World Cup permutations: it's make or break for Africa's hope Tunisia and Messi's Argentina

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Lionel Messi and Argentina return to the spotlight as the World Cup enters the business end of the group stage Photo: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images
Lionel Messi and Argentina return to the spotlight as the World Cup enters the business end of the group stage Photo: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

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England reached the last 16 of the World Cup with their 3-0 win over Wales on Tuesday night, with Rob Page’s side on the next plane home.

The Three Lions will play Senegal in their second-round knockout game on Sunday, while the US will play the Netherlands on Saturday.

READ: Podcast |Tim spirit: Africans redeemed themselves but…

France’s 2-1 win over Denmark saw them become the first team to book their place in the last 16, before Brazil joined them by beating Switzerland 1-0. Portugal also secured their qualification after beating Uruguay 2-0 on Monday, while Groups A and B finished on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, hosts Qatar, Canada and Ecuador have been knocked out.

As we run through the business end of the group stage, we take a look at how it stands ahead of groups C and D matches today: 

Group C

Poland and Argentina are the top two in the group, following 2-0 wins over Saudi Arabia and Mexico respectively on Saturday.

But those two meet in Wednesday’s group decider, meaning there is a decent chance either Lionel Messi or Robert Lewandowski will go home.

AL RAYYAN, QATAR - NOVEMBER 26: Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski will lead Poland in a Group C decider against Argentina. Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images

Poland would be guaranteed progression with a draw, while Argentina will go through if they win. Both sides will go through if both games are drawn.

Saudi Arabia will secure their shock entry to the knockout stage if they beat Mexico.

Mexico need to beat the Saudis to have any hope of going through. They would be through if both they and Poland won. 

Any other result in the other game would probably mean the Mexicans would need to win by a few.

Group D

Kylian Mbappé scored twice to see France beat Denmark 2-1 and seal their place in the knockout stage.

A draw in their final qualifying game against Tunisia on Wednesday will also seal top spot.

Any of the other three teams could qualify along with Les Bleus.

Denmark have to win to have any chance of going through.

Australia will be through if they beat Denmark, but a draw would allow Tunisia to claim second spot if they upset France.

If Denmark and Tunisia both win their games, the team to progress will be decided by goal difference or the other criteria mentioned below.





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