Qatar 2022: Who needs to do what to get to the Round of 16?

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Each nation dreams of lifting the World Cup. Not one squad has come to Qatar just for the fun of it — they are all in it to win.

But the first stage of eliminations is nearly upon us as the tournament’s group stage draws to a close. Half of the 32 teams that started in Qatar will be packing their bags and heading home.

So, who needs what to survive into the Round of 16?

Group A

Host nation Qatar, finding themselves a fourth of four in their group, had the ignominious honor of being the first team knocked out of this year’s tournament. But at least they do not have far to get home.
Ecuador and the Netherlands are tied at the top of the group table heading into the final round of group games, with four points each. Senegal is just one point behind.
The Netherlands needs a win or a draw against Qatar to qualify for the last 16.
Ecuador needs to beat Senegal to guarantee qualification.
Senegal needs to beat Ecuador to guarantee qualification.
If Ecuador vs Senegal is a draw, Ecuador will qualify — unless Qatar beat the Netherlands, in which case Senegal will go through.

Group B

This was always likely to be the most competitive group as well as the most politically charged. 
The remaining matches see old rivals and geopolitical enemies facing off, and any of the four teams can still qualify, even if Wales — in their first World Cup since 1958 — only stands a mathematical chance.
England top the table with four points from two games. Iran is second with three, after two injury-time goals against Wales on Friday. 
The United States is third in the group table with two points from two draws, while Wales has the toughest battle for qualification with just one point.
England will go through to the Round of 16 unless Wales beat them by four goals or more.
The USA needs to beat Iran to progress to the knock-out stages.
Iran needs to beat the USA to guarantee qualification, but a draw with the USA would be enough for Iran to progress — if Wales cannot beat England.
Wales needs a minor miracle; they will have to beat England and have Iran vs the USA ended with a draw. 
They could also progress without a draw in that match as long as they can get a four-goal margin of victory over England.
Do not hold your breath.

Group C

This is another open group in which all four teams could still qualify. 

Mexico has just one point at the bottom of the group table, while Saudi Arabia and their shock victims Argentina have three points each. 

Poland, with four points, leads the group but they are not safe yet.

Poland only needs a draw against Argentina to guarantee qualify, though they would undoubtedly prefer a win.
Argentina needs to beat Poland to guarantee their place in the Round of 16. 
A draw here and Argentina are vulnerable to being picked off on goal difference.
If Saudi Arabia beat Mexico, they are through to the next round. 
A draw with Mexico combined with a loss for Poland against Argentina would also see them qualify. 
If Poland beat Argentina with a huge goal difference, the Saudis may still claim the second qualifying spot.
Mexico needs to win against the Saudis and have Poland beat Argentina.

Group D

World champions France, with six points from two games, were the first team in Qatar to book their place in the Round of 16. 
That makes the rest of the group permutations a little less confusing.
Australia has three points, while Denmark and Tunisia have one each.
Australia plays Denmark — the winner will go through with France
Tunisia needs to beat France by at least two goals and hope Australia and Denmark draw

Group E

Everyone expected Spain and Germany to sail through Group E. 
And everyone was half-right, at least, with Spain cruising comfortably at the top with four points from two games.
Germany, however, languishes at the bottom of the group, as coach Hansi Flick’s mission to recover Germany’s pre-2018 football glory appears a longer-term project than first hoped for.
Japan and Costa Rica have three points each after their meeting on Sunday, meaning any of the four teams could still qualify.
Spain just needs a draw against Japan to qualify for the knock-out rounds.
If Japan wins against Spain, they are through with six points. 
If they draw, they need Costa Rica and Germany to also draw.
If Japan draws and Germany wins, there is still a chance Japan could go through on goal difference.
Costa Rica must beat Germany in their final group match to progress to the Round of 16.
Germany needs to beat Costa Rica and have Spain beat Japan in order to guarantee the second qualifying spot. 
But if Spain and Japan draw, Germany will need to beat Costa Rica by at least two goals. 
They could possibly still go through with a one-goal margin of victory over Costa Rica if they score more than Japan in their hypothetical draw with Spain – eg, a 1-1 draw between Spain and Japan, and a 2-1 win for Germany over Costa Rica will see the Germans progress.

Group F

Canada was the second team to be booking their flights home. 
That means Croatia, Morocco, and Belgium can still qualify.
The Belgians ranked second in the world and were expected to top this group, but their 2-0 mauling by Morocco on Sunday changed everything.
Croatia and Morocco are sitting pretty with four points each; Belgium has three.
Croatia only needs a draw against Belgium on Thursday to guarantee progress to the final 16
Belgium needs to win that match to progress.
Morocco just needs a draw against Canada to qualify from the group.

Group G

All four teams can still qualify from Group G, with two games still to play at the end of the World Cup schedule. 
Brazil and Switzerland have one win each, while Cameroon and Serbia remain without making a mark on the group table.
Cameroon takes on Serbia on Monday afternoon, before Switzerland takes on Brazil. 
Whoever wins the second game will qualify comfortably from the group with six points. A draw and things get interesting.

Group H

Group H teams have also just played one game so far, with all to play for. 
Portugal is sitting pretty at the top of the table with three points; South Korea and Uruguay have a point apiece. 
Ghana has yet to register a point. 
Anyone could still qualify or get eliminated at the first hurdle.
A win for Portugal over Uruguay on Monday, which is far from guaranteed, would put Cristiano Ronaldo’s men through to the Round of 16. 
South Korea faces Ghana in Monday’s earlier game. 
Watch this space.

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