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World Cup 2022 knockout round qualification scenarios for Group C

Here’s the knockout qualification scenarios in Group C at the 2022 World Cup.

Argentina v Mexico: Group C - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Lionel Messi of Argentina looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at Lusail Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.
Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The second matches of group stage play are underway and while this theoretically will provide more clarity when it comes to knockout round spots, Group C is the exception to the rule. Argentina, Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia are all still in the hunt when it comes to making the round of 16. Here’s a look at where every team stands after two matches.

Group C

Qualified: Argentina, Poland

Update: Argentina defeated Poland 2-0 and Mexico won over Saudi Arabia 2-1, but goal differential has sent Poland into the knockout round along with Argetina.

Argentina got a big win over Mexico to register their first points of the World Cup. Poland’s win over Saudi Arabia has helped vault Argentina into the second spot behind Poland in the group. Those two teams will meet in the final match. Saudi Arabia have three points and will play Mexico.

If Poland or Argentina win, they are in the knockout stage. Poland should be in with a draw as well, while Argentina would need tiebreaker help in the event they draw. If Argentina lose, they’ll need Mexico to defeat Saudi Arabia and hope tiebreakers take them through. If Poland lose, they’ll go into a tiebreaker in the event Mexico win or draw against Saudi Arabia.

If Saudi Arabia win, they are in the knockout round. If they draw, they can advance if Poland defeat Argentina. If Poland and Argentina draw, Saudi Arabia would need tiebreaker advantages if they also draw with Mexico. If Poland lose and Saudi Arabia draw, it would also come down to tiebreakers.

Mexico has the toughest path forward. They’ll be out with a draw or loss against Saudi Arabia. If they win, they’ll need a tiebreaker edge over Argentina if Argentina draws with Poland or an edge over Poland if Argentina beats Poland. If Poland beat Argentina and Mexico win, Mexico are through.

Here’s a more condensed look at potential paths in Group C.

Poland win or draw: Qualify for knockout stage
Poland loss: Tiebreakers in play depending on Saudi Arabia-Mexico result

Argentina win: Qualify for knockout stage
Argentina draw: Tiebreakers in play depending on Saudi Arabia-Mexico result
Argentina loss: Tiebreakers in play if Mexico defeat Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia win: Qualify for knockout round
Saudi Arabia draw: Tiebreakers in play if Argentina defeat Poland or Argentina-Poland ends in a draw
Saudi Arabia loss: Tiebreakers in play if Poland defeat Argentina

Mexico win: Qualify for knockout round if Poland defeat Argentina, tiebreakers in play with Argentina if Argentina-Poland ends in draw, tiebreakers in play with Poland if Argentina beat Poland
Mexico draw or loss: Eliminated from contention