Ending an unwanted streak that was perhaps started by them in 1998-2002, defending champions France were the first team to qualify for the Round of 16 after winning both their opening matches in Group D.
In 2002, 2010, 2014 and 2018, with European sides coming into the tournament as defending champions were all knocked out in the group stage in ignominious exits. But France turned it around in style.
Australia, Denmark and Tunisia all have a chance of joining France in the last-16 ahead of the final round of matches.
Here’s a look at how things stand and the different possible scenarios to progress out of Group D ahead of the last set of fixtures:
Note: All the set of last matches in each group will kickoff simultaneously.
Table ahead of final fixtures
Remaining fixtures (In IST)
Wednesday, November 30
2030: Australia v Denmark, Al-Janoub Stadium (Al-Wakrah)
2030: Tunisia v France, Education City Stadium (Doha)
France have already qualified for the last-16 and only need a draw against the North Africans to top the group. Even if they lose against Tunisia, they would still top the table unless Australia are able to win against Denmark and overcome the significant goal difference gap. It is all but mathematical confirmation that we await for France to face runners-up of Group C... could that be Argentina?
Australia have come alive after their battling win against Tunisia and will qualify for the last-16 if they beat Denmark in their last match.
If they draw against the Danes, Australia can still make it to the knockouts if Tunisia don’t win against France. However, if Tunisia beat France, the African side will be guaranteed to pip Australia to the final last-16 spot on goal difference.
Though unlikely, the Socceroos can top the group if they beat Denmark by a handsome margin and Tunisia beat France by a solid margin too for a goal difference swing of +7.
Australia cannot qualify if they lose.
It is a must-win for Euro 2020 semifinalist Denmark and no other result will do. But Denmark know that a win in their match against Australia will be enough to reach the last-16 as long as France do their part against Tunisia.
If France beat Tunisia, Denmark will make it to the last-16 with a win over Australia.
If Tunisia beat France, Denmark have to ensure that their margin of victory over Australia is one goal more than Tunisia’s win margin of victory over France. If the goal difference is still identical after Denmark and Tunisia’s wins (as it is now on -1), the tiebreaker list below will come into play.
Draw or lose, Denmark will be out.
Like Denmark, Tunisia have to win their last group game to have any hopes of making it to the last-16.
If they do pull off a big upset and beat France, Tunisia will qualify if Denmark and Australia play out a draw as the Africans will have a better GD than Socceroos.
If Tunisia beat France, and Denmark beat Australia, both Tunisia and Denmark will be level on four points and their margins of win, goal difference and goals scored will come into play as mentioned above.
Saturday, December 3
Game 50: 0030 (Next AM): Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D, Ahmed bin Ali Stadium (Al-Rayyan)
Sunday, December 4
Game 52: 2030: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C, Al-Thumama Stadium (Doha)
If two or more teams in the same group are equal on points after the completion of the group stage, the following criteria, in the order below, shall be applied to determine the ranking:
- (a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
- (b) superior goal difference in all group matches;
- (c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
- (d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
- (e) superior goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
- (f) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
- (g) highest team conduct score relating to the number of yellow and red cards obtained: yellow card: minus 1 point indirect red card (as a result of two yellow cards): minus 3 points, direct red card: minus 4 points, yellow card and direct red card: minus 5 points Only one of the above deductions shall be applied to a player in a single match. The team with the highest number of points shall be ranked highest.
- (h) drawing of lots by FIFA.
- With respect to the second step, all affected teams will be ranked by applying the criteria (d) to (g) in order. If one team qualifies for a higher or lower ranking pursuant to one criterion but it is not possible to rank all teams on the basis of the same criterion, the remaining two or three teams will be ranked pursuant to the next criterion, and so on. In any case, the second step of the ranking does not restart for the two or three teams remaining after application of a criterion.
— via FIFA World Cup regulations document