Next week the World Cup will proceed to its final stages with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the knockout stage.
Τhe ranking of each of the four teams seeded in a total of eight groups are determined as follows:
1. Greatest number of points obtained in all group matches; 2. Goal difference in all group matches; 3. Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches. 4. Greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
In Group A, Brazil needs a draw against Cameroon in order to qualify. If the hosts beat Cameroon, then they will finish top of the table. The second place will go either to Mexico or Croatia. If the Latinos are to draw their match or beat Croatia, then they qualify and the Europeans will be knocked out of the tournament. Brazil and Mexico are the favorites to proceed to the next round.
In Group B, things are less complicated. The Netherlands and Chile have both ensured their advancement to the next round. Their final fixture will determine who will finish first in the group. Defending champions, Spain, and Australia are out.
Colombia has guaranteed its progression to the Round of 16 through Group C. Ivory Coast needs a draw against Greece to qualify, but if Greece beats the African side and Japan doesn’t beat Colombia, then the Greeks qualify. If by any chance Greece beats Ivory Coast and Japan beats Colombia, then the “blue samurai” are the ones who take the second spot.
The greatest upset so far in the World Cup, Costa Rica, has clinched the playoffs after winning their two first matches in the tournament against Uruguay and Italy. England participates in Group D as well, but has already said its… goodbyes. Italy and Uruguay will be fighting for the second place, but the 2006 World Champions only need to draw to qualify.
In Group E, France has booked a place in the Round of 16 and is among the favorites to win the tournament. They’ve played superb football, scoring 8 goals so far in 2 games. Ecuador, Switzerland and Honduras are battling for second place. The Ecuadoreans are facing France in their final match, whereas Switzerland is playing against Honduras who is considered the weakest side of the group. The chances are favoring the Swiss since they have a better goal differential.
Argentina won their two opening matches and have already guaranteed a place in the next round. Nigeria needs to at least tie to qualify, but has a difficult task against Leonel Messi’s side. If Argentina beats Nigeria, and Iran gets three points against Bosnia, then the Persians advance to the next round. Bosnia are already eliminated.
None of the four teams in Group G has clinched qualification with Germany and the United States tied on top of the table with 4 points. The chances of USA being eliminated are slim, but still possible. If the win or tie Germany advance. Same goes for Germany. The loser though of the two, might lose their spot if Ghana or Portugal covers the goal difference. Germany are at +4 (6-2), USA are at +1 (4-3), Ghana at -1 (3-4) and Portugal at -4 (2-6).
In Group H, the final group, Belgium has guaranteed qualification. The rest is still open. If Algeria beats Russia, the North Africans are through no matter what happens in the other game of the group. If there’s a tie or Russia wins, then we’ll have to wait for S.Korea’s result against Belgium. The Asians need to win by as many goals as possible to get a better goal differential than either Algeria or Russia.
The final games of the group stages are set to start at the same time for all teams of each group, starting on Monday.
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