The final round of World Cup group-stage play continues Wednesday with four games, two in Group E and two in Group F (all times EDT):
Group F: Nigeria vs. Australia in Porto Alegre, noon (ESPN).
Group F: Bosnia vs. Iran in Salvador, noon (ESPN2).
Group E: Honduras vs. Switzerland in Manaus, 4 p.m. (ESPN2).
Group E: Ecuador vs. France in Rio de Janeiro, 4 p.m. (ESPN).
Group E Standings
France 2-0-0, 6 points (plus-6 goal differential)
Ecuador 1-1-0, 3 points (0 goal differential)
Switzerland 1-1-0, 3 points (minus-2 goal differential)
Honduras 0-2-0, 0 points (minus-4 goal differential)
– France has not officially clinched a spot in the knockout round. However, it will take a perfect storm of craziness — a blowout loss to Ecuador combined with a Switzerland blowout of Honduras — for Les Blues not to be in the round of 16 (according to FiveThirtyEight, France has just a 0.02 percent chance of not advancing). France will clinch first place in the group with a win, draw or loss of less than four goals against Ecuador. In other words, France is almost certain to win Group E.
– Ecuador will advance with a win over France combined with a Switzerland loss or draw against Honduras, a draw against France combined with a Switzerland loss to Honduras, or a draw with France combined with a Switzerland-Honduras draw.
– Switzerland will advance with a win over Honduras and an Ecuador loss or draw against France, or a draw against Honduras combined with an Ecuador loss to France.
– If Ecuador and Switzerland both win, it will come down to tiebreakers, with Ecuador having the edge because of goal differential.
– Honduras has a miniscule chance (about 2 percent, per FiveThirtyEight) of advancing. It would need to beat Switzerland by at least two goals and for France to beat Ecuador by multiple goals.
Group F standings
Argentina 2-0-0, 6 points (plus-2 goal differential)
Nigeria 1-0-1, 4 points (plus-1 goal differential)
Iran 0-1-1, 1 point (minus-1 goal differential)
Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-2-0, 0 points (minus-2 goal differential)
– Argentina has clinched a spot in the knockout round and will clinch first place in the group with a win or draw against Nigeria.
– Nigeria will advance with a win or draw against Argentina, or a loss combined with an Iran loss or draw against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
– If Nigeria loses to Argentina and Iran beats Bosnia, here’s where things could get interesting. The tiebreaker will come down to the final scores of each game. If Iran wins and Nigeria loses by the same one-goal score (1-0, 2-1 or 3-2, for instance), FIFA would be forced to pick a name out of a hat to determine who advances, as the teams — who played to a 0-0 draw on June 16 — would have the same number of points, the same goal differential and the same number of goals scored.
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