World Cup: Who’ll be next to qualify?

2014-06-22 00:01

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Argentina last night joined the Netherlands among the powerhouses to qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi scored in injury time for his side’s 1-0 win over Iran, a result that sent Argentina top of Group F on six points.

Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina were set to meet in the group’s late kickoff at midnight local time. Argentina’s win comes on the back of upsets as big contenders were sent packing after only two rounds of matches.

Former World Cup winners England and defending champions Spain have been the biggest casualties so far, along with Cameroon and Australia.

For the first time since 1958, England has failed to progress beyond the first round.

»?In Group D, the winner between Uruguay and Italy will join Costa Rica in the knockout stages.

Costa Rica has proven to be the surprise package of the tournament so far after claiming two victories in two games (beating former champions Uruguay and Italy), and are already guaranteed a place in the knockout stages.

Italy will enter the Uruguay match with a better goal difference, which means they can advance with either a draw or a victory.

»?Group B has already been decided with 2010 losing finalist Netherlands and Chile in a battle

for who will top the group after eliminating Australia and Spain.

With the prospect of facing Brazil in the last16 for the second-placed team in this group, tomorrow’s game will certainly matter to these two teams.

»?In Group C, Colombia have also qualified for the next stage, while either Ivory Coast, Japan or Greece can still make it through. Côte d’Ivoire need a victory over Greece.

» For Group A, the only guarantee is that Cameroon are out, while hosts Brazil, Mexico and Croatia all have a chance of advancing.

Brazil have an easier tie against Cameroon, but Mexico and Croatia have everything to play for.

»?France are almost assured a passage to the last16 as they top Group E. They will proceed by virtue of having a better goal difference after their impressive 5-2 demolition of Switzerland on Friday.

The battle is on for who will advance with them between second-placed Ecuador and Switzerland, who are both on three points.

Ecuador have a tough assignment against France on Wednesday, while the Swiss will fancy their chances against Honduras at the bottom of the group.

The big question remains: which of the other heavyweight teams will be joining Spain and England on the flights home?

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