, they will advance. Unless South Korea defeats Portugal and triumphs in the second-place tiebreaker, it would also qualify with a tie. For this to occur, South Korea would need to If Uruguay defeats Ghana, it advances and, if South Korea loses or ties, it finishes second. South Korea and Uruguay would tie for second place with Portugal if both teams won. Tiebreakers would be used at that moment.
If Ghana defeats Uruguay, South Korea is out. If Ghana and Uruguay tie or Uruguay wins, it can qualify if it defeats Portugal, but only if it triumphs in a tiebreaker. defeat Portugal by two goals or more. Ghana must win to qualify.