Eight more teams are in contention on Wednesday, in their last games of the pool stage of the competition, and fighting for a spot in the final 16.
Three European teams take to the pitch: France, Denmark and Poland on the final day of play for both Groups and D, as simultaneous kickoffs continue.
The practice of starting two games at the same time began in 1986, four years after a match dubbed the “Disgrace of Gijon.” The match was scandalous because West Germany and Austria both knew that a German win by one or two goals would advance both teams at the expense of Algeria.
Here’s our at-a-glance guide to Wednesday’s World Cup action:
Tunisia v France (16:00)
- Defending champion France has not won all three of its World Cup group matches since claiming its first title in 1998.
- Tunisia hasn’t even won three matches in its World Cup history, but the team needs to beat France on Wednesday to have any chance of advancing to the round of 16 in Qatar.
- The French are looking to match the 1998 team, but with Les Bleus already qualified, they only need a draw to guarantee first place in Group D so key players can be rested.
- France has six goals in two games — three from Mbappé and two from Giroud — while Tunisia was held to a 0-0 draw with Denmark and missed some chances in a 1-0 loss to Australia.
- The Tunisians have never been past the group stage in five World Cups and their two wins were 40 years apart — against Mexico in 1978 and against Panama four years ago in Russia.
Australia v Denmark (16:00)
- Australia is hoping to reach the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time since Germany in 2006.
- Australia faces European Championship semifinalist Denmark in its decisive final group game Wednesday, with the winner likely advancing.
- Denmark needs to win and hope that Tunisia doesn’t beat France. Australia will qualify with a win, or a draw unless Tunisia beats France.
- The teams drew 1-1 in the group phase of the last World Cup in 2018.
- Denmark will expect more of itself after a lackluster 0-0 opening draw with Tunisia and a 2-1 loss to France.
Poland v Argentina (20:00)
- There are multiple scenarios at play for the Group C finale. A win for Argentina and they are sure to advance, likely as the group winners.
- In the event of a draw, Argentina can either finish in second place behind Poland or be squeezed out by either Saudi Arabia or Mexico, who are playing in a match taking place concurrently.
- A loss for Argentina means they would be eliminated from the World Cup in the group stage for the first time since 2002.
- Poland is looking to advance beyond the group stage for the first time since 1986.
Saudi Arabia v Mexico (20:00)
- Mexico is going to have to suddenly find goals — and perhaps even several of them — to extend its knockout-round streak at the World Cup.
- Mexico has reached the round of 16 at the last seven World Cups, tied for the longest current streak with Brazil. But in Qatar, the team sits at the bottom of Group C ahead of a must-win match against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday at Lusail Stadium.
- The last time Mexico played at soccer’s biggest tournament and didn’t advance out of its group was in 1978.
- But it’s not quite as simple as winning: Mexico must also get help. They’ll need Poland to beat Argentina at the exact same time at Stadium 974.
- Saudi Arabia reached the round of 16 back in 1994, the team’s World Cup debut, but hasn’t made it past the group stage since.
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