Belfast Telegraph

What does each team need to progress from the groups at the World Cup?

By Adam McKendry

As we prepare for the final round of World Cup group matches, here's our conclusive guide to what each team needs to reach the knockouts!

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Russia look to build on their stunning start (Adam Davy/PA)
 

Group A

As it stands: Russia 6, Uruguay 6, Egypt 0, Saudi Arabia 0

Final fixtures: Saudi Arabia v Egypt, Uruguay v Russia

Not too much to say about this group, Uruguay and Russia have both already made it to the last-16, so today's final group match between the two nations will determine who finishes top and who finishes second.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt will battle it out to avoid finishing last.

Prediction: Uruguay to win the group, Russia to finish second

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Cristiano Ronaldo is in ominous form at the World Cup (Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport)
 

Group B

How it stands: Portugal 4, Spain 4, Iran 3, Morocco 0

Final fixtures: Iran v Portugal, Spain v Morocco

Portugal and Spain currently hold all the aces in this group and, barring another major upset (which isn't out of the question), they should progress.

A win for one of Portugal or Spain would give them top spot in the group should the other fail to win, while a draw would see it come down to goal difference, which is currently tied.

However, Iran are still hanging on in third with three points and should they defeat the Portuguese then they would make it into the last-16 instead.

A win for Iran and a win for Morocco would eliminate Spain as well, whereas Portugal and Spain only need a point from their matches to progress regardless of the result in the other match.

Prediction: Spain to win the group, Portugal to finish second

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France have won both games in Russia (Mark Baker/AP)
 

Group C

How it stands: France 6, Denmark 4, Australia 1, Peru 0

Final fixtures: Australia v Peru, Denmark v France

If you want a group with a conspiracy theory, this is it, because France and Denmark can both secure their place in the last-16 with a draw.

France are already through and, provided Denmark don't beat them, they will top the group as well, while Australia have to beat Peru and hope France do the business in Moscow.

A Danish win would put them through as group winners - any other result will allow France to finish top - while a loss to Les Bleus would see Denmark needing Peru to do them a favour.

But a draw in Moscow would give both sides what they want. Wonder what the odds are on that?

Prediction: France to win the group, Denmark to finish second

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Croatia captain Luka Modric (left) hopes his side can take momentum into the match against Argentina (Petr David Josek/AP)
 

Group D

How it stands: Croatia 6, Nigeria 3, Iceland 1, Argentina 1

Final fixtures: Iceland v Croatia, Nigeria v Argentina

Unless there's a five-goal swing between Croatia and Nigeria, the Europeans have won this group already.

This is one of the most intriguing groups as Croatia know they can likely rest players against Iceland without any concerns, so that brings Iceland right into the mix.

Nigeria are at an advantage though, and a win over Lionel Messi's Argentina would put them into the last-16, while a draw would also have them in a commanding position.

Iceland have to win and hope Argentina can deny Nigeria the three points, but they will also have to better the Argies' result if they win. Anything less and they're going home early.

As for Argentina, they have to beat Nigeria and better Iceland's result to go through - a tough ask given how much they've struggled at this tournament so far. But they do have the quality to pull off a win out of nowhere.

This is one group where the result could be in flux right up to the final whistle.

Prediction: Croatia to win the group, Argentina to finish second

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Neymar will look to inspire Brazil to qualification against Serbia (Dmitri Lovetsky/AP)
 

Group E

How it stands: Brazil 4, Switzerland 4, Serbia 3, Costa Rica 0

Final fixtures: Serbia v Brazil, Switzerland v Costa Rica

Another very tight group that could go any way, with three sides still very much in the running.

In prime position are Brazil who, despite not impressing up to this point, can win the group outright if they defeat Serbia, while a draw will also guarantee their progression.

A Brazil loss, however, would put Serbia into the last-16, but it could still be enough for the Brazilians should Switzerland lose to Costa Rica.

If Brazil win then Switzerland are guaranteed to join them in the last-16 regardless of their own result.

The Swiss are in the same situation as Brazil - avoid defeat against Costa Rica and they will make it to the last-16. However, a loss and they will be relying on the other result to go their way.

A win for Switzerland would win them the group if Serbia beat Brazil, while Serbia would top the standings if they win and Switzerland fail to beat Costa Rica.

A draw in both games and Brazil win the group.

Prediction: Switzerland to win the group, Serbia to finish second

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Mexico’s Carlos Vela, left, celebrates after scoring against South Korea (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)
 

Group F

How it stands: Mexico 6, Germany 3, Sweden 3, South Korea 0

Final fixtures: South Korea v Germany, Mexico v Sweden

You feel bad for Mexico, who are the only side on six points not to have progressed yet. Still, avoiding defeat against Sweden will send them through, so that must be the aim.

Indeed, if Mexico get anything out of their game with Sweden then they'll win the group, but a loss leaves them needing a favour from South Korea.

If Germany win against South Korea by more than Sweden defeat Mexico then they will progress, while a Mexico win will put Germany into the last-16 should they avoid defeat against the Koreans.

A loss may even be enough for Germany should Mexico beat Sweden by more than Germany lose by to South Korea.

Sweden must defeat Mexico, and that would likely be enough to put them through, while they would win the group if Germany failed to beat South Korea as well.

A draw would also be enough for the Swedes if South Korea were to defeat the Germans in Kazan.

Amazingly, South Korea are still in with a shout in this group, but they need a big win over Germany and a similarly big win for Mexico over Sweden to progress, which seems unlikely.

Prediction: Germany to win the group, Sweden to finish second

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Harry Kane second two penalties for England against Panama (Adam Davy/PA)

Group G

How it stands: England 6, Belgium 6, Tunisia 0, Panama 0

Final fixtures: England v Belgium, Panama v Tunisia

Again, like Group A, a very straightforward group as England and Belgium face off in a battle for top spot knowing they're both already into the last-16.

Panama and Tunisia duel in Saransk for third.

Prediction: Belgium to win the group, England to finish second

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Keisuke Honda came off the bench to score a second equaliser for Japan (Mark Baker/AP)

Group H

How it stands: Japan 4, Senegal 4, Colombia 3, Poland 0

Final fixtures: Japan v Poland, Senegal v Colombia

Another hugely tight group that could come right down to the wire on Thursday.

Wins or draws for both Japan and Senegal would have them into the last-16, while Japan could afford to lose to Poland and still progress provided Senegal defeat Colombia.

A win for Colombia over Senegal would put them into the last-16, and potentially as group winners if Japan fail to beat Poland, while a draw could also be enough for the South Americans if Poland beat Japan.

A win for either Japan or Senegal, and a loss for the other, would have the winners finish top of the group. Should both draw then it would come down to fair play as they are tied on goal difference.

Senegal could also win the group with a draw against Colombia and a Japan loss, which would also send the Colombians into the last-16.

Prediction: Japan to win the group, Colombia to finish second

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Belgium boast a star-studded squad (Matthias Schrader/AP)

LAST-16

So, off the back of our predictions, how will the last-16 look?

Uruguay v Portugal

France v Argentina

Switzerland v Sweden

Belgium v Colombia

Spain v Russia

Croatia v Denmark

Germany v Serbia

Japan v England

What do you think? Do you agree? Let us know!

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