A total of 10 teams have already secured a place in the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup. That number will increase to 13 after Wednesday.
Argentina are already through from Group F. The only drama left for them is whether they'll finish first or second in the group. Iran and Nigeria are fighting for the final spot.
In Group E, the situation is a little murkier, with nobody having qualified just yet. Even Honduras are still mathematically alive.
Here's a look at each of the eight World Cup groups through 13 days, followed by previews for each of Day 14's four matches.
|World Cup 2014 Group Tables|
Day 14 Preview
Nigeria vs. Argentina
Some might be discouraged with the way that Argentina have performed so far. One of the top favorites to win, La Albiceleste were solid if unspectacular against Bosnia-Herzegovina and then needed a 91st-minute winner to beat Iran.
The more optimistic fan would argue that Argentina are a much more organized team. They might win ugly, but at least the tactical anarchy under Diego Maradona is long gone. Alejandro Sabella simply knows how to get results, and he isn't afraid to sacrifice beauty in order to accomplish his goals.
One problem that remains, however, is a heavy reliance on Lionel Messi.
"Whenever there is a player like Messi, there’s a dependence," Sabella said, per The Guardian's Sid Lowe. "We are trying to improve but dependence always exists. We have to try to take the pressure off him between all of us because we are a team. But for a great player there is always pressure at a World Cup."
Nigeria enter this match knowing that a draw will be good enough to see them through. The Super Eagles rode their luck a bit against Bosnia-Herzegovina, but they've been a defensively strong side so far.
If they can neutralize Messi, they may be able to snag the point out of this fixture that they need.
Nigeria 0, Argentina 0
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran
Have Bosnia-Herzegovina already called it a day at the World Cup? Since they have no chance of advancing to the knockout stages, their players may have trouble finding much motivation for what is a dead rubber.
Of course, the converse is that Bosnia-Herzegovina may want to go out on a positive note in their first-ever World Cup appearance. The Dragons are much better than their results would have you believe, and Tuesday may be the first time they fulfill their potential.
Either way, Bosnia-Herzegovina will have a hard time breaking down what's been an impressive Iran defense. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson explained the secret to the Iranians' success:
While Iran’s games may not have had the ebb and flow of much of the tournament, it is almost mesmerising watching how they close down shape. The principles are relatively simple: try to keep two lines of players between the opponent with the ball and the goal at all times, and try to prevent opponents moving into space between the two defensive banks. Still, to do it well requires great mental and physical discipline. The back four stay relatively flat with the full-backs advancing only occasionally, although the crossing of Pejman Montazeri from the right twice created great openings against Argentina.
The midfield is a little more complex. Javad Nekounam sits deep, between the two fours in a 4‑1‑4‑1, ensuring no player is given time between, in that central area 10 yards or so outside the penalty area. If a midfielder pushes out to go to the man with the ball, Nekounam fills the space, so the shape becomes 4-4-1-1.
The conundrum that coach Carlos Queiroz faces is that Iran need three points to advance to the round of 16. A draw won't be good enough unless they're content enough to head home with a third-place finish in Group F.
If Iran do open up, they'll play into the hands of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who only know how to attack. The Dragons will labor in this match but walk away with their first World Cup victory.
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1, Iran 0
Honduras vs. Switzerland
Although Honduras entered the World Cup with almost no expectations, they've still managed to be a disappointment. Costa Rica have shown that a CONCACAF team can play defensively and still be fun to watch.
Honduras, on the other hand, have been content to kick their opponents for 90 minutes.
As bad as Switzerland were against France, they can still reach the round of 16 with a win and an Ecuador loss. They have it all to play for here. In addition, with their coach Ottmar Hitzfeld retiring at the end of the World Cup, the Swiss will want to send him out with more than a group-stage exit.
Switzerland showed fight in their 5-2 loss to France. They could've easily packed it in after going down 5-0, but they instead added two goals in the final 13 minutes of the match to regain at least some respectability.
That's the kind of fight they will need to break down what will continue to be an ultra-defensive Honduras side. Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami will, however, have to be much better than they were against Les Bleus. They're two of the Swiss' most important players, so the team cannot afford for them to go missing.
Expect a strong rebound performance from a Switzerland team motivated to set the record straight after a bad defeat.
Switzerland 3, Honduras 1
Ecuador vs. France
Few teams have looked better in this tournament than France. Their 3-0 win against Honduras looks slightly more impressive in retrospect, even if it came against 10 men for 47 minutes. The 5-2 demolition against Switzerland was a thing of beauty.
The more impressive part of France's World Cup has been the way that Didier Deschamps has made everybody forget about the infamous 2010 player revolt and disappointment at Euro 2012.
Deschamps was a key figure on the "Black, Blanc, Beur" team that won the World Cup in 1998 and helped to ease some of the racial divide in France at the time. Although the 2014 team doesn't carry as much social importance, the sense of positivity is much the same.
Ecuador will be a tough matchup. Enner Valencia is on a rich vein of form, and La Tri know that they can't afford to stand pat and hope for the best in terms of advancing to the round of 16.
The problem for Ecuador will be avoiding getting ripped apart on the counter like Switzerland were for France's third goal.
This will be Les Bleus' toughest match of the group stage, but they'll still come away with three points.
France 2, Ecuador 1
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!