FIFA – Which side needs what to qualify? Permutations explained

Who needs what to make it through to the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™? And who could soon be on their way home?

With Matchday 2 now under way, 1ACE has analysed all the key scenarios going forward.


Group A

Ecuador-Senegal (29 November, 18:00 local time)
Netherlands-Qatar (29 November, 18:00 local time)

  • Netherlands need to win or draw to qualify. They will still qualify if they lose, provided Ecuador beat Senegal.
  • Ecuador need to win or draw to qualify. They remain in contention to qualify if they lose and Qatar beat Netherlands.
  • Senegal need to win to qualify but remain in contention if they draw and Qatar beat Netherlands.
  • Qatar are eliminated.

Group B

Wales-England (29 November, 22:00 local time)
IR Iran-USA (29 November, 22:00 local time)

  • England will qualify with a win or draw. Depending on goal difference, the Three Lions could also make it through in defeat.
  • Wales must win to have any chance of progressing.
  • IR Iran are guaranteed to progress if they beat USA.
  • A draw will also take the Iranians through provided Wales do not beat England (in which case goal difference will come into play).
  • For USA, it’s simple: win and they are through. Lose or draw and they will be heading home.

Group C

Saudi Arabia v Mexico (30 November, 22:00 local time)
Poland v Argentina (30 November, 22:00 local time)

  • Poland will be through with a win or a draw, but would be knocked out by a defeat coupled with a Saudi Arabia victory. If Poland lose and Saudi Arabia draw, the two teams will have to be separated by goal difference. If Poland lose and Mexico win, their fate will also be decided on goal difference.
  • Argentina must win to be sure of progressing, while a draw would be enough if Mexico and Saudi Arabia also draw. However, a draw coupled with a Saudi Arabia victory would see La Albiceleste knocked out, and a draw coupled with a Mexico win takes the group to goal difference. Argentina are out if they lose.
  • Saudi Arabia will reach the Round of 16 if they win. A draw would be enough if Poland defeat Argentina, but if both matches are tied, they will go out. Should Argentina defeat Poland and Saudi Arabia draw, progress will be decided on goal difference between the European and Middle East sides. Defeat would see them knocked out.
  • Mexico must win to have any chance of staying in the competition. They will be sure to go through if Poland win. If they win and Argentina and Poland draw, it will come down to goal difference with Argentina. Should Argentina win, goal difference will be required to separate Mexico and Poland.

Group D

Tunisia-France (30 November, 18:00 local time)
Australia-Denmark (30 November, 18:00 local time)

  • France are already qualified and will top the group unless they lose to Tunisia and Australia beat Denmark, which would leave them tied on six points with the Socceroos.
  • Victory will see Australia qualify, while a draw would be enough unless Tunisia beat France, which would see the North African side go through on goal difference.
  • Denmark must win against Australia and, if they do so, will be certain to qualify unless Tunisia beat France, which would leave them tied on four points with the Carthage Eagles.
  • Tunisia must beat France and hope Denmark avoid defeat by Australia to be in contention to qualify.
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Group E

Costa Rica-Germany (1 December, 22:00 local time)
Japan-Spain (1 December, 22:00 local time)

  • Spain will qualify for the Round of 16 with a win or a draw. Defeat to Japan will leave them relying on their currently superior goal difference to progress, unless Costa Rica beat Germany, in which case Luis Enrique’s side will be out.
  • Japan can go through with victory against Spain, while a draw, coupled with deadlock in the Costa Rica v Germany clash, will ensure they progress. They will go out if they are beaten by Spain, or if the match ends in a draw and Costa Rica triumph against Germany. Goal difference will be required to decide their fate if they draw and Germany are victorious.
  • Costa Rica can reach the last 16 by defeating Germany. A draw for Luis Fernando Suarez’s side would also guarantee a spot in the next phase if Spain overcome Japan, but if the current group leaders are beaten then goal difference comes into play. A draw in both games or a defeat for Costa Rica puts them out.
  • Germany must pick up three points to stay in contention. Victory over Costa Rica coupled with a win for Spain against Japan will see them qualify. A draw between Luis Enrique’s side and the Samurai Blue, or a win for Japan, would take the equation to goal difference. All other results would see Hansi Flick’s men out of the competition.

Group F

Canada-Morocco (1 December, 18:00 local time)
Croatia-Belgium (1 December, 18:00 local time)

  • Croatia are through if they win or draw. Defeat would leave them needing eliminated Canada to overcome Morocco, in which case goal difference would be required to separate Zlatko Dalic’s side from the Atlas Lions.
  • Morocco are through if they win or draw. Defeat would leave them needing Belgium to overcome Croatia, in which case goal difference would be required to determine if they or the 2018 runners-up progress to the last 16.
  • Belgium will qualify for the Round of 16 with victory over Croatia. Defeat will see them knocked out. A draw will only be enough if Morocco are beaten by Canada, with goal difference then set to determine where Roberto Martinez’s side and Walid Regragui’s outfit finish in Group F.
  • Canada are already eliminated after losing their opening two fixtures.

Group G

Cameroon-Serbia (28 November, 13:00 local time)
Brazil-Switzerland (28 November, 19:00 local time)

  • A defeat would knock Serbia out if Brazil fail to win against Switzerland.
  • A win would Brazil see through if Cameroon fail to win against Serbia.
  • A defeat would knock Cameroon out if Switzerland fail to win against Brazil.
  • A win would see Switzerland through if Serbia fail to win against Cameroon.

Group H

Korea Republic-Ghana (28 November, 16:00 local time)
Portugal-Uruguay (28 November, 22:00 local time)

  • A win would see Portugal into the Round of 16.
  • A defeat would put Ghana out.
  • Uruguay and Korea Republic can neither qualify nor be eliminated on Matchday 2.

Tiebreaker information

If two or more teams in the same group are equal on points after the completion of the group stage, the following criteria, in the order below, shall be applied to determine the ranking:

• Step 1:
(a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
(b) superior goal difference in all group matches;
(c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.

• Step 2:
If two or more teams in the same group are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be determined as follows:
(d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
(e) superior goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
(f) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
(g) highest team conduct score relating to the number of yellow and red cards obtained;
(h) drawing of lots by FIFA.


This list is for information purposes only and does not contain every potential scenario. It is without guarantee and requires definitive confirmation from FIFA.

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