Before the Fifa World Cup 2018, very few would have believed of the if's and but's involving Germany's chances to qualify for the round of 16 because they were considered the clear favourites to lift the cup. Group F of the Fifa World Cup is the most complete grouping of this year's Russia World Cup.
Although Mexico have won both their first two matches against the mighty Germans and South Koreans, nothing can guarantee their qualification. But they seem to have the highest possibilities of qualifying for the knockout stages from Group F.
Germany have been far from impressive in their gameplay in this edition of World Cup, but they have shown tremendous fighting spirit, as evident from their last-minute equaliser by Toni Kroos against Sweden.
So here are certain combinations for Germany to reach the knock-outs.
For Germany to qualify, we are presuming their victory against South Korea. If Germany loses against South Korea and Sweden loses against Mexico, then all of Germany, Sweden and South Korea's goal difference will be in consideration.
Goal difference (or points difference) is calculated as the number of goals (or points) scored minus the number of goals or points conceded. Goal difference was first introduced as a tiebreaker.
A win for Germany will take them to 6 points. Now there are two routes, however, there are several combinations.
Let's presume what happens if the Germans win against Korea:
1. Mexico's win or draw against Sweden will bring the Germans again on the next round but with Germany being the second placed team in Group F means they will face Brazil if Brazil tops Group E (which is most likely).
2. If Sweden manages a win against Mexico, it all comes to goal difference because then Germany, Sweden and Mexico will be on same points.
For example, a simple scenario is that Germany beating Korea 1-0 and Sweden beating Mexico 2-0 qualifies both Germans and Sweden as the current goal difference (GD) for both Germany and Sweden is 0 and Mexico is +2. So, a 1-0 victory against Korea will make German's GD 1 and 2-0 victory by the Swedes against the Mexicans will make their GD +2 and Mexico's GD 0. Thereby, Sweden leads the group with Germany in the second position.
Thus, goal difference will be the key to decide who goes to the next round.
However, if a situation arises that Germany, Mexico and Sweden have the same GD then another factor will be considered.
How will they have the same GD?
If Germany win 1-0 against Korea, and Sweden win 2-1 against Mexico, then all three teams will have the same GD.
If they have the same GD, another parameter can be considered, which is, number of goals scored.
So if a team scored more goals than the other team(s) then that team tied with GD in the group standings, FIFA believes that particular team deserves to move on past them. Currently, Mexico has scored 3 goals and Germany and Sweden have scored 2 goals.
To simplify it further, if Germany win 1-0 against Korea and Sweden win 2-1 against Mexico then Germany, Mexico and Sweden will have the same GD but Sweden will have 4 goals scored to their name and Mexico will have 4 as well. Thus, Germany will not qualify on the basis of lower goals scored even if they have the same points and GD.
If they are still tied in points, GD and goals scored, then fair play considerations are given.
A yellow card takes one point off a team's total, an indirect red (the result of being shown a second yellow card) is three points off, a straight red is four points off, and if a team gets a yellow and a direct red it’s worth five points off its total. The team with the highest total points remaining is the one that advances.
If that happens, which is highly unlikely, there will be trouble for Germany as they have 2 yellow cards and 1 red. Mexico and Sweden have 2 and 3 respectively.
Last but not the least, if there still lacks a result and things are tied, then a tiebreaker will happen. Any teams still in the tiebreaker have their names printed out and put into balls, which are in turn put into a bowl, just like the group stage draw.