The final round of the World Cup group stage begins on Tuesday, with just 16 matches remaining until the knockouts get underway on December 3.
Hosts Qatar last week became the first nation to be knocked out of the tournament, having fallen to back-to-back defeats against Senegal and Ecuador in Group A.
Canada joined Qatar on Sunday, with their 4-1 defeat to Croatia ensuring an early exit in what is their first participation at a World Cup since 1986.
Just 16 group stage matches remain at the World Cup with the final round of fixtures starting on Tuesday
Meanwhile, just three nations have secured a place in the last-16 to date, being France, Brazil and Portugal, though Gareth Southgate’s England are certainly in a position to experiment in their final Group B clash against Wales.
Germany, Argentina and Belgium, three sides initially expected to go far in the tournament, are all at genuine risk of bowing out in the group stages.
Sportsmail takes you through the state-of-play in all eight groups below.
Group A: Holland, Ecuador, Senegal, Qatar
In Group A, it’s a three-way shootout. Host nation Qatar is already eliminated – but every other team can still qualify. Holland, facing Qatar, are in the best position, knowing a point will see them qualify.
However, they have to better Ecuador’s result against Senegal to guarantee top spot – and avoid a potential round of 16 clash with England, which awaits the second-placed side in this group if the Three Lions come top in Group B.
Holland enter their final Group A clash knowing a point will see them progress to the knockouts
Hosts Qatar became the first nation to be eliminated from the World Cup after two defeats
African champions Senegal must beat Ecuador to progress, or draw and hope Qatar beat Holland by three goals – which is highly improbable.
For Ecuador, a draw will see them qualify, and bettering Holland’s result will see them clinch top spot.
Results and fixtures:
- Qatar 0-2 Ecuador, November 20
- Senegal 0-2 Holland, November 21
- Qatar 1-3 Senegal, November 25
- Holland 1-1 Ecuador, November 25
- Ecuador vs Senegal: 3pm GMT, Tuesday November 29
- Holland vs Qatar: 3pm GMT, Tuesday November 29
Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
Group B is going down to the wire, with all four teams still able to go through on the final day. England, sat in top spot, are relatively comfortable, though the job is not quite done yet.
The Three Lions need only a draw against Wales on Tuesday night to progress, while a win would guarantee them top spot. Even a 3-0 defeat to Wales would see Southgate’s side progress. A 4-0 defeat, alongside one of Iran and USA claiming victory in their fixture, would see them bow out, however.
England are all-but through in Group B, needing to avoid a 4-0 defeat to Wales to progress
Harry Kane is still looking for his first goal in Qatar with England looking to wrap up Group B
As for England’s impending opponents, Wales, it’s not quite as straightforward. Rob Page’s side need to win to stand any chance of qualifying – although even then it could still be difficult to advance. They will qualify should they beat England 4-0 – but if they win by a lesser margin, they will need Iran vs USA to end as a draw.
USA, meanwhile, have to win; there is no other option. Iran, though, could draw and still go through, as long as Wales don’t beat England. Any win and they are through – and as group leaders, if England don’t beat Wales.
Results and fixtures:
- England 6-2 Iran, November 21
- USA 1-1 Wales, November 21
- Wales 0-2 Iran, November 25
- England 0-0 USA, November 25
- Iran vs USA: 7pm GMT, November 29
- Wales vs England: 7pm GMT, November 29
Group C: Poland, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico
Every team can still qualify – it’s all to play for! Mexico will qualify if they beat Saudi Arabia by a sizeable margin of four or more goals, or if they win (by any margin) and Poland win. A win by four goals or more could see them finish above Argentina.
Group leaders Poland are in pole position to qualify and know a draw would see them through. They would even qualify on goal difference with a narrow loss if Saudi Arabia and Mexico draw. They will top the group with a win, and can do so with a draw if Saudi Arabia fail to win.
All four teams are still able to qualify in a highly entertaining Group C, with more magic from Lionel Messi potentially required for Argentina
Lionel Messi proved to be the difference in Argentina’s crucial win over Mexico on Saturday
For Argentina, a win will guarantee qualification. A draw will be enough if Saudi Arabia also draw against Mexico, or if Mexico win by a margin of less than four goals. If they win, Saudi Arabia would need to thrash Mexico to overtake them into first.
Herve Renard’s Saudi side will progress with a win. If Poland and Argentina draw, three points would see them finish top too. A Saudi draw could be enough: they would need either a Poland win, or Argentina to win by four goals or more.
Results and fixtures:
- Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia, November 22
- Mexico 0-0 Poland, November 22
- Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia, November 26
- Argentina 2-0 Mexico, November 26
- Poland vs Argentina: 7pm GMT, Wednesday November 30
- Saudi Arabia vs Mexico: 7pm GMT, Wednesday November 30
Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
There are three teams battling for qualification to the knockouts in Group D, with France already safely through having beaten Australia and Denmark in their opening two encounters. They aren’t yet confirmed as group winners, but it’s highly unlikely Australia will overturn a six-goal swing.
Australia, meanwhile, will join France in the last 16 should they beat Denmark on Wednesday afternoon. Graham Arnold’s side could qualify for the next round if they hold Denmark to a draw, though they would be relying on France getting a result against Tunisia.
Australia, Denmark and Tunisia are still battling for a place in Group D with France already through
France have started their defence of the World Cup with two wins from two in Group D
If Australia and Denmark draw, while Tunisia win, second place will be decided first by goal difference, then goals scored and finally head-to-head record. In this scenario, given Tunisia currently have a better goal difference than Australia, it’s Tunisia who would go through.
Sticking with Tunisia, and they can only progress with a win. Even then, they would have to hope Australia don’t beat Denmark. A draw between Denmark and Australia would then see them progress, meanwhile. However, should both Denmark and Tunisia win, it could get complicated.
Both sides currently have the same goal difference, meaning whoever wins by a bigger margin would go through. But if they win by the same margin, the number of goals scored comes into play. Their head-to-head record, being a draw, would then be irrelevant, meaning disciplinary record could be the final metric needed.
Results and fixtures :
- Denmark 0-0 Tunisia, November 22
- France 4-1 Australia, November 22
- Tunisia 0-1 Australia, November 26
- France 2-1 Denmark, November 26
- Tunisia vs France: 3pm GMT, November 30
- Australia vs Denmark: 3pm GMT, November 30
Group E: Spain, Japan, Costa Rica, Germany
Like Group C, all four sides can qualify from Group E. Spain will qualify if they avoid defeat against Japan, and even a loss will be almost certainly be enough if Costa Rica fail to beat Germany. They will top the group if they win, and a draw will see them finish first if Costa Rica do not beat Germany.
If Japan win, they will qualify, and top the group unless Costa Rica overturn a six-goal deficit (which is highly unlikely). A draw will be enough if Costa Rica and Germany also draw, or if Germany win but can’t overturn a two-goal deficit.
Spain are in pole position to progress from Group E, while Germany are at risk of going out
Even three points for Germany might not be enough in their final game against Costa Rica
For Costa Rica, the equation is simple: win and they’re through. Draw, and they progress if Spain beat Japan. If Spain and Japan draw, a win will see them top the group.
Germany must win to progress, and even three points may not be enough.
A win will be enough for Germany if: Spain beat Japan, Spain lose and Die Mannschaft overturn an eight-goal deficit (highly unlikely), Germany win by two or more goals and Spain draw against Japan, or Spain draw against Japan and Japan score fewer goals than Germany.
Results and fixtures:
- Germany 1-2 Japan, November 23
- Spain 7-0 Costa Rica, November 23
- Japan 0-1 Costa Rica, November 27
- Spain 1-1 Germany, November 27
- Japan vs Spain: 7pm GMT, Thursday December 1
- Costa Rica vs Germany: 7pm GMT, Thursday December 1
Group F: Croatia, Morocco, Belgium, Canada
Belgium are at risk of elimination in a tight Group F. Croatia qualify if they avoid defeat against Roberto Martinez’ men and even a loss would be enough if Morocco lose by the same margin or more.
They will top the group if they match Morocco’s result or their winning margin.
Belgium are at genuine risk of elimination in Group F having won only one from two games
Tensions between the players spilled over following their shock 2-0 defeat to Morocco
Morocco also progress if they avoid defeat against already-eliminated Canada. A loss will be enough if Croatia beat Belgium, or if Croatia and Belgium draw and Morocco’s loss is by two goals or less. To top the group, they must better Croatia’s result or winning margin.
For Belgium, it is likely they will need a win. Three points would see them qualify, and top the group if Morocco do not win. A draw would only be enough if Morocco lose by three goals or more, although that seems unlikely.
Results and fixtures:
- Morocco 0-0 Croatia, November 23
- Belgium 1-0 Canada, November 23
- Croatia 4-1 Canada, November 27
- Belgium 0-2 Morocco, November 27
- Croatia vs Belgium: 3pm GMT, Thursday December 1
- Canada vs Morocco: 3pm GMT, Thursday December 1
Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Cameroon, Serbia
Brazil have safely made it to the knockouts as they bid for a first World Cup triumph for 20 years. They still need a point against Cameroon on Friday to confirm their spot as Group G winners, though even a defeat could well be enough.
Currently in pole position to join Brazil are Switzerland in second. A win over Serbia on Friday will see them progress to the last 16. A draw could also be enough, assuming Cameroon don’t beat Brazil by two goals or more.
Brazil are through to the knockouts but the second spot is still very much up for grabs in Group G
Neymar is hopeful of returning to the Brazil side in the round of 16 after suffering an injury against Serbia
Cameroon have to beat Brazil to qualify. However, even then it’s not entirely straightforward. If Switzerland and Serbia draw, Cameroon would need to beat Brazil by two goals to qualify – or by one, assuming Switzerland don’t exceed their total of goals scored.
Should Serbia beat Switzerland, they need to ensure their goal difference – currently one better – remains that way at least. If both win and end up on the same goal difference, Serbia will go through on goals scored.
Finally, Serbia have to beat Switzerland to go through. They also need to better Cameroon’s result against Brazil, as stated above.
Results and fixtures:
- Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon, November 24
- Brazil 2-0 Serbia, November 24
- Cameroon 3-3 Serbia, November 28
- Brazil 1-0 Switzerland, November 28
- Serbia vs Switzerland: 7pm GMT, December 2
- Cameroon vs Brazil: 7pm GMT, December 2
Group H: Portugal, Ghana, South Korea, Uruguay
Group H is another where all four teams can still progress to the knockouts with one game remaining, though we already know Portugal are safely through following their two wins over Uruguay and Ghana.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s side can only be caught by Ghana in the race for top spot. Portugal would need to lose to South Korea, with Ghana beating Uruguay and overturning a three goal-deficit in terms of goal difference for that to happen.
Portugal are safely through to the knockouts, but Ghana, South Korea and Uruguay are still battling for a last-16 spot
Cristiano Ronaldo will lead his side at the knockouts in what is likely to be his final World Cup
Ghana, meanwhile, need a victory to guarantee a spot in the knockouts. A draw could be enough, but only if South Korea don’t beat Portugal – and do so by two goals.
South Korea need a win if they are to progress. If Ghana and Uruguay draw, they will need to win by two goals or more to leapfrog Ghana into second place. And if Uruguay win, they will need to ensure their goal difference remains better. If they end up with a shared goal difference, South Korea would progress on goals scored.
As for Uruguay, again they can only progress with a win. They would have to hope South Korea don’t beat Portugal. And, as stated, if both sides win, Uruguay simply need to win by two goals more than South Korea.
Results and fixtures:
- Uruguay 0-0 South Korea, November 24
- Portugal 3-2 Ghana, November 24
- South Korea 2-3 Ghana, November 28
- Portugal 2-0 Uruguay, November 28
- South Korea vs Portugal: 3pm GMT, December 2
- Ghana vs Uruguay: 3pm GMT, December 2