April 20, 2024

Women’s World Cup Group scenarios: How each team advances to round of 16

“I love history,” United States midfielder Megan Rapinoe told me at the 2012 Olympics in London. “But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to change it.”

One part of history that the USA women’s team does not want to change, is its record in the group stage of World Cups. In each of the tournament’s eight previous editions the Americans progressed comfortably to the knockout round; in fact, its worst overall finishing position has been a trio of bronze medals.

That puts it in elite company. Germany — which began its 2023 campaign with a resounding 6-0 thumping of Morocco — is the only other program to have safely avoided early elimination every single time.

Is Germany the BEST team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup right now? | SOTU

Is Germany the BEST team in the FIFA Women's World Cup right now? | SOTU

Even with the event just days old, some nations already look to be in an almost unassailable position in their group. Much like the USA and the Netherlands in Group E, Group C heavyweights Spain and Japan seem to have little to worry about on the path to respective round of 16 spots.

Of the typical favorites Germany and Brazil will be feeling good about their first efforts, and England, despite struggling at times before beating Haiti 1-0, can probably afford to also turn one eye to the future.

Talking of history, no host nation has ever gone out in the group stage, which bodes well for Australia, top of Group B, and New Zealand.

However, some of the hopefuls have left themselves with work to do. Olympic champion Canada did itself no favors by drawing its opener, and the same applies to France, which was held in check by Jamaica.

France vs. Jamaica Recap | World Cup Tonight

France vs. Jamaica Recap | World Cup Tonight

As always, once we get to the final round of group matches, various permutations and scenarios come into play, and talk can turn to things like goal difference, head-to-head and even disciplinary records as forms of tiebreaker.

For now though, it remains relatively simple, with every team still having its fate in its own hands, albeit with differing degrees of difficulty.

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP SCENARIOS

GROUP A

  • New Zealand — advances to the Round of 16 with a win vs. Switzerland, OR draw vs. Switzerland AND Norway win vs. Philippines (and tie-breaker).
  • New Zealand — is eliminated with a loss vs. Switzerland.
  • New Zealand — wins Group A with a win vs. Switzerland AND Norway win/draw vs. Philippines, OR a win vs. Switzerland AND Philippines win vs. Norway (and tie-breaker vs. Philippines).
  • Philippines — advances to the Round of 16 with a win/draw vs. Norway AND Switzerland win vs. New Zealand (by any scoreline).
  • Philippines — is eliminated with a loss vs. Norway, OR draw vs. Norway AND Switzerland-New Zealand draw.
  • Philippines — wins Group A with win vs. Norway AND Switzerland-New Zealand draw, OR win vs. Norway AND New Zealand win vs. Switzerland (and tie-breaker vs. New Zealand).
  • Switzerland — advances to the Round of 16 with a win/draw vs. New Zealand, OR loss vs. New Zealand AND Norway win vs. Philippines (and tie-breaker).
  • Switzerland — is eliminated with a loss vs. New Zealand AND Philippines win vs. Norway (by any score), OR a loss vs. New Zealand AND Norway win vs. Philippines (and tie-breaker vs. Norway).
  • Switzerland —  wins Group A with a win vs. New Zealand, OR a draw vs. New Zealand AND Norway win/draw vs. Philippines.
  • Norway — advances to the Round of 16 with a win vs. Philippines AND Switzerland win vs. New Zealand (by any scoreline), OR win vs. Philippines AND Switzerland-New Zealand draw (and tie-breaker vs New Zealand), OR win vs Philippines AND New Zealand win vs Switzerland.
  • Norway — is eliminated with a draw/loss vs. Philippines.
  • Norway — cannot win Group A.

*Note: Group A has played two matches as of July 25

GROUP B

  • Canada — cannot clinch advancement or be eliminated, regardless of results.
  • Ireland — is eliminated if it loses to Canada.
  • Australia — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats Nigeria.
  • Nigeria — cannot clinch advancement or be eliminated, regardless of results.

GROUP C

  • Japan — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats Costa Rica AND Spain wins/draws vs. Zambia.
  • Costa Rica — is eliminated if it loses to Japan AND Spain wins/draws vs. Zambia.
  • Spain — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats Zambia AND Japan wins/draws vs. Costa Rica.
  • Zambia — is eliminated if it loses to Spain AND Japan wins/draws vs. Costa Rica.

GROUP D

  • England — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats Denmark AND Haiti wins/draws vs. China.
  • Denmark — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats England AND China wins/draws vs. Haiti.
  • China — is eliminated if it loses to Haiti AND England wins/draws vs. Denmark.
  • Haiti — is eliminated if it loses to China AND Denmark wins/draws vs. England.

GROUP E

  • USA — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats Netherlands AND Vietnam wins/draws vs. Portugal.
  • Netherlands — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats USA AND Portugal wins/draws vs. Vietnam.
  • Portugal — is eliminated if it loses to Vietnam AND USA wins/draws vs. Netherlands.
  • Vietnam — is eliminated if it loses to Portugal AND Netherlands wins/draws vs. USA.

GROUP F

  • France — cannot clinch advancement or be eliminated, regardless of results.
  • Brazil — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats France.
  • Panama — is eliminated if it loses to Jamaica.
  • Jamaica — cannot clinch advancement or be eliminated, regardless of results.

GROUP G

  • Sweden — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats Italy AND South Africa wins/draws vs. Argentina.
  • Italy — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats Sweden AND Argentina wins/draws vs. South Africa.
  • South Africa — is eliminated if it loses to Argentina AND Italy wins/draws vs. Sweden.
  • Argentina — is eliminated if it loses to South Africa AND Sweden wins/draws vs. Italy.

GROUP H

  • Germany — advances to the Round of 16 if it beats Colombia AND Morocco wins/draws vs. South Korea.
  • Colombia — advances to the Round of 16 if beats Germany AND South Korea wins/draws vs Morocco.
  • South Korea —  is eliminated if it loses to Morocco AND Germany wins/draws vs Colombia.
  • Morocco — is eliminated if it loses to South Korea AND Colombia wins/draws vs Germany.
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