The second round of group stage matches is over, which means we’re headed into a very intense week with 16 matches in four days, with teams that haven’t been knocked out or secured qualification to the round of 16 are now busy running the possible scenarios in front of them.
Six teams have already secured qualification: Netherlands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Argentina and Belgium. Five teams have already run out of chances to make it into the next round: Cameroon, Spain, Australia, England and Bosnia.
Who’s in and who’s out: Cameroon with 0 points can’t qualify. Brazil and Mexico have 4 points, Croatia have 3. All three of them can make it into the round of 16.
Who’s playing who: Brazil face Cameroon, Mexico play Croatia.
What can happen: Brazil lead the group thanks to goal difference over Mexico. All Brazil need to qualify, regardless of the position, is a draw. A win, and only Mexico also winning against Croatia with enough goals puts the Mexicans in the top spot. How can Brazil not qualify? Only if they lose and Croatia win.
Mexico need a draw to qualify, and a win, depending on what Brazil does against Cameroon, can put them in the top spot. Croatia need a win to qualify, but they can also do it with a draw while Brazil lose.
Who’s in and who’s out: Very simple here. The Netherlands and Chile are in the next round, Spain and Australia have nothing to play for.
Who’s playing who: The Netherlands are playing Chile in the next match, Spain playing Australia.
What can happen: All that’s left to decide is who finishes first. The Netherlands have a better goal difference. In short: The winner takes first place, and if it’s a draw the Dutch qualify from the top spot.
Who’s in and who’s out: Wide open. Colombia are in the next stage no matter what with six points. The Ivory Coast are currently second with 3 points, but both Japan and Greece with one point can find themselves among the last 16.
Who’s playing who: Colombia facing Japan, Ivory Coast playing Greece.
What can happen: Colombia will qualify regardless the result. The only way they don’t finish first is by losing to Japan and the Ivory Coast getting a big enough win over Greece.
Japan need a win over Colombia and for the Ivory Coast to not win against Greece. An Ivorian loss will be perfect for them, a draw and it’s down to goal difference. Greece win and they might be in, but they’ll need Japan to either fail to win or beat them via goal difference. A draw for the Ivory Coast will be enough if Japan don’t win against Colombia. A loss and it’s them crossing fingers that Colombia don’t lose.
Who’s in and who’s out: Costa Rica have qualified with six points, England are out of the tournament with zero points. Uruguay and Italy have 3, while Uruguay have the better goal difference.
Who’s playing who: Costa Rica face England, Italy play Uruguay.
What can happen: All the attention goes to Uruguay playing against Italy. Italy have to win in order to qualify. Uruguay can finish second and move on if they manage a draw. The only way Costa Rica don’t finish first is by losing, and then having an inferior goal difference to either Italy or Uruguay.
Who’s in and who’s out: In theory, everyone can qualify and get knocked out. France lead the group with six points and a +6 goal difference. Ecuador are second with 3 points, Switzerland also have 3 points but a -2 goal difference. Honduras with 0 points are still in the picture, but barely.
Who’s playing who: France face Ecuador, Switzerland are playing Honduras.
What can happen: The only way France don’t make it is if they lose and then their goal difference turns out not to be enough. Any other result for them puts them in the next round from first place.
Ecuador can qualify with a win. They only way they win and don’t make it is if Switzerland beat Honduras by enough goals. A draw for Ecuador will be enough if Switzerland don’t beat Honduras. A loss will be enough for Ecuador if Honduras beat Switzerland, and goal difference goes their way.
Switzerland are in the same boat. A win for them should be enough unless Ecuador win as well, and then it comes down to goal difference between the three teams. A Switzerland draw and they need Ecuador to lose. A Switzerland loss and they’ll need Ecuador to lose by a lot, and for Honduras to not win by enough.
Honduras can only qualify if they beat Switzerland, Ecuador lose to France and goal difference goes their way.
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Who’s in and who’s out: Argentina have already qualified with two wins. Nigeria with four points and Iran with one point are up in the air. Bosnia with 0 points are going home.
Who’s playing who: Argentina will be facing Nigeria, Bosnia will be playing Iran.
What can happen: Argentina will qualify. The only way they don’t finish first is if they lose to Nigeria. Any other result and they finish first. Nigeria will qualify if they don’t lose. Iran can qualify only if they beat Bosnia and they need Nigeria to lose. We might go into third-level tie breakers as well.
Who’s in and who’s out: It’s all quite open here. Germany and the United States lead the way with four points, Ghana and Portugal trail them with just one.
Who’s playing who: Germany face the United States, Portugal play against Ghana.
What can happen: Germany qualify as long as they don’t lose. The same goes for the United States. A draw between them gives Germany the top spot, and if one side wins it finishes first, while the other, and especially the United States, needs to start worrying about goal difference and how it is that wins in the other match.
Portugal and Ghana both have to beat each other in order to qualify. Ghana are in a better position because of goal difference but in any case, they need that there is no draw in the other match. Things look bad for Portugal due to their -4 goal difference.
Who’s in and who’s out: Belgium with two wins have qualified. Algeria are second with 3 points, Russia come third with one point. South Korea have one points but an inferior goal difference.
Who’s playing who: Belgium will be playing South Korea, Russia will be playing Algeria.
What can happen: Belgium will finish first unless Algeria win against Russia and Belgium lose to South Korea, and then goal difference or another tie breaker comes into play.
Algeria win and they’re in the next round. A draw and it comes down to South Korea beating Belgium by enough goals. A loss and they’re out of the top two.
Russia and South Korea are in a similar situation. Both of them have to win. If one of them wins and the other doesn’t, the winner goes through. If both win, it comes down to goal difference.