Poland has two games left, against Hungary and Vietnam. Poland will win both of those games, but the real question for them is where they end up finishing. If Nigeria can beat Germany, Nigeria will be tied with Poland in points. The group then goes to the differential, which is where Poland could get into trouble. Nigeria currently hold a 7 goal advantage over Poland, each team with 2 remaining games left. The advantage Poland holds here is that their games are against Vietnam and Portugal, while Nigeria plays Germany and Portugal. Let’s say both teams get similar results against Portugal. We’ve already established that Nigeria would have to beat Germany to even be in this scenario, so their goal differential will increase by at least 1, putting them +8 on Poland. Poland will have to beat Vietnam by 9 in this case. There’s still some work left to do for Poland to ensure 1st place in the pool.
Germany’s outlook is simple. Win and they’re in, lose and they’re out. With a winnable game against Hungary, Germany’s concern lies with Nigeria. All they have to do is beat them (and Hungary) to go through in 2nd. 1st place is out of the question with the loss to Poland. But what if they tie Nigeria? This is a scenario that Germany does not want to face (next to losing, obviously). A tie means Nigeria goes through based on a better record. A win here is critical for Germany.
They’re in an interesting position. Their scenario is the same as Germany’s, win and they’re in. Nigeria advantage is if the game goes to a tie (definitely possible) or if Poland slips up. The 13-0 drubbing of Vietnam pushed their goal differential to tops in the group.
This group may seem pretty straightforward, but there’s still some interesting things that could happen. Hungary should have tied Nigeria, they could potentially do the same thing to Germany even if Germany beats Nigeria. That would make things very interesting. Portugal looks much better than they did the first couple games, and they could put up a good fight against Poland AND Nigeria. Keep a close eye on the group.
Group D later...