The field for the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup is now complete, with the last two nations booking their seats on Friday.
Which nation is moving into the next phase of the competition with momentum? Who is lucky enough to be there? Who could be a surprise package?
We rank the 16 teams going into the knockout stages of the tournament.
Way to the round of 16: First place in Group B
Results: 6-2 win over Brazil, 0-0 draw against USA, 3-0 win over Wales
Next opponent: Senegal (Sunday, 2pm ET / 11am PT)
Aside from the game against the Americans in which they were outplayed, the Three Lions were brilliant in Qatar. Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has scored three goals and has been backed by England’s star youngsters led by Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden. Against a centre-back, the quality of Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly will test the true quality of the English attack.
Way to the round of 16: First place in Group G
Results: 2-0 v Serbia, 1-0 v Switzerland, 1-0 v Cameroon
Next opponent: South Korea (Monday, 2pm ET / 11am PT)
Should we read about Brazil’s loss to Cameroon? Not really, as Coach Tite made nine changes and fielded his ‘B-Team’ with an already secured second-round spot. Neymar has been sidelined from the last two group stage games with an ankle injury and his status for the rest of the World Cup is currently unknown. But Brazil still need to be among the top favorites to win it all.
Way to the round of 16: First place in Group D
Results: 4-1 win over Australia, 2-1 win over Denmark, 0-1 loss to Tunisia
Next opponent: Poland (Sunday, 10am ET / 7am PT)
Don’t be fooled by France’s loss to Tunisia. Manager Didier Deschamps set up an experimental line-up after his team had already secured a place in the last 16. Les Bleus were outstanding in their first two games, with Kylian Mbappé leading a first class attack and Adrien Rabiot masterfully pulling the strings in midfield. It will be interesting to see how their defense will deal with veteran Poland striker Robert Lewandowski.
Way to the round of 16: First place in Group F
Results: 0-0 v Croatia, 2-0 v Belgium, 2-1 v Canada
Next opponent: Spain (Tuesday, 10am ET / 7am PT)
The Atlas Lions have been one of the most consistent teams throughout the group stage, having conceded just one goal, while an attack from dangerous wingers Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi caused plenty of trouble for opponents. Morocco are the first African nation to win their group since 1998, but a round of 16 showdown with Spain is Qatar’s toughest challenge yet.
Way to the round of 16: First place in Group C
Results: 1-2 v Saudi Arabia, 0-2 v Mexico, 0-2 v Poland
Next opponent: Australia (Saturday, 2pm ET / 11am PT)
La Albiceleste overcame a disastrous start to their World Cup season with two clean sheets to lead their group. Lionel Messi is in top form but he doesn’t do everything alone. Argentina also benefit from outstanding contributions from veteran Angel Di Maria and youngsters Enzo Fernández, Alexis Mac Allister and Julián Álvarez. Their back line is a bit suspect but you have to like their chances against Australia.
Way to the round of 16: First place in Group E
Results: 2-1 win over Germany, 0-1 loss against Costa Rica, 2-1 win over Spain
Next opponent: Croatia (Monday, 10:00 AM ET)
Was there a better story than Japan at this World Cup? The Asian powerhouse beat European giants Germany and Spain to deservedly win their group. All four goals came in the second half when they were behind, so the Japanese showed great determination in Qatar. But against Croatia, who boast a quality midfield led by Luka Modrić, going under would be ill-advised.
Way to the round of 16: First place in Group A
Results: 2-0 v Senegal, 1-1 v Ecuador, 2-0 v Qatar
Next opponent: United States (Saturday, 10am ET / 7am PT)
This isn’t exactly a classic Dutch side, but they effectively did their business in the group stage by collecting seven points out of a possible nine. Ahead of this tournament, there were serious questions about goalkeeper Andries Noppert as he had yet to be crowned by the Netherlands. But he was great in Qatar. So is winger Cody Gakpo (three goals), who is looking to extend his scoring streak to four games against the USA
Way to the round of 16: Second place in Group E
Results: 0-7 v Costa Rica, 1-1 v Germany, 1-2 v Japan
Next opponent: Morocco (Wednesday, 10am ET / 7am PT)
Although Spain certainly impressed in their opening game against Costa Rica, they failed to finish off their opponent in the next two games, giving away their lead in both games and settling with a single point. Atlético Madrid striker Álvaro Morata has looked impressive with three goals for a well-oiled Spanish attack, but beating a Moroccan side who have given up just one goal (and an own goal at that) is Qatar’s toughest test.
Way to the round of 16: First place in Group H
Results: 3-2 win over Ghana, 2-0 win over Uruguay, 1-2 loss to South Korea
Next opponent: Switzerland (Wednesday, 2pm ET / 11am PT)
All the focus before the tournament was Cristiano Ronaldo, but Bruno Fernandes was Portugal’s best player and was among the top midfielders in this World Cup with two goals. The Portuguese are a bit vulnerable in defence, but you have to like the wide range of attacking options manager Fernando Santos has at his disposal. Should be quite an open game between Portugal and Switzerland in the next round.
Way to the round of 16: Second place in Group G
Results: 1-0 win over Cameroon, 1-0 loss against Brazil, 3-2 win over Serbia
Next opponent: Portugal (Wednesday, 2pm ET / 11am PT)
The Swiss aren’t exactly flashy, but they find ways to grind results and are in the last 16 for the fourth time in their last five World Cup appearances. Xherdan Shaqiri was big in the 3-2 win over Serbia, scoring a goal and assisting another to secure second place in Group G. A scintillating clash with Portugal is on the horizon as the two nations have put up some great fights over the years.
Way to the round of 16: Second place in Group F
Results: 0-0 v Morocco, 4-1 v Canada, 0-0 v Belgium
Next opponent: Japan (Tuesday, 10am ET / 7am PT)
Croatia are defensively solid and well organized and apart from the big win against Canada they haven’t made hearts beat with their attacking play as it faded out in the other two group games. Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović and Mateo Kovačić form one of the best midfield trios at this World Cup, but will they be able to hold the ball and slow down the speedy Japanese who are riding high after the upset against Germany and Spain?
12. UNITED STATES
Way to the round of 16: Second place in Group B
Results: 1-1 v Wales, 0-0 v England, 1-0 v Iran
Next opponent: Netherlands (Saturday, 10am ET / 7am PT)
The Americans have proved difficult to break due to their defensive organization led by 23-year-old captain Tyler Adams, who was one of Qatar’s standout midfielders. But their lack of offensive performance (just two goals) is a concern, especially given Christian Pulisic who is struggling with a pelvic injury. Trying to contain Dutch winger Cody Gakpo (three goals) will be a tough test for the American defense.
World Cup Daily: South Korea’s dramatic victory leaves Uruguay heartbroken
Switzerland beats Serbia and joins Brazil in the knockout rounds of the World Cup
Way to the round of 16: Second place in Group A
Results: 0-2 v Netherlands, 1-3 v Qatar, 1-2 v Ecuador
Next opponent: England (Sunday, 2pm ET / 11am PT)
What a fun team to see. Senegal provided plenty of entertainment in Qatar with their fearless and open attacking style, advancing to only their second World Cup round of 16. The injury-related absence of veteran striker Sadio Mané has not slowed the Lions of Teranga as five different players have scored for Senegal in the group stage. But England are on a different level than their previous three opponents.
14. SOUTH KOREA
Way to the round of 16: Second place in Group H
Results: 0-0 draw with Uruguay, 2-3 loss against Ghana, 2-1 win against Portugal
Next opponent: Brazil (Monday, 2pm ET / 11am PT)
An injury-time goal saw South Korea defeat Portugal, allowing the Asian powerhouse to edge Uruguay out for second place in Group H by a slender margin. It is only the third time that the South Koreans have reached the round of 16 in eleven World Cup appearances. It’s a great achievement. Now they face the great task of taking on mighty Brazil.
Way to the round of 16: Second place in Group D
Results: 4-1 defeat against France, 1-0 win over Tunisia, 1-0 win over Denmark
Next opponent: Argentina (Saturday, 2pm ET / 11am PT)
You have to give the Socceroos credit for recovering from their opening game loss to France. They kept their defense tight and used their limited chances to earn a place in the knockout stages for the second time in six World Cup appearances. Your reward? A showdown with mighty Argentina led by Messi who appears to be on a mission in Qatar.
Way to the round of 16: Second place in Group C
Results: 0-0 v Mexico, 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia, 0-2 loss to Argentina
Next opponent: France (Sunday, 10am ET / 7am PT)
In all honesty, Poland are lucky to be here, having edged Mexico to second in their group on goal difference. While goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny has been sensational and has held his country in this tournament, the attack has looked limp and uninspired – Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty and scored just one goal for Poland. It’s hard to imagine that this team can draw level with France.