World Cup tiebreakers, advancement scenarios and group standings

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As the World Cup’s 32 teams complete their second group stage matches, the progression scenarios will begin to become clearer. Two teams from all eight groups advance and then enter a 16-team knockout tournament that will determine the participants in the final on December 18.

Here’s how the teams are ranked in the groups, as explained FIFA 2022 World Cup Regulations:

1. Highest number of points from three group games (each team gets three points for a win and one for a draw).

2. Goal difference in all group games.

3. Goals scored in all group games.

And if two or more teams are still tied after that? We go to:

1. The highest number of points scored in group matches between the respective teams.

2. Goal difference from group matches between respective teams.

3. Goals scored in group matches of respective teams.

4. More points for fair play behavior (yellow cards = minus-1; indirect red card, as a result of a second yellow card = minus-3, direct red card = minus-4, yellow card and direct red = minus-5, for the player applying only one of the deductions per game).

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World Cup calendar, standings and groups

And if by some quirk there is still a tie?

The FIFA Organizing Committee will then draw lots.

Here are the standings for each group and the scenarios for the groups that have completed two games. An x represents a team that has made progress. Y – stands for the team that won the first place in the group. Z represents a team that is excluded from further progress.

Group A standings and scenarios

Netherlands: The group favorite will advance to the knockout stage with a win or a draw against Qatar on Tuesday. If both the Netherlands and Ecuador win their final match, the winner of Group A would be decided by tiebreakers, starting with goal difference, where the tie is currently tied. If both matches on Tuesday were tied, the tiebreaker would start on goals scored.

Ecuador: Like the Netherlands, Ecuador is guaranteed a place in the knockout round with a win or a draw on Tuesday when Ecuador face Senegal.

Senegal: The African champions will advance to the knockout round with a win over Ecuador. It would be liquidated at a loss. With a draw against Ecuador, Senegal would need an incredible Qatar win over the Netherlands to have any chance. Senegal could still win the group with a win over Ecuador and a draw for the Netherlands or a loss against Qatar.

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Qatar: The host country cannot enter the knockout tournament.

Group B standings and scenarios

England: The group favorite will advance to the knockout stage with a win or a draw against Wales on Tuesday. England could still go through with a loss to Wales, depending on the result and other results. England would win the group with a win or a draw and a draw between Iran and the USA, among others. It is even possible that England could win the group with a loss, depending on other results.

Iran: Iran would advance to the knockout round with a win against the United States on Tuesday or a draw against the United States and a win for England or a draw against Wales. Iran would win the group with a win and an England loss or a draw against Wales. Iran would be eliminated with a loss to the US.

United States: The Americans will advance to the playoffs on Tuesday with a win over Iran. They would be eliminated with a loss or a draw against Iran. They could still win the group with a win over Iran, although that would probably require England losing to Wales.

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Wales: Wales will go out with a loss or draw against England. The Welsh need a win over England and a draw between Iran and the United States to have a realistic shot.

Group C standings and scenarios

Group D standings and scenarios

Group E standings and scenarios

Group F standings and scenarios

Group G standings and scenarios

Group H standings and scenarios

World Cup in Qatar

The last one: The U.S. is coming off a 0-0 draw with England on Friday in its second World Cup match, with a must-win group final against Iran. Read highlights from the Group B match.

Political protest: The looming backdrop of Iran’s World Cup campaign is a nationwide protest movement at home targeting its clerical leadership, with the inevitable and ongoing tension spilling over onto the pitch.

Featured: If on Tuesday it was Saudi Arabia over Argentina, now in the 73rd minute in Brazil over Serbia. Richarlison’s goal sealed Brazil’s 2-0 win.

Perspective: The beautiful game is good. Suitcases full of cash are better. Read Sally Jenkins on the human rights controversy in Qatar.


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