We’ve seen some tremendous results through the first matches of group stage play at the World Cup but we’re starting to get to the point where we can look ahead to the knockout round, beginning with the round of 16.
The second round of group stage matches begins Friday, and more results will mean some teams have qualified for the knockout round. The seeding for these teams might still be up for grabs but they have done enough work through the first two matches to secure a spot. Here’s a look at which teams will be in the knockout round for the 2022 competition.
Who has qualified for World Cup round of 16
Netherlands (Group A)
The Dutch had no problems taking care of host nation Qatar in the final match, needing a win or draw to secure qualification. Cody Gakpo continued to raise his stock with a goal, while Frenkie de Jong added an insurance score to secure the top spot in the group. Netherlands await the runner-up in Group B in the round of 16.
Senegal (Group A)
Senegal had several high and low moments in the final match against Ecuador but it was Kalidou Koulibaly’s game-winning goal which provided the ultimate celebration for the African side. Senegal will qualify for the knockout round and await the winner of Group B.
England (Group B)
The Three Lions took care of business against Wales to secure a spot in the knockout round and will face Senegal. Harry Kane has been quiet on the scoring front but Marcus Rashford has emerged as the star striker instead. England have been dominant across the board and will look to continue marching on.
USA (Group B)
The Americans got the win they needed against Iran to secure a spot in the knockout round. The status of Christian Pulisic will be a big talking point but USA will have a few days to assess his condition. USMNT will take on Netherlands in the round of 16.
Argentina (Group C)
Lionel Messi’s crew get in with a 2-0 win over Poland. It looked dicey with Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny pulling off stunning saves and even stopping Messi’s penalty but eventually Argentina got the job done. They have topped the group and will play Australia in the round of 16.
Poland (Group C)
Poland lost 2-0 but managed to not let in enough goals thanks to Szczesny to go through on goal differential. Up next for Poland are the defending champions, who got a nice rest Wednesday as they had already booked a spot in the round of 16.
France (Group D)
The defending World Cup champions are the first side through to the knockout stage with wins over Australia and Denmark. France can confirm their spot atop Group D with a win or draw over Tunisia in the final match. Depending on the Australia-Denmark result in the final match, France could retain the top spot in the group even if they lose against Tunisia.
Australia (Group D)
It appeared Australia would be on the outside looking in but Mathew Leckie’s brilliant individual goal on a counter attack proved to be the difference. The Socceroos were guaranteed a spot in the round of 16 with a win no matter what happened in the other game and they held on for their first knockout berth since 2006.
Japan (Group E)
Japan got a big win over Spain after scoring two goals in a four-minute span to win Group E. Japan advance to the round of 16 in back-to-back World Cups after getting there in 2018. They will face Croatia in the round of 16.
Spain (Group E)
Spain took an early lead over Japan but were nearly out of the knockout round entirely after Costa Rica took a 2-1 lead over Germany. Eventually La Furia Roja got the help they needed with a few Germany goals but this team will need to be more focused when they take on an upstart Morocco team in the round of 16.
Morocco (Group F)
The African side managed to grab two wins in the last two matches, including an upset over Belgium, to secure a spot in the round of 16. This is the surprise team of the World Cup and has the talent to make a run. Many of these top teams haven’t faced Morocco in international play, so there’s an element of surprise here as well.
Croatia (Group F)
The 2018 runners-up are back in the round of 16 after holding on for a draw against Belgium late. Luka Modric continues to lead a veteran group capable to creating some problems in the knockout bracket. This defense has only given up one goal in three matches, so they don’t need much offensively to have a chance in every contest.
Brazil (Group G)
With Neymar on the sidelines nursing an ankle injury. Brazil managed to find a late winner against Switzerland courtesy of Casemiro to secure a spot in the knockout round. The odds-on favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook are once again in the round of 16, and now they can likely give Neymar another game off to let his ankle continue healing. Even if Neymar is out, Brazil proved they can win a game without their best player.
Switzerland (Group G)
The Swiss needed to outlast Serbia in a goal-scoring frenzy, winning 3-2 to secure a spot in the knockout stage. Switzerland actually finish with the same amount of points as Brazil but are runners-up due to goal differential.
Portugal (Group H)
Cristiano Ronaldo will be in the round of 16, as Portugal secure a spot with a 2-0 win over Uruguay. Bruno Fernandes found the back of the net twice for Portugal, including a late penalty after a hand-ball in the box from Uruguay. There’s still a chance Portugal don’t win Group H but they’ve gotten through and can now breathe a bit easier in the final match.
South Korea (Group H)
South Korea were headed for a group stage exit before a late stoppage time goal sent the Asian side through to the round of 16. South Korea were battling with Uruguay for the second spot in the group and that goal gave the Asian side more total goals scored in the group stage, which ended up being the deciding tiebreaker.