The lie of the land ahead of climactic group games


Eight of the 32 teams have been eliminated, with the other 24 teams either battling for a place in the knockout stages or to see which team tops each group.

France, Mexico, Croatia, Russia, Uruguay, England and Belgium are already through to the Round of 16, though no side has first place guaranteed yet. Uruguay need to win to take the group. Spain play Morocco in Kaliningrad while Iran take on Portugal from Saransk.

Spain: Will qualify unless they lose to Morocco, by more than one goal and Portugal fail to beat Iran. Should Senegal and Japan both draw with the same score, they will be split by fair play; Senegal have five yellow cards to Japan's three. Portugal will also advance through the group stage if they earn a draw. Australia must win to stand a chance, but surely fear that France and Denmark will play out a tepid draw like the Disgrace of Gijón.

A win would take Serbia through and a draw could be enough if Switzerland lose by two. Can advance with a draw if Croatia beats or draws Iceland.

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The Atletico Madrid defender, who scored Uruguay's opening goal of the World Cup in the 1-0 win over Egypt, has been sidelined with a thigh injury.

Advances with a win over Argentina. Get the abacus out.

Costa Rica have been eliminated but when Brazil face Serbia and Switzerland play Costa Rica at 20:00 on Wednesday, it will be for the top two spots in the group.

Switzerland know they need only a point against Costa Rica to progress. South Korea can still edge through if they beat Germany and Mexico beat Sweden, and there's at least a two-goal margin in there somewhere.

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There could be a three way tie between Germany, Sweden and South Korea, and for that to happen, Mexico must beat Sweden whilst South Korea would have to win against Germany. 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.

"We are playing against a good team". If they end up with identical disciplinary records, lots will be drawn to decide who finishes first - which could be key to potentially avoiding a route that includes facing Germany or Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Portugal will be favourites to progress and only need a draw.

Japan sit in the box seat here, as they meet winless, hapless and eliminated Poland on Friday at 2am.

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