World Cup Group Phase: Your Guide to the Permutations (Part 4)
Brazil 2 2 0 0 5 2 +3 6 Portugal 2 1 1 0 7 0 +7 4 Ivory Coast 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1 North Korea 2 0 0 2 1 9 -8 0
Remaining fixtures (Fri, 3pm): Portugal v Brazil, North Korea v Ivory Coast
There’s unlikely to be much drama here. North Korea are already out, while Brazil have already qualified and need only a point to ensure going through as group winners. Portugal would win the group instead if they win, and need only a point to go through as runners up. Even if they lose they’ll still be through unless Ivory Coast can overturn a goal difference swing of nine. So, Drogba and Co have to put a sackful of goals past North Korea and hope that Brazil haven’t taken their foot off the gas.
Drawing of lots potential: Portugal and Ivory Coast drew so it’s just about possible if each mirrors the others result from the other games – Ivory Coast winning by seven and Portugal losing by two with the right number of goals scored. Don’t hold your breath.
Chile 2 2 0 0 2 0 +2 6 Spain 2 1 0 1 2 1 +1 3 Switzerland 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 3 Honduras 2 0 0 2 0 3 -3 0
Remaining fixtures (Fri, 7:30pm): Switzerland v Honduras, Chile v Spain
Chile could easily end up being the most hard-done-by team in the competition. There they are, two wins under their belt and sitting three points clear at the top of the table. And yet, if anything, they’re probably slight favourites to miss out. Spain are guaranteed to overtake them on goal difference if they beat them, and Switzerland, up against a very ordinary Honduran side, would then need any win that gave them a GD swing greater than the minimum two to pip Chile as well.
So although Chile will definitely be through if Switzerland don’t win, they still need a point to be sure, which would also of course leave them as group winners. It would also mean Spain would be out if Switzerland win, though they’d still scrape through otherwise.
If Chile beat Spain then Switzerland would need only a draw, while if they contrived to lose as well then Honduras would come back into the equation, level with Spain and Switzerland on three points producing goal difference scrap. Honduras would need a three goal swing on Switzerland (ie a two goal win) and four on Spain. But this isn’t going to happen – nothing is entirely predictable in this World Cup but having three teams finishing on six points looks much the more likely prospect than three teams finishing on three.
If there are indeed three teams on six, Spain are definitely through and will top the group unless Switzerland get a better win. The Swiss would also qualify unless both games are settled by only a single goal, in which case they’d need to have scored more goals than Chile to overcome the head-to-head loss.
Drawing of lots potential: Zero, it’s impossible from here.