The group stage of the 2018 World Cup is coming to a close, and the knockout bracket is coming into focus. Here's how Group B is shaping up.
The group stage of the 2018 World Cup is coming to a close, and the knockout bracket is coming into focus. Entering the final matchday, Group B has yet to produce a definitive knockout stage representative.
Eligible for the knockout stage are Spain, Portugal and Iran. Spain and Portugal's draw in the opening match, coupled with Iran's victory over Morocco in its first match, means that any one of those three countries could end up winning the group. But while Iran's path to the next round is fairly straightforward, Spain and Portugal are still likely to reach the knockout stage.
Spain (4 points, +1)
Portugal (4 points, +1)
Iran (3 points, 0)
Morocco (0 points, -2)
Spain and Portugal lead the group with four points apiece, but Iran is just a point behind.
If Iran defeats Portugal in its final game, it will advance. A draw would require Spain to lose by at least two goals for Iran to advance.
The most likely scenario is that Portugal and Spain advance. Spain will advance with at least a draw against Morocco, and could potentially advance with a loss. Portugal will advance with a win or a draw. If Portugal beats Iran, then Spain is through no matter what.
If both Portugal and Spain win, the winner of the group comes down to goal differential. Entering the final matchday, both teams are +1, so whichever team's margin of victory is higher would win Group B. If the goal differentials are identical, then it comes down to goals scored in group play—entering the final matchday, both teams are level.
Morocco has been eliminated.
Still to Play:
Iran vs. Portugal, June 25, 2 p.m.
Spain vs. Morocco, June 25, 2 p.m.