NY Times describes the path to the Round of 16 for World Cup as of November 29, 2022


World Cup 2022:
How Teams Can Advance to the Round of 16

Updated 5:38 p.m. E.S.T.



Netherlands 2, Qatar 0

Senegal 2, Ecuador 1


 United States5

England 3, Wales 0

United States 1, Iran 0


 Saudi Arabia3

Poland v. ArgentinaWednesday, 2 p.m. E.S.T.

Saudi Arabia v. MexicoWednesday, 2 p.m. E.S.T.



Tunisia v. FranceWednesday, 10 a.m. E.S.T.

Australia v. DenmarkWednesday, 10 a.m. E.S.T.


 Costa Rica3

Costa Rica v. GermanyThursday, 2 p.m. E.S.T.

Japan v. SpainThursday, 2 p.m. E.S.T.



Canada v. MoroccoThursday, 10 a.m. E.S.T.

Croatia v. BelgiumThursday, 10 a.m. E.S.T.



Cameroon 3, Serbia 3

Brazil 1, Switzerland 0


 South Korea1

Ghana 3, South Korea 2

Portugal 2, Uruguay 0

We have charts below detailing each scenario for how teams can advance to the World Cup knockout stage in their final group games. Green cells mean go (advancement), and pink cells mean it’s over. Dark green means winning the group. You can click or hover over each cell for the outcome of a specific score scenario.

Teams get three points for a win and one point for a draw. The first tiebreaker is goal differential — the total number of goals scored in group play minus the goals allowed. The next tiebreaker is the most goals scored in group play. Yellow cells mean it will depend on team conduct scores derived from the number of yellow and red cards issued.

Group A


Netherlands »

The Netherlands finished group play with a decisive 2-0 victory over Qatar, ending on top of Group A. It will face the U.S. — the second-place finisher in Group B — in the Round of 16.

Senegal »

Senegal edged out Ecuador, 2-1, with a 70th-minute go-ahead goal by Kalidou Koulibaly to clinch the group’s second spot, behind the Netherlands. It will now face the winner of Group B, England, in the knockout round.

Ecuador »

All Ecuador needed to advance to the Round of 16 was a tie against Senegal. It did not get it, losing, 2-1, and finishing third in the group.

Qatar »

Qatar lost its third consecutive game, finishing last in Group A. It exits the World Cup with the worst record of a host country, scoring one goal in three games.

Group B

 United States1202115

England »

England cruised against Wales, 3-0, and will play Senegal, the second-place team in Group A, in the knockout stage. Its only bump in the road in the group stage was a draw against the United States. It routed Iran, 6-2, in its opener.

United States »

After defeating Iran, the United States will face the the Netherlands, the winner of Group A and the eighth-ranked team in the world. The Americans needed a victory against Iran — a draw wouldn’t do to advance to the Round of 16 — and Christian Pulisic’s first-half goal was the difference. Pulisic was injured while scoring, and it’s unclear if he’ll be ready to play against the Dutch.

Iran »

After a brutal 6-2 loss in its opener against England and a bounce-back 2-0 victory over Wales, Iran needed only a tie against the U.S. to advance. But a 1-0 loss to the Americans ended its tournament.

Wales »

A late rally and 1-1 tie against the U.S. in the opener proved to be the highlight for Wales, which lost to Iran and then lost its finale against England in exiting its first World Cup since 1958.

Group C

 Saudi Arabia10123-13

Poland »

Poland sits atop Group C with four points and will advance to the knockout stage with a win or a draw against Argentina. Even if it loses to Argentina, it still has a chance of advancing in some scenarios in which Mexico and Saudi Arabia tie or Mexico wins, depending on tiebreakers like goal differential.

Argentina »

Argentina now sits in second place in Group C, following up its shocking loss to Saudi Arabia with a win over Mexico. Argentina will advance to the knockout stage if it beats Poland in its last group game, but even a draw could do it — as long as the other group game is a draw or if Mexico wins but not by a hefty goal differential.

Saudi Arabia »

Saudi Arabia followed up its monumental upset of Argentina with a loss, to Poland, complicating its hopes of a berth in the Round of 16. If Saudi Arabia beats Mexico in its next game, it will advance, but it could also go through with a draw if Poland wins, or if Argentina wins (but that scenario would come down to goal differential).

Mexico »

Mexico’s chances of advancing are narrow but not impossible: If Mexico beats Saudi Arabia and Poland beats Argentina, it will head to the Round of 16. If Mexico wins but Argentina beats Poland, Mexico would need a hefty goal differential to move ahead of Poland for the second-place spot in Group C. Mexico could also advance if it wins and the other group game is a tie, but again it would depend on tiebreakers like goal differential.

Group D


France »

France defeated Denmark, 2-1, and became the first team to clinch a berth in the Round of 16. It will almost certainly advance as the top seed in the group, even if it loses its final match of group play against Tunisia.

Australia »

After dropping its first game, 4-1, to France, Australia bounced back in its second to defeat Tunisia, 1-0, and to keep its hopes alive of a berth in the Round of 16. It is now in second place in the group. A win over Denmark would see the Australians through. A tie would suffice if France beats or ties Tunisia.

Denmark »

Denmark lost, 2-1, to France in its second match of group play and now needs help to advance. It faces Australia in its third match. It must win that match; a tie will not do. Even then, it would also need France to win or tie against Tunisia. If Denmark and Tunisia win their final matches, Denmark could win on goal differential. Right now the two countries are tied on that measure.

Tunisia »

Tunisia lost, 1-0, to Australia on Saturday and has yet to score a goal in this World Cup. It’s at the bottom of Group D and plays the reigning World Cup champions in its third match. Yet it can still advance. Its simplest path is to defeat France and have Australia and Denmark tie. If Tunisia wins and Denmark wins, Tunisia could advance via tiebreakers like goal differential.

Group E

 Costa Rica10117-63

Spain »

Spain tied Germany, 1-1, and sits atop Group E. If it beats or ties Japan, it is assured of a spot in the Round of 16. It will be eliminated if it loses to Japan and Costa Rica defeats Germany.

Japan »

Japan followed up its stunning win over Germany with a surprising loss to Costa Rica. It will advance if it beats Spain and also if both final group games end in a draw. There are also some score scenarios where Japan can advance with a draw if Germany defeats Costa Rica.

Costa Rica »

Costa Rica stunned Japan, 1-0, scoring in the 81st minute on its first shot on goal. It will advance if it beats Germany. It will also advance with a draw against Germany if Spain defeats Japan.

Germany »

Germany kept its hopes alive with a late goal against Spain, good enough for a 1-1 draw. It’s in last place in the group, but it’s in a surprisingly strong position to advance to the Round of 16. It advances if it beats Costa Rica and Spain beats Japan. There are other paths if Japan wins or if Spain and Japan tie, but the simplest path for Germany is to win and for Spain to win.

Group F


Croatia »

Croatia beat Canada, 4-1, and now shares first place with Morocco in Group F (and is ahead on goal differential). It plays Belgium next and needs only a point to advance. It can also advance in some score scenarios if it loses and if Canada defeats Morocco.

Morocco »

Morocco stunned Belgium, 2-0, blowing Group F wide open in the process. It can now advance merely with a tie against Canada. It will advance with a loss to Canada if Croatia beats Belgium. It can also advance with a loss combined with other outcomes of the Belgium-Croatia game, but that would depend on goal differential and other tiebreakers.

Belgium »

Belgium lost to Morocco, 2-0, and will almost certainly need a win against Croatia to advance to the Round of 16.

Canada »

After scoring the fastest opening goal of this World Cup, Canada fell, 4-1, to Croatia and can no longer advance.

Group G


Brazil »

Brazil defeated Switzerland, 1-0, and became the second team to clinch a berth in the Round of 16. It will almost certainly be the top seed in Group G, even if it loses its next match, against Cameroon.

Switzerland »

Switzerland lost, 1-0, to Brazil but has a clear path to the Round of 16. If it beats Serbia, it will advance no matter what happens in the Brazil-Cameroon match. Switzerland can also advance with a tie against Serbia if Brazil wins or ties its match against Cameroon.

Cameroon »

Cameroon and Serbia drew, 3-3, leaving Cameroon with a narrow path to the Round of 16. Unfortunately, that path leads through Brazil, one of the strongest teams in the tournament. Cameroon will need to win that match, but even that may not be enough. If Serbia and Cameroon both win, tiebreakers like goal differential will separate them. Cameroon will almost certainly advance if it wins and Serbia and Switzerland tie.

Serbia »

Serbia’s path to the Round of 16 is a mirror of Cameroon’s. Both teams are 0-1-1 and need a win in their last match. Serbia will play Switzerland. If Serbia and Cameroon both win, it will depend on tiebreakers like goal differential. Serbia will advance if it wins and Brazil wins or ties against Cameroon.


Group H

 South Korea01123-11

Portugal »

Portugal beat Uruguay, 2-0, and clinched a spot in the Round of 16 regardless of what happens in its final match, against South Korea. A victory or a tie would mean winning the group; a narrow loss could also result in a No. 1 seed.

Ghana »

Ghana kept its hopes alive with a 3-2 victory over South Korea. Ghana will advance if it beats Uruguay and could also advance with a draw if Portugal wins or ties its game.

South Korea »

South Korea lost to Ghana, 3-2, leaving it a narrow path to the Round of 16. It must beat Portugal to have a chance, but with Portugal already assured of advancing, South Korea could have the edge in motivation. Even with a victory, though, South Korea could lose out in various tiebreaking scenarios.

Uruguay »

Uruguay lost to Portugal, 2-0, but for a team that hasn’t scored a single goal, it has a reasonable path to the Round of 16. It needs a win in its final match, against Ghana, and help in the form of a Portugal win or tie against South Korea. It can also advance if it wins and South Korea beats Portugal, but to advance via a tiebreaker it would need a decisive victory against Ghana.

Designed and produced by Michael Beswetherick, Asmaa Elkeurti, Andrew Fischer, Josh Katz, Allison McCann, Rachel Shorey, Rory Smith and Urvashi Uberoy.

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