We’re reaching the business end of the World Cup group stage, Groups A and B are done and dusted. So far, France, Portugal, England, Senegal, the USA, the Netherlands and Brazil have all booked their place in the round of 16. Nine more will join on the final day of each group. Alongside South Africa, Qatar is the only World Cup host to ever fail to make it through the group stage. Let’s take a look at who can join the trio in the final 16 and how they get there.
Looking at the tiebreakers, the start is easy as the team with the most points advances. When two teams are equal on points, their total goal difference is at stake. If they still cannot be shared, the team that scored the most goals next is the team that advances. The rules are then reapplied only with the head-to-head match between the two teams that are tied. So, after the total points in these games, next comes the goal difference in the head-to-head game and the goals scored. Finally, if they make it to the end and cannot be split, it goes to the fair play system.
Get your daily WM fix. Sign up here for our new newsletter covering the beautiful game in all its glory, including daily updates on the World Cup.
Please tick the opt-in box to confirm that you wish to opt-in.
Thanks for registering!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
The fair play system sees the team with the fewest penalties in games. So a team loses one point per yellow card, three points for each red card caused by a second yellow card, four points for a direct red card and if a yellow is followed by a direct red card this counts as five points.
Listen and follow below In Soccer We Trust: A CBS Sports Soccer Podcast where your three favorite former USMNT players cover everything you want to know about the United States Men’s National Team during the World Cup in Qatar.
Here are the groups including all groups that have played two games
- Netherlands: group winner.
- Senegal: Second place
- Ecuador: eliminated
- Qatar: eliminated
Interested in more World Cup coverage? Listen and follow below House of Championsa daily football podcast from CBS Sports bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, recommendations and more during the big games in Qatar.
- England: group winner.
- United States: Second place.
- Iran: eliminated.
- Wales: eliminated.
- Poland: Can win the group and qualify for the round of 16 with a win over Argentina. Can also qualify for the round of 16 with a draw, but would then only win the group if Saudi Arabia draws or loses against Mexico.
- Argentina: Can qualify for round of 16 with a win over Poland. Can also qualify for the round of 16 with a draw and a draw against Saudi Arabia or a loss by less than three goals against Mexico. Can win the group with a win and a draw or a loss in Saudi Arabia.
- Saudi Arabia: Can qualify for round of 16 with a win over Mexico. Can also qualify with a draw and loss vs Argentina or a loss and Argentina loss by one more goal. (i.e. Saudi Arabia loses 1-0 and Argentina loses 2-0, would Saudi Arabia advance
- Mexico: Can qualify for round of 16 with one win and one by Poland over Argentina. Can also qualify by winning and Equalizing the goal difference advantage over Poland/Argentina while Argentina defeats or draws Poland.
- France: Qualified for the Round of 16. Can win the group with a win or draw against Tunisia or a draw or loss against Australia.
- Australia: Can qualify for round of 16 with a win against Denmark. Can also qualify with a tie and a tie or a loss in Tunisia.
- Denmark: Can qualify for round of 16 with a win against Australia.
- Tunisia: A win against France and Australia’s loss against Denmark can qualify for the round of 16 where Tunisia wins by more goals than Denmark. Tunisia can also qualify for the round of 16 with a win over France and a draw with Australia.
- Spain: Finish in last 16 with a win or draw against Japan. Can win group with a win against Japan. Can progress even with a loss to Japan and a draw between Costa Rica and Germany.
- Japan: Place in the last 16 with a win against Spain. Can also reach the round of 16 with a draw against Spain and a draw between Costa Rica and Germany. Can win the group with a win against Spain and a better goal difference than Costa Rica if they beat Germany.
- Costa Rica: Can advance with a win over Germany and a loss to Spain/Japan or a draw between the two. Can progress even with a draw and loss against Japan. Can win the group with a win, a loss to Spain and catch up the six-goal difference between Japan.
- Germany: Can qualify for the last 16 with a win and a loss against Spain or Japan. Can also advance with a win by more than a goal and a draw in Japan.
- Croatia: Able to reach the round of 16 with a win against Belgium. Can also go through with a draw against Belgium and Morocco losing to Canada. Can win the group by improving Morocco’s result.
- Morocco: Able to advance to the Round of 16 with a win or draw against Canada. Can also reach the last 16 with a loss and a loss against Belgium or a loss, a Belgian win and a better goal difference than Croatia. Can win the group by improving Croatia’s result and closing the one-goal difference.
- Belgium: Able to reach the round of 16 with a win over Croatia. Can advance by more than three goals even with a draw and loss to Morocco.
- Canada: Eliminated from the round of 16.
- Brazil: Down to the last 16, the group can win with a win or draw against Cameroon or a defeat for Switzerland.
- Switzerland: Able to finish in last 16 with win or draw against Serbia. Can win the group with a win, a loss to Brazil and come back on goal difference of three.
- Cameroon: Able to finish in the last 16 with a win against Brazil and a loss against Switzerland. Can also finish in the last 16 with a win against Brazil by more than a goal and a draw between Switzerland and Serbia.
- Serbia: Able to finish in the last 16 with a win against Switzerland and a loss against Cameroon.
- Portugal: Reach last 16. Can win group with win or draw against South Korea or loss against Ghana.
- Ghana: Able to finish in the last 16 with a win or draw against Uruguay. In case of a draw, they need to have a better goal difference than South Korea if they beat Portugal.
- South Korea: Can finish in the last 16 by beating Portugal and losing to Ghana or draw against Uruguay.
- Uruguay: Can finish last 16 by beating Ghana and losing to South Korea or draw against Portugal. If South Korea wins together with Uruguay, there is a tie-break.