When the World Cup draw was made back in December 2017, few people could have predicted that defending champions Germany will be on the verge of elimination in the group stage itself.
Group F, featuring Mexico, Germany, Sweden and South Korea, has turned out to be the most wide open one after the two opening two rounds of group stage fixtures. Going into the final round on Wednesday, no team has qualified for the knockouts yet and all four teams have a chance to grab the two berths available for the Round of 16.
A shock 1-0 opening loss to Mexico followed by a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Sweden has put Germany in a precarious position but at least their fate lies in their own hands.
Currently, Mexico lead with six points but they aren't safe yet. Germany and Sweden are second and third respectively, with three points each. South Korea are placed fourth with no points so far.
If Germany defeat South Korea on Wednesday and Sweden beat Mexico, three teams would finish with six points. In such a situation, the qualification will be decided with tie-breakers that start with the best goal differential and then fair play conduct.
If Mexico and South Korea win, Mexico would top the group and the other three teams would be equal on three points.
Germany need to beat South Korea by two goals or more to guarantee that they qualify, or they must better Sweden’s result in the other group game against Mexico to secure a top-two finish.
If Germany and Sweden draw, then the team in the higher-scoring match will finish second. If both draws are with the same score, Germany finish second due to their head-to-head win over Sweden.
Should the Germans qualify as Group F runners-up, they potentially face a mouth-watering last-16 clash against Brazil in Samara on Monday.
The South Koreans, after two defeats, would have to beat Germany by more than two goals while hoping Sweden lose to Mexico to have any chance of advancing.
Germany have not been eliminated in the first round of a World Cup since 1938 and they have won both of their previous World Cup meetings against South Korea. They beat the Asians 1-0 in the 2002 World Cup semi-final and emerged victorious in a 3-2 thriller in their 1994 World Cup group encounter.
With all to play for and the stakes so high, Wednesday promises two enthralling World Cup matches in Russia.
Take a look at all the possible scenarios that could happen in Group F here.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jun 27, 2018 15:51:58 IST