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Group G and H permutations: Who could face who?

Group G and H permutations: Who could face who in the last 16?

June 22, 2018 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The favorites in Group G triumphed whereas the underdogs in Group H prevailed in their respective first round matches. What will be their fates?

Although it is still early days yet, the first round of matches has given us a fair idea as to what to expect as far as qualification to the knockout phase in concerned. The predisposition of Belgium and England being the kingpins in Group G was justified when the pair recorded respective wins in their opening group games.

The Red Devils registered a 3-0 win over Panama courtesy Romelu Lukaku's double and Dries Mertens' stunning volley whereas the Three Lions saw out Tunisia via a 2-1 scoreline after Harry Kane's struck again late in stoppage time to steal the ultimate points.

Nevertheless, the narrative in Group H was different as the odds were defied with both Senegal and Japan winning 2-1 over Poland and Colombia respectively. With the eligibility to qualify to the next round lying between just the two top-ranked teams, it will be interesting how the sides lagging behind will react knowing that an unfavorable result in the next match means doom.

When all is said and done, who in Group G will face who in Group H? We take a look...

Group G and H standings

What are the brackets for the Last 16 stage?

While there are two more games left to decide who will make it into the Round of 16, it will be impossible to single out two sides for the top two spots in the respective groups. However, per the conscripted layouts, the winner of Group G will face the second placed team in Group H and vice versa. July 2: Winner of Group G vs First runner-up of Group H July 3: Winner of Group H vs First runner-up of Group G

Who has a high chance of qualifying and who could be heading out?

Group G

On paper, both Belgium and England should sail through this group without any complications. However, Tunisia proved to be a huge nuisance against the Three Lions in their opening group game and could possibly have something up their sleeves.

The Carthage Eagles saw most of their hard work undone by poor decision making and inefficiency in the final third. Should they find their scoring boots and be composed defensively in their next game with Belgium, another popular opinion can be overridden.

England, on the other hand, will only aim to emulate what the Belgians did against Panama. A win over Los Canaleros will take their point tally to six while they await Belgium in an encounter which might as well decide who the group winner will be.

Group H

Here, the leaders of the group – Japan and Senegal – will come face to face on Matchday 2. As it is, a win for either side will ensure qualification. Things will, however, be slightly complicated should this match as well as the meeting between Colombia and Poland end in a draw.

What it means is that the winners of the group will be decided in the final match of the group stage as both Japan and Senegal will have four points apiece and Colombia and Poland with a point apiece. Should both Japan and Senegal lose to Poland and Senegal respectively in the final group-stage game, the points will be tied at four apiece and the differential in goals will be used in determining who will sail through.

Who will win the group and who will finish as runner-up?

Group G

It should be straight-forward but Tunisia can make life difficult for Belgium. However, we still expect the Red Devils to grab the victory. Panama proved to provide very little threat while attacking so England should be able to cruise past them and wrap up their qualification.

For the top spot in Group G, we expect Belgium to take it due to England's lack of options in attack and their over-reliance on Harry Kane to get the goals.

Group H

Both Senegal and Japan have made statements of intent with their respective wins but there's still much to expect from Colombia and Poland. A draw in the next game can change a lot in this group and the outcomes of the final game will also be very crucial. We will put our bet on Senegal to progress as considering the astuteness of both their attack and defense.

For the second spot, Colombia can put in a fight to make it their own. First, they'd have to get the result against Poland and then battle it out with Teranga Lions in the last game.

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