The World Cup is really heating up as it moves into the final matches of the group stage.
While there’s plenty to play for in all eight groups, Group E is looking particularly competitive.
Germany’s draw against Spain on Sunday has ensured that all four teams in the group going into the final matchday with the potential to both go through or be knocked out of the competition.
With just three points separating top from bottom, it means that the final fixtures of Japan vs Spain and Costa Rica vs Germany are going to be must-watch encounters.
Spain started their campaign with a 7-0 victory over Costa Rica, before earning a 1-1 draw with Germany.
Japan earned a 2-1 win over Germany, before losing 1-0 to Costa Rica.
Here’s how Group E looks going into the final matchday:
Fans hold pictures of Ozil while covering mouths during Germany World Cup match
With that in mind, here’s exactly what each nation needs to do, or not do, in their final fixture to progress to the second round.
Spain will finish top of Group E if they win their final fixture against Japan.
They will also finish top of the group if they draw against Japan and Costa Rica fail to beat Germany.
Spain would only be knocked out if they lose to Japan and Costa Rica beat Germany OR if they lose to Japan, Germany beat Costa Rica and there’s a nine-goal swing in goal difference between Germany and Spain.
A victory against Spain would see them progress into the knockout stage as Group E winners.
If Japan draw with Spain then they will be knocked out should Costa Rica beat Germany, or if Germany beat Costa Rica by two or more goals.
Should Japan lose to Spain then they will be knocked out of the competition.
Costa Rica will progress to the last 16 if their result against Germany is better than Japan’s against Spain.
Should Japan beat Spain, Costa Rica would progress with a victory over Germany.
If Costa Rica draw with Germany, they would need Japan to win 14-0 against Spain to ensure that they progressed along with Japan.
Germany are the only team that are unable to win Group E.
They can qualify for the knockout stage if they beat Costa Rica and Spain beat Japan.
If Spain and Japan draw then Germany would go through if they beat Costa Rica and score more against them than Japan do against Spain.
They’ll also go through if they beat Costa Rica by two or more goals and Japan fail to beat Spain.
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