We are through two matches of Group Stage play at FIFA World Cup 2022. A few teams have been mathematically eliminated from the tournament. And a couple teams have already secured their tickets to the Round of 16. Ahead of the third and final set of Group matches, we thought it would be a good idea to look at each team and see what they will need to continue their time in Qatar.
Until this point, the World Cup has been played one game at a time. But for the third match, all teams in each group will play at the same time. This is done to dissuade collusion between teams that know they only need a draw to advance or keep another team out of the knockout rounds. It means that teams don't necessarily know the outcomes for the rest of the group and must play to the worst case scenario. (Admittedly, the advent of smartphones and social media has confused this situation a bit.)
Thursday, Dec. 1 has Group F playing the first soccer of the day at 10 a.m. EST, followed up with Group E at 2 p.m. EST. Canada has already been eliminated. Here's how the other teams in these Groups can avoid a similar fate.
Group E: Germany on the Verge of Elimination
Spain (4 points) - A win or draw against Japan guarantees a spot in the Round of 16. If Spain loses and Costa Rica and Germany draw, Spain will go through as long as they don't lose by 9 goals. If Spain loses and Germany wins, Germany would need to make up a goal differential of 9 goals to send Spain home. If Spain loses and Costa Rica wins, Spain makes an early exit from Qatar.
Japan (3 Points) - A win against Spain guarantees a spot in the Round of 16. A draw against Spain and a Costa Rica-Germany draw would also see Japan and their stadium cleaning fans advance. If they draw against Spain and Germany beats Costa Rica by 1 goal, Japan advances. If they draw against Spain and Costa Rica wins, or if they lose to Spain, Japan will go home.
Costa Rica (3 Points) - A win against Germany guarantees a spot in the Round of 16. If they draw against Germany and Spain beats Japan, they will advance. Likewise if they draw and Japan beats Spain by 14 goals (Yes, 14) Costa Rica would continue on. Anything else will see Costa Rica end their World Cup in the Group Stage.
Germany (1 Point) - Germany must win against Costa Rica to have a shot at advancing. They also need Spain to beat Japan or for Japan to beat Spain by 9 goals. If Spain and Japan draw, Germany would need to beat Costa Rica by 2 or more goals to see the knockouts. A draw or loss for Germany ensures elimination.
Group F: Win-and-In Scenarios for Everyone -- Except Canada
Croatia (4 Points) - A win or draw against Belgium guarantees a spot in the Round of 16. If Croatia loses to Belgium and Canada beats Morocco, then Croatia needs to lose by fewer goals than Morocco does to advance. If Croatia loses to Belgium and Morocco wins or draws against Canada, Croatia will wave goodbye to Luka Modric and the 2022 World Cup.
Morocco (4 Points) - A win or draw against Canada guarantees a spot in the Round of 16. A loss to Canada and a Belgium loss also works in Morocco's favor, as does a loss to Canada and a Croatia Belgium draw. The only exit scenario for Morocco is a loss to Canada and for Croatia to lose to Belgium by 2 more goals than Morocco loses by.
Belgium (3 Points) - A win against Croatia guarantees a spot in the Round of 16. A draw against Croatia and a Canada victory of 3 or more goals would also advance Belgium to the knockouts. Anything short of that, and Belgium's Golden Generation will once again go home empty handed.
Canada (0 Points) - Sadly, Canada has already been eliminated from the Round of 16. Alphonso Davies managed to score Canada's first-ever goal for Les Rouge in a World Cup, though, and by virtue of being one of the three host countries in 2026, they have already qualified for the next World Cup.
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