World Cup 2014: How Teams Can Advance to the Next Round

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Tuesday: Groups C and D June 24
The highlight of Tuesday’s early World Cup matches was the Group D game between Italy and Uruguay, which Uruguay won with a late goal. Costa Rica, which had already advanced, clinched first place in the group with a tie against England. Costa Rica and Uruguay advance to the Round of 16.
Colombia won Group C, creating an all-South American portion of the bracket and assuring that at least one team from the continent makes the semifinals. Ivory Coast lost in heartbreaking fashion in the final minute, allowing Greece to advance.
A full overview of the possibilities, for all groups, follows, along with odds of each team advancing to the next round according to Predictwise. During tomorrow’s matches, this space will include a scoreboard that tells you which teams would advance based on the scores at every moment during the matches.
Group C
Greece overcame long odds to advance, thanks to its victory over Ivory Coast and Japan’s loss to Colombia. Greece will face Costa Rica in the round of 16. Colombia won the group and will face Uruguay in the all-South American portion of the bracket.
 
W
L
D
GF
GA
+/-
PTS
PREDICTWISE ODDS
 
Colombia
3
0
0
9
2
+7
9
100%
 
Greece
1
1
1
2
4
-2
4
100%
 
Ivory Coast
1
2
0
4
5
-1
3
 
Japan
0
2
1
2
6
-4
1
Entering its final game, Colombia was almost assured of winning the group, and its win over Japan was more than enough.
Greece’s poor performance in its first two matches meant it needed multiple things to happen Tuesday. They all happened. An extra-time penalty kick gave the Greeks a 2-1 win against the Ivory Coast, and Colombia’s win over Japan ensured a Greek berth in the Round of 16. They will play Costa Rica.
Ivory Coast was eliminated with its loss to Greece.
Japan, like Greece, had to have multiple things to happen, starting with a victory over Colombia. Japan failed to win a single match in this World Cup.
Group D
The game between Italy and Uruguay was a virtual playoff for second place, which Uruguay won with a late goal. Costa Rica clinched first place in the group with a tie against England.
 
W
L
D
GF
GA
+/-
PTS
PREDICTWISE ODDS
 
Costa Rica
2
0
1
4
1
+3
7
100%
 
Uruguay
2
1
0
4
4
0
6
100%
 
Italy
1
2
0
2
3
-1
3
 
England
0
2
1
2
4
-2
1
Costa Rica, which seemed doomed when it was placed in this group, won Group D by tying England 0-0.
Uruguay, a trendy pre-tournament pick, finished second in Group D following a late goal by Diego Godín.
Italy entered its match with Uruguay with a better goal differential, which meant it needed only a tie to advance. It didn’t get it.
England was eliminated.
Group E
France has all but clinched first place, and fans of Ecuador and Switzerland will be nervously watching both their own game and that of the other country on Wednesday.
 
W
L
D
GF
GA
+/-
PTS
PREDICTWISE ODDS
 
France
2
0
0
8
2
+6
6
>99%
 
Ecuador
1
1
0
3
3
0
3
30%
 
Switzerland
1
1
0
4
6
-2
3
69%
 
Honduras
0
2
0
1
5
-4
0
1%
Only a stunning turn of events would keep France from finishing first. Most simply, it wins the group by tying or winning its final match, against Ecuador. Even if France loses, only a highly improbable turn of events would keep it from winning the group. Its goal-differential is currently +6; to win the group, it merely needs to end up with a better goal differential than both Ecuador (now 0) and Switzerland (-2). To advance with a loss, France would have to have a better goal differential than only one of those two countries. (If goal differential is tied, the next tiebreaker is goals scored, followed by head-to-head results, following by “drawing of lots.”) As we said, France is in good shape.
The good news for Ecuador is that it probably needs only to match Switzerland’s result to advance: win, tie or lose. The bad news is that Ecuador faces France. One silver lining: Because France will probably win the group no matter what, it may not give the match its full effort. As is the case with Switzerland, Ecuador can technically still win the group, in much the way that you can technically win the lottery.
Despite its dismal loss to France, Switzerland remains in a decent position. It will advance with a better outcome than Ecuador in the two teams’ final matches — and while Ecuador must play France, Switzerland faces relatively low-ranked Honduras. If Switzerland and Ecuador have the same result — win, draw or loss — Switzerland will probably be eliminated, because its goal differential is now -2 and Ecuador’s is 0. To win the group, Switzerland needs one of the outlandish scenarios described previously in France’s section.
Honduras isn’t officially dead yet. But to have any chance at advancing, it needs to beat Switzerland and to have France beat Ecuador. Honduras would also need to win by enough to emerge from a three-way tiebreaker with Ecuador and Switzerland. Honduras cannot win the group.
Group F
Argentina, as expected, is in a dominant position, but there are still surprises here: Nigeria controls its fate, and Iran is alive.
 
W
L
D
GF
GA
+/-
PTS
PREDICTWISE ODDS
 
Argentina
2
0
0
3
1
+2
6
100%
 
Nigeria
1
0
1
1
0
+1
4
86%
 
Iran
0
1
1
0
1
-1
1
14%
 
Bosnia/Herz.
0
2
0
1
3
-2
0
Argentina has clinched advancement. It wins the group by beating or tying Nigeria.
Nigeria advances a) if it ties or beats Argentina; b) if Bosnia-Herzegovina beats or ties Iran c) even in the event of a Nigeria loss and Iran win, if Nigeria wins the tiebreaker between the two. The tiebreaker order is: goal differential; goals scored; head-to-head result; and “drawing of lots.” Nigeria currently has a goal differential of +1 and has scored 1 goal, while Iran has -1 and has not scored. The two teams tied each other, 0-0. Nigeria wins the group by beating Argentina.
Iran advances if it beats Bosnia and Argentina beats Nigeria in a combination of scores that allows Iran to win the tiebreakers against Nigeria. (Among other things, either a two-goal win by Iran or a two-goal loss by Nigeria would do the trick.) Iran cannot win the group.
Bosnia-Herzegovina has been eliminated.
Group G
Every team is alive, and none have clinched advancement. Germany is in the strongest position. The United States does not guarantee itself a spot in the next round unless it at least ties Germany. Ghana and Portugal both need a win, in their head-to-head match, and also need help.
 
W
L
D
GF
GA
+/-
PTS
PREDICTWISE ODDS
 
Germany
1
0
1
6
2
+4
4
99%
 
United States
1
0
1
4
3
+1
4
77%
 
Ghana
0
1
1
3
4
-1
1
17%
 
Portugal
0
1
1
2
6
-4
1
7%
Germany is likely to advance regardless of what it does Thursday against the United States. Germany wins the group with a victory or a tie. It advances with a loss unless it loses its current advantage in goal differential to the winner of the Ghana-Portugal match; Germany’s differential is now +4, compared with -1 for Ghana and -4 for Portugal.
The United States advances with a tie or win against Germany. If the United States loses, it will be rooting for anything but a Ghana win in the Ghana-Portugal match because Ghana is in a better tiebreaker position than Portugal. The United States, regardless of what it does, advances with a tie between Ghana and Portugal; if Portugal wins, Portugal is likely to lose the tiebreaker to the United States, whereas Ghana has a decent chance to win the tiebreaker over the United States. The United States wins the group with a win over Germany. For even more, see this detailed Upshot post by David Leonhardt.
Ghana needs to win and will be rooting for Germany over the United States. If Ghana wins and the United States loses, the two will be tied, and Ghana will be in solid position for the goal-differential tiebreaker (it will advance if it wins by more than a goal, or if the U.S. loses by more than a goal). Ghana cannot win the group.
Portugal is in trouble. To have any chance of advancing, it needs a win over Ghana and not a draw in the Germany-United States match. If Portugal wins, it will be tied with the loser of the Germany-United States match, if there is one. But Portugal (goal differential: -4) will have trouble winning the tiebreaker against Germany (goal differential: +4) or the United States (+1). Portugal cannot win the group.
Group H
Algeria could join Costa Rica as one of the biggest surprise survivors of the first round if it can tie or beat Russia. Russia will probably advance if Algeria does not. Belgium, as predicted, will emerge from the group regardless.
 
W
L
D
GF
GA
+/-
PTS
PREDICTWISE ODDS
 
Belgium
2
0
0
3
1
+2
6
100%
 
Algeria
1
1
0
5
4
+1
3
53%
 
Russia
0
1
1
1
2
-1
1
45%
 
South Korea
0
1
1
3
5
-2
1
2%
Belgium has clinched advancement and wins the group with a tie or victory against South Korea.
Algeria advances with a win against Russia. It advances with a tie unless South Korea beats Belgium by enough to overcome its current deficit in goal differential with Algeria (-2 vs. +1). Algeria wins the group if it beats Russia and South Korea beats Belgium.
Russia advances with a win over Algeria and a Belgium win or tie against South Korea. If Russia and South Korea both win, they will be tied. Russia (with a goal differential of -1) is currently in better position than South Korea (-2). Russia cannot win the group.
South Korea needs a win and help to advance. For starters, it needs a victory over Belgium and something other than an Algeria victory over Russia. If South Korea and Russia both win, South Korea will need to win a tiebreaker against Russia. If South Korea wins and Russia ties Algeria, South Korea will need to win a tiebreaker against Algeria. South Korea will be rooting for Russia, which is in worse shape for a tiebreaker than Algeria.
Group B
The Netherlands won the group by sweeping all three of its matches, including the finale against Chile, the other team to advance. Spain, the defending champion, was eliminated.
 
W
L
D
GF
GA
+/-
PTS
PREDICTWISE ODDS
 
Netherlands
3
0
0
10
3
+7
9
100%
 
Chile
2
1
0
5
3
+2
6
100%
 
Spain
1
2
0
4
7
-3
3
 
Australia
0
3
0
3
9
-6
0
By winning the group, the Netherlands is likely to avoid Brazil in the Round of 16. Now the Dutch will presumably be rooting for Brazil to beat Cameroon Monday afternoon. The Netherlands will next face Mexico.
Chile finished second by virtue of an upset win over Spain and a win over Australia. Chile will face Brazil next.
Spain was eliminated.
Australia was eliminated.
Group A
Despite its disappointing tie with Mexico, Brazil won Group A with a commanding win over Cameroon. Mexico needed only a tie to advance but wound up securing its place in the Round of 16 with a 3-1 win over Croatia.
 
W
L
D
GF
GA
+/-
PTS
PREDICTWISE ODDS
 
Brazil
2
0
1
7
2
+5
7
100%
 
Mexico
2
0
1
4
1
+3
7
100%
 
Croatia
1
2
0
6
6
0
3
 
Cameroon
0
3
0
1
9
-8
0
Brazil won the group on a tiebreaker of goal differential with Mexico. Brazil will play Chile, the second-place team from Group B, in the Round of 16.
At one point in its game with Croatia, Mexico was a goal away from winning Group A outright — with the same record as Brazil, Mexico would have needed a better goal differential. Still, Mexico needed only a tie against Croatia to advance, and it did much better than that, winning, 3-1. The Mexicans facethe Netherlands, winners of Group A, in the Round of 16.
With Brazil’s win over Cameroon, Croatia needed a win over Mexico to make it into the Round of 16. After 72 scoreless minutes, Mexico poured it on, ending the Croatians’ tournament.
Cameroon was eliminated even before its final game. It lost, 4-1, to Brazil.

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