The South American nations Brazil and Argentina are favourites to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy.
Just when you think there is nothing else that can be said about Lionel Messi, he leaves our collective jaws on the floor all over again. Even at the age of 35, the Paris Saint-Germain maestro still provides us with those magical moments that have become his hallmark over the years. The most recent in his long list of incredible moments came in Argentina’s second game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Mexico.
Argentina will face Australia in the round of 16 on Saturday. Then they might face Netherlands in the quarterfinals, who shockingly didn’t qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years ago, but before that reached the semifinals in 2014 and the final in 2010.
Then in the semifinals they might face their arch rivals Brazil in the semifinals and then in the finals they might face Portugal or France.
Brazil are looking to win a record-extending sixth World Cup at the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament in Qatar.
The top two in each World Cup group advance to the last 16. The knockout rounds will begin on Dec. 3 and will feature one-off matches, which can go to extra time and then penalties to decide the winner.
Brazil beat Serbia 2-0 and defeate Switzerland 1-0 in their first two Group G matches to secure a place in the knockout stages.
Brazil are not assured of top spot in Group G, however, and can still be overtaken by Switzerland.
Brazil will be pitted against a team from Group H in the round of 16, meaning they could face Portugal, Ghana, South Korea or Uruguay.
If Brazil win Group G, their round of 16 game will be against the runners-up in Group H.
If Brazil finish runners-up in Group G, their round of 16 opponents will be the winners of Group H, potentially Euro 2016 champions Portugal.
If Brazil win Group G, they could face Spain in the quarter-finals, provided the 2010 champions win Group E and beat the runners-up from Group F - Croatia, Morocco, Belgium or Canada.
If Brazil finish as Group G runners-up, they could potentially face Croatia in the quarter-finals, provided the 2018 finalists are able to win Group F and defeat the runners-up from Group E - Spain, Germany, Japan or Costa Rica.
If Brazil make it to the semi-finals as Group G winners, they could potentially face South American rivals Argentina or the Netherlands.
If Brazil reach the semi-finals as Group G runners-up, they could face the potential winners of Groups B and D - England or 2018 champions France.
If Brazil go all the way to the final as Group G winners, they could potentially find themselves taking on France or Portugal.
If Brazil are able to make it to the final as Group G runners-up, they could meet South American rivals Argentina or Spain.
Teams qualified for Round of 16
With the group stages drawn to a close in Qatar, the FIFA World Cup 2022 is heading towards its Round of 16 stage.
The 32 teams competing at the Qatar 2022 World Cup were divided into eight groups - Group A to H - for the first phase. In every group, each team faces each other once in a single-headed round robin format and the top two teams from each group qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 - the first of the knockout stages.
Reigning champions France, from Group D, were the first team to make the cut for the Round of 16 after winning their first two group games convincingly. Les Bleus first beat Australia 4-1 before outplaying Denmark 2-1.
With it, France became the first defending champions, since Brazil in 2006, to avoid a group stage exit from the FIFA World Cup. Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014, and Germany in 2018, were all knocked out in the Group stage. France, however, lost their last group game against Tunisia but still went through as the toppers ahead of Australia.
Kylian Mbappe has been the standout player for France so far and is one of the frontrunners for the FIFA World Cup 2022 top scorer award.
Similarly, Cody Gakpo has spearheaded the Netherlands’ campaign as the Dutch qualified for the Round of 16 as the top-placed team from Group A. A late goal from captain Kalidou Koulibaly, meanwhile, helped Senegal oust Ecuador in their final group game, a match which was a virtual playoff, to go through as the second-placed team from the group.
Group B has also been decided as England, with two wins and a draw, won the group. A Christian Pulisic goal in the vital final match against Iran, meanwhile, helped the USA men’s football team advance as the second-placed team from Group B.
Brazil, despite missing star Neymar owing to an injury, sealed an early ticket to the knockouts from Group G by winning their opening two matches (2-0 vs Serbia and 1-0 vs Switzerland). Brazil with their last group game against Cameroon would now have sealed their fate whether they are group champions or not. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal also made a hassle-free cut for the knockouts from Group G, after defeating Ghana 3-2 and Uruguay 3-2.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina shook off an upset loss against Saudi Arabia to top Group C and made the Round of 16, while Poland saw off a stiff challenge from Mexico courtesy a superior goal difference to progress as the 2nd placed team.
So far, 14 teams, Netherlands, Senegal, England, USA, France, Australia, Argentina, Poland, Morocco, Croatia, Japan, Spain, Brazil and Portugal, have qualified for the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.