World Cup: Groups, knockout stage & everything you need to know

Written by on December 3, 2022

It’s World Cup time!

After a four-year wait, the best national teams in the world are battling it out again to determine who lifts the coveted trophy after the final on December 18. At Russia 2018, France claimed World Cup glory, with Didier Deschamps – who also won the tournament as a player – seeing his side defeat Croatia 4-2 in the final.

Can the French retain their crown or is it finally Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo’s turn to add a World Cup to their enviable list of honours? How about a Neymar-inspired Brazil to come out on top? Eternal favourites Germany and Spain will surely fancy their chances too.

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The talent – and fashion – on show in Qatar is simply outrageous and it promises to be yet another phenomenal tournament, but what does each team’s schedule look like and where do they sit in the standings?

We’ve got you covered with all the info you need to stay right on top of everything in Qatar!

  • Group A fixtures, results & standings

    The Netherlands were favourite to top Group A and did so albeit not as comfortably as everyone thought. However, they were overall solid only conceding one goal in 3 games, Cody Gakpo in particular has shined for the Dutch scoring in all matches.

    Senegal overcame their 2-0 loss to the Netherlands to win against Qatar and Ecuador to come 2nd in the group. Ecuador will feel hard done by, having lead the group till their final game and losing to a late goal from Kalidou Koulibaly. Qatar made history for all the wrong reasons, becoming the first host nation to not win a single game in the World Cup.

    Group A fixtures & results

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Nov. 20 19:00 Qatar 0-2 Ecuador Al Bayt Stadium
    Nov. 21 19:00 Senegal 0-2 Netherlands Al Thumama Stadium
    Nov. 25 16:00 Qatar 1-3 Senegal Al Thumama Stadium
    Nov. 25 19:00 Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador Khalifa International Stadium
    Nov. 29 18:00 Ecuador 1-2 Senegal Khalifa International Stadium
    Nov. 29 18:00 Netherlands 2-0 Qatar Al Bayt Stadium

    Group A table standings

    Pos. Country Played W D L GD Pts
    1 Netherlands 3 2 1 0 +4 7
    2 Senegal 3 2 0 1 +1 6
    3 Ecuador 3 1 1 1 +1 4
    4 Qatar 3 0 0 3 -4 0
  • England celebrating Getty Images

    Group B fixtures, results & standings

    Barring the goalless draw to the USA, England justified their status as favourites by dispatching off Iran and Wales with strong, dominant, and comfortable performances, therefore topping the group.

    While there was much optimism about the USA in this World Cup, there was still doubt if they could make it past the group stages. However, the Americans surprised many with their solidity, conceding only one goal in 3 games (none from open play), and remaining unbeaten.

    Iran would be disappointed they didn’t secure qualification. They were one Christian Pulisic goal away from finishing as runners-up in the group.

    Wales didn’t show up for either of their games against Iran and England, being outrun easily by both nations. They will now focus on regrouping with the younger generation and qualifying for 2026.

    Group B fixtures & results

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Nov. 21 16:00 England 6-2 Iran Khalifa International Stadium
    Nov. 21 22:00 USA 1-1 Wales Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
    Nov. 25 13:00 Wales 0-2 Iran Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
    Nov. 25 22:00 England 0-0 USA Al Bayt Stadium
    Nov. 29 22:00 Wales 0-3 England Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
    Nov. 29 22:00 Iran 0-1 USA Al Thumama Stadium

    Group B table standings

    Pos. Country Played W D L GD Pts
    1 England 3 2 1 0 +7 7
    2 USA 3 1 2 0 +1 5
    3 Iran 3 1 0 2 -3 3
    4 Wales 3 0 1 2 -5 1
  • Lionel Messi ArgentinaGetty Images

    Group C fixtures, results & standings

    Argentina bounced back from a surprise loss against Saudi Arabia to comfortably dispatch Mexico and Poland 2-0, in the process topping the group.

    Poland barely made it through to the next round of games, with their excellent disciplinary record and solid defence giving them an edge over Mexico.

    Mexico left it too late for any hope of getting through to the knockout stages and will particularly rue the chances they didn’t take in their final game.

    While Saudi Arabia couldn’t build on their surprise opening day victory against favourites Argentina, they will leave the tournament with their heads held high, and memories which will be remembered for generations.

    Group C fixtures & results

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Nov. 22 13:00 Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia Lusail Iconic Stadium
    Nov. 22 19:00 Mexico 0-0 Poland Stadium 974
    Nov. 26 16:00 Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia Education City Stadium
    Nov. 26 22:00 Argentina 2-0 Mexico Lusail Iconic Stadium
    Nov. 30 22:00 Poland 0-2 Argentina Stadium 974
    Nov. 30 22:00 Saudi Arabia 0-2 Mexico Lusail Iconic Stadium

    Group C table standings

    Pos. Country Played W D L GD Pts
    1 Argentina 3 2 0 1 0 6
    2 Poland 3 1 1 1 +2 4
    3 Mexico 3 1 1 1 -1 4
    4 Saudi Arabia 3 1 0 2 -2 3
  • Kylian Mbappe FranceGetty Images

    Group D fixtures, results & standings

    Reigning champions France qualified for the Round of 16 sitting at the pinnacle of Group D. Didier Deschamp’s team showed their quality on the pitch and proved why they are ‘Hot Favourites’ to lift the trophy again. The French team were able to win their first two games but dropped points against Tunisia although they missed crucial players.

    Australia surprised everyone as they made it to the knockout stages over Denmark. The Socceroos showed patience after losing their opening encounter to group leaders France as they brushed aside Tunisia and secured qualifiaction after winning against Denmark.

    Denmark would be very disappointed that they failed to make it out of the group. The team showed resilience against France but failed to hold on, and the draw against Tunisia and a loss against Australia on the final day eventually hurt the Danish team as they finished last.

    Tunisia managed to secure themselves a draw in the encounter against Denmark but failed to win the game against Australia. Although they did beat a second string French team in their last World Cup encounter to secure themselves a famous victory at the grand stage.

    Group D fixtures & results

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Nov. 22 16:00 Denmark 0-0 Tunisia Education City Stadium
    Nov. 22 22:00 France 4-1 Australia Al Janoub Stadium
    Nov. 26 13:00 Tunisia 0-1 Australia Al Janoub Stadium
    Nov. 26 19:00 France 2-1 Denmark Stadium 974
    Nov. 30 18:00 Australia 1-0 Denmark Al Janoub Stadium
    Nov. 30 18:00 Tunisia 1-0 France Education City Stadium

    Group D table standings

    Pos. Country Played W D L GD Pts
    1 France 3 2 0 1 +3 6
    2 Australia 3 2 0 1 -1 6
    3 Tunisia 3 1 1 1 0 4
    4 Denmark 3 0 1 2 -2 1
  • Germany celebratingGetty Images

    Group E fixtures, results & standings

    Japan turned out to be another surprise package finishing at the summit of what was a difficult group for the Asian team. They were the least favorites to win the group being plotted with former champions Spain and Germany in Group E.

    But the Blue Samurais produced two massive upsets beating both Spain and Germany to secure the top spot. Although they lost to Costa Rica by a margin of 1-0, the two upsets they produced meant Japan finished above the 2010 and 2014 World Cup champions.

    After thumping Costa Rica 7-0, it looked like Luis Enrique’s Spain would seal the top berth in Group E. But a draw against Germany and a shocking upset against Japan in their final fixture meant La Furia Roja slipped to the second position in the group with a better goal difference than Germany.

    After a shocking exit from the group stage in 2018, Hansi Flick couldn’t change Germany’s fate as the team was once again knocked out in the same fashion. An opening defeat against a resilient Japanese side put them in a tough spot. They shared the spoils against Spain and despite winning 4-2 against Costa Rica, Spain’s better goal difference meant the Germans were sent home from the group stage for consecutive World Cups.

    Costa Rica started their World Cup campaign with a deflating 7-0 loss against Spain but was able to diligently bounce back as they beat Japan 1-0 in the next game. They failed to hold on to their lead against Germany as they were humbled 4-2 at the end of the final whistle finishing last in the group.

    Group E fixtures & results

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Nov. 23 16:00 Germany 1-2 Japan Khalifa International Stadium
    Nov. 23 19:00 Spain 7-0 Costa Rica Al Thumama Stadium
    Nov. 27 13:00 Japan 0-1 Costa Rica Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
    Nov. 27 22:00 Spain 1-1 Germany Al Bayt Stadium
    Dec. 1 22:00 Japan 2-1 Spain Khalifa International Stadium
    Dec. 1 22:00 Costa Rica 2-4 Germany Al Bayt Stadium

    Group E table standings

    Pos. Country Played W D L GD Pts
    1 Japan 3 2 0 1 +1 6
    2 Spain 3 1 1 1 +6 4
    3 Germany 3 1 1 1 +1 4
    4 Costa Rica 3 1 0 2 -8 3
  • Hakim Ziyech MoroccoGetty Images

    Group F fixtures, results & standings

    Morocco turned out to be the biggest surprise package in Group F as the Atlas Lions finished at the pinnacle of the group. After a goalless draw against Croatia in the opening fixture, the Moroccan side produced a major upset by beating favorites Belgium in their second fixture. They rounded off their fairytale group stage run with a routine 2-1 victory against Canada to qualify for the knockout stages.

    2018 World Cup finalists, Croatia managed to qualify for the Round of 16 by a whisker. The Vatrenis were held by Morocco in their opening fixture but a 4-1 thumping of Canada meant they needed just a point against Belgium to qualify which they were able to get.

    Belgium’s Golden Generation produced a shambolic performance in Qatar as they bowed out in the group stages itself. Predicted to finish as leaders of Group F, the Red Devils started their World Cup campaign with a narrow 1-0 win against Canada. But an upsetting 2-1 loss against Morocco and a goalless draw against Croatia meant Belgium’s silverware drought continued as they finished in 3rd spot.

    Although Canada finished bottom of the group, the Reds would have plenty of positives to take home. Alphonso Davies bagged Canada’s maiden World Cup goal and with plenty of talent prospering in the country they could present a formidable challenge hosting the next edition of the World Cup in 2026.

    Group F fixtures & results

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Nov. 23 13:00 Morocco 0-0 Croatia Al Bayt Stadium
    Nov. 23 22:00 Belgium 1-0 Canada Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
    Nov. 27 16:00 Belgium 0-2 Morocco Al Thumama Stadium
    Nov. 27 19:00 Croatia 4-1 Canada Khalifa International Stadium
    Dec. 1 18:00 Croatia 0-0 Belgium Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
    Dec. 1 18:00 Canada 1-2 Morocco Al Thumama Stadium

    Group F table standings

    Pos. Country Played W D L GD Pts
    1 Morocco 3 2 1 0 +3 7
    2 Croatia 3 1 2 0 +3 5
    3 Belgium 3 1 1 1 -1 4
    4 Canada 3 0 0 3 -5 0
  • Neymar BrazilGetty Images

    Group G fixtures, results & standings

    Brazil secured their place in the next round and first place with two narrow wins against Serbia and Switzerland but suffered a shock defeat to Cameroon on the last day.

    Apart from their defeat to Brazil, Switzerland were otherwise solid and defeated Cameroon and Serbia to clinch 2nd place.

    Cameroon will be heartbroken to be eliminated from the tournament despite their efforts but will be proud to go back as the first African team to beat Brazil at the World Cup.

    Serbia showed a lot of heart and grit in their matches but had nothing to show for it apart from a point from their draw against Cameroon.

    Group G fixtures & results

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Nov. 24 13:00 Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon Al Janoub Stadium
    Nov. 24 22:00 Brazil 2-0 Serbia Lusail Iconic Stadium
    Nov. 28 13:00 Cameroon 3-3 Serbia Al Janoub Stadium
    Nov. 28 19:00 Brazil 1-0 Switzerland Stadium 974
    Dec. 2 22:00 Serbia 2-3 Switzerland Stadium 974
    Dec. 2 22:00 Cameroon 1-0 Brazil Lusail Iconic Stadium

    Group G table standings

    Pos. Country Played W D L GD Pts
    1 Brazil 3 2 0 1 +2 6
    2 Switzerland 3 2 0 1 1 6
    3 Cameroon 3 1 1 1 0 4
    4 Serbia 3 0 1 2 -3 1
  • Cristiano Ronaldo PortugalGetty Images

    Group H fixtures, results & standings

    Portugal secured qualification to the next stage with solid victories against Ghana and Uruguay but suffered a surprise shock defeat to South Korea.

    South Korea showed hear in their performances and were rewarded for it with a late win against Portugal which helped them qualify for the Ro16.

    Uruguay will feel hard done by to have been eliminated on goals scored despite having the same amount of points as South Korea.

    Ghana showed great resilience in all their games, however other than their win against South Korea didn’t have much to show for it with losses against Portugal and Uruguay.

    Group H fixtures & results

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Nov. 24 16:00 Uruguay 0-0 South Korea Education City Stadium
    Nov. 24 19:00 Portugal 3-2 Ghana Stadium 974
    Nov. 28 16:00 South Korea 2-3 Ghana Education City Stadium
    Nov. 28 22:00 Portugal 2-0 Uruguay Lusail Iconic Stadium
    Dec. 2 18:00 Ghana 0-2 Uruguay Al Janoub Stadium
    Dec. 2 18:00 South Korea 2-1 Portugal Education City Stadium

    Group H table standings

    Pos. Country Played W D L GD Pts
    1 Portugal 3 2 0 1 +2 6
    2 South Korea 3 1 1 1 0 4
    3 Uruguay 3 1 1 1 0 4
    4 Ghana 3 1 0 2 -2 3
  • Education City Stadium Qatar World Cup 2022Getty Images

    World Cup 2022 round of 16

    The World Cup 2022 round of 16 begins on December 3. With eight ties to be decided, two games a day are played on December 3, 4, 5 and 6.

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Dec. 3 18:00 Netherlands vs United States Khalifa International Stadium
    Dec. 3 22:00 Argentina vs Australia Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
    Dec. 4 18:00 France vs Poland Al Thumama Stadium
    Dec. 4 22:00 England vs Senegal Al Bayt Stadium
    Dec. 5 18:00 Japan vs Croatia Al Janoub Stadium
    Dec. 5 22:00 Brazil vs South Korea Stadium 974
    Dec. 6 18:00 Morocco vs Spain Education City Stadium
    Dec. 6 22:00 Portugal vs Switzerland Lusail Iconic Stadium
  • Lusail Iconic Stadium World Cup 2022 QatarGetty Images

    World Cup 2022 quarter-finals

    The World Cup 2022 quarter-finals will take place on December 9 and 10, 2022.

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Dec. 9 18:00 Winners match 53 vs Winners match 54 (match 58) Education City Stadium
    Dec. 9 22:00 Winners match 49 vs Winners match 50 (match 57) Lusail Iconic Stadium
    Dec. 10 18:00 Winners match 55 vs Winners match 56 (match 60) Al Thumama Stadium
    Dec. 10 22:00 Winners match 51 vs Winners match 52 (match 59) Al Bayt Stadium
  • Al Bayt Stadium Qatar World Cup 2022Getty Images

    World Cup 2022 semi-finals

    The final four will face off in the World Cup 2022 semi-finals on December 13 and 14.

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Dec. 13 22:00 Winners match 57 vs Winners match 58 (match 61) Lusail Iconic Stadium
    Dec. 14 22:00 Winners match 59 vs Winners match 60 (match 62) Al Bayt Stadium
  • Khalifa International StadiumGetty Images

    World Cup 2022 third-place play-off

    The losers from the two semi-finals will face off in the third-place play-off on December 17.

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Dec. 17 18:00 Losers match 61 vs Losers match 62 Khalifa International Stadium
  • World Cup trophyGetty Images

    World Cup 2022 final

    The World Cup 2022 final will take place on December 18 at Lusail Iconic Stadium

    Date KO time (local) Fixture Venue
    Dec. 18 18:00 Winners match 61 vs Winners match 62 Lusail Iconic Stadium
  • Senegal squadGetty Images

    World Cup squads (Groups A to D)

  • Spain Nations LeagueGetty Images

    World Cup squads (Groups E to H)

  • World Cup ball Qatar 2022Getty Images

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