The sweet 16
With all teams having played twice at the World Cup in South Africa, skysports.com analyses the eight groups and considers the potential last 16 line-up.
Last Updated: June 21, 2010 10:01pm
Maradona: Seems certain to steer Argentina through to knockout stages
Uruguay and Mexico are in firm control and will both progress if their meeting in Rustenburg ends in a draw. However, with a probable last-16 clash against Argentina in store for the runners-up, Mexico could initially be inclined to push for a win. That would open the door for France or South Africa who must win in Bloemfontein and hope to overhaul one of the other sides on goal difference or goals scored.
Verdict: Uruguay and Mexico to progress.
Argentina seem to have this group sewn up after two impressive attacking performances, leaving South Korea and Greece to fight it out for second place. It should be in Korea's hands as they take on a Nigeria side already beaten twice, while Greece tackle Diego Maradona's men. Events would get interesting, however, if Argentina ease up and fail to win. Nigeria need to win convincingly and hope Argentina beat Greece.
Verdict: Argentina and South Korea ease through.
Despite two unconvincing performances, England still know a win over Slovenia will take them through. Anything less, however, could be catastrophic. They are level on points with the United States but trail on goals scored by two and a low-scoring draw would not be good enough. A draw would be enough for Slovenia while the US would go through with a victory. Algeria are not yet out of contention but need to win in Pretoria and hope for a favourable result in Port Elizabeth.
Verdict: England to hit form and power through alongside the US.
The group is delicately poised. Ghana are in control and know a draw would be sufficient, but their final opponents Germany, smarting after a shock loss to Serbia, need a win to be sure. A win would also suffice for Serbia. Australia could still creep through by beating Serbia, depending on the other result, but could do with winning handsomely - and not getting anyone sent off.
Verdict: Germany to win and take the group in style with Serbia following.
With Holland through and Cameroon eliminated, Group E comes down to a shoot-out between Denmark and Japan in Rustenburg for the final place. Both sides are level on points after one win but Japan have the better goal difference and can afford a draw.
Verdict: Japan to edge out the Danes and join Holland in last 16.
All four teams could still make it but Paraguay, the only side to have won a game, are in the driving seat. A draw against New Zealand in Polokwane would see them through but the All Whites and Italy must push for victories. Nothing currently separates Italy and New Zealand and two more stalemates could see the situation come down to the drawing of lots. Italy have a slender edge in that a draw would suffice if New Zealand lose. Slovakia can sneak in if they beat Italy and the other result goes their way.
Verdict: Italy dig deep to find the required win and join Paraguay in the next round.
The issue is all but settled here with Brazil already through and Portugal almost certain to join them. Their contest in Durban is realistically a battle to decide who finishes top. Even if Portugal lose, Ivory Coast face a monumental task to overturn a nine-goal disadvantage. North Korea have nothing to play for but pride.
Verdict: Brazil through as group winners with Portugal second.
Despite an impressive start to their campaign, Chile could remarkably still go out if they lose to Spain, who must win to be sure of going through. Should Spain triumph and Switzerland also beat Honduras, three teams would be tied on six points. Chile therefore could yet come to rue the squandering of numerous chances in both their 1-0 successes as goal difference could come into play. Honduras, however, could help them by making life difficult for the Swiss.
Verdict: Almost impossible to predict but Spain might turn it on to win the group with Chile just hanging on for second on goals scored.