Why final group-stage matches are played at the same time

Why final group-stage matches are played at the same time
Why final group-stage matches are played at the same time
Author

28 June, 2018

Portugal need at least a point from their final match against Iran to guarantee a place in the knockout round. A speciality of the winger's that he has developed during the course of his career, the trivela sees him sees him strike the ball with the outside of his boot, causing it to swerve and making it hard for opposing goalkeepers to save.

If the Spanish lose they can still go through if Portugal suffer a heavier defeat against Iran, or if that match is a low-scoring draw and and Spain lose by no more than one goal.

Hence, since 1986, the World Cup has been holding final groupstage matches at the same time to avoid fixing.

The story of this World Cup has been the play of teams who were not expected to do well, against teams who expected to walk over them.

"I struck the ball well".

There are plenty of other scenarios which could play out. If both Sweden and Germany win it is possible for the Swedes to advance on goal difference.

A Denmark loss coupled with an Australia win over Peru, who have yet to earn a point, could see the Socceroos sneak through on goal difference. If that were to occur, the only way Iceland would topple the Nigerians would be to beat Croatia - good luck - by multiple goals.

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Switzerland and Brazil only need a draw draws to go through, while it's a must-win for Serbia against Brazil on Thursday at 6am. Australia aren't in the worst spot in that regard, but they still have to find a way through a proud nation in Peru who want to win a match at their first World Cup since 1982.

A strong case can be made, though, that some of the most dramatic moments will play out over the next four days, perpetrated in some cases by teams that will head home by the end of the week.

France, on six points, top the group and have secured passage to the next round but will need a point against second-placed Denmark (four points) in their final match to clinch first place. Mexico need a win or draw to top the group. Tying lowly newcomers Iceland and then losing badly to Croatia has them hanging by a thread to advance. Mexico is battling Sweden and Germany for the group.

Since Morocco (zero points) have already been eliminated, Portugal and Spain (with four points each) and Iran (three) are left to compete for the two spots. It can also move on if it ties with Mexico AND South Korea beats Germany, or IF Germany and South Korea ends in a tie AND Sweden finishes ahead of those teams on countback.

The top two teams in the group will face either England or Belgium. England have two yellows and Belgium have picked up three.

Sweden are guaranteed to qualify if they better Germany's result. Holland, meanwhile, won all three of their group matches to reach the last 16 with Japan in second place. Colombia was shocked by Japan and face an elimination match against a Senegal side looking to advance to the knockout stages for only the second time in their history.


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