World Cup 2022 Knockout Stage Odds, Format, Rules and Predictions
The quest for the 2022 FIFA World Cup title began two weeks ago with 32 national teams (eight pools of four teams each) from around the world in group-stage action.
But now, four matches remain until exactly half of those squads begin the second stage of competition, which is set to commence on Dec. 3.
Ahead of Thursday, Senegal, the Netherlands, England, the United States, Australia, France, Argentina and Poland had made it through the knockout stages. Morocco, Croatia, Japan and Spain joined them in the round of 16 following the closing matches of Group E and F.
Japan surprised soccer fans everywhere by topping Group E over Spain and Germany. It seemed the Samurai Blue were set to be eliminated when entering halftime 1-0 down to Spain, but second-half goals from Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka saw them take a famous 2-1 victory and allowed them to jump La Roja in the standings.
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Although Spain lost, it still made the final 16 thanks to a superior goal differential to Germany, which also finished on four points after a rollercoaster win over Costa Rica.
Germany took an early lead against Los Ticos, but a Yeltsin Tejeda tap-in and an own goal from Manuel Neuer gave Costa Rica a 2-1 lead and set them up for a surprise trip to the knockouts. However, two goals from Kai Havertz and one from Niclas Füllkrug sealed a 4-2 win and broke Costa Rican hearts, although it wasn't enough for Germany to make up the huge gap in goal differential with Spain to earn qualification.
Germany, the 2014 world champion, has now been eliminated at the group stage in consecutive World Cup tournaments.
The Americans will take on the Netherlands in the opening match of the round of 16 on Saturday.
Next up is Argentina, which is heavily favored over Australia. France and England will be on the pitch Sunday against Poland and Senegal, respectively, before Japan is back in action on Monday against 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia.
In the first winter World Cup, there have been some unexpected results: Mexico, Belgium and four-time world champions Germany are all out, while Australia has made the knockouts for only the second time in its history and Japan won its group over two European giants.
With just over two weeks until the final, it still seems like anything can happen.
Knockout Stage Odds
Saturday, December 3
Netherlands (-205; bet $205 to win $100) vs. United States (+170; bet $100 to win $170) — 10 a.m. ET, Fox
Argentina (-1200) vs. Australia (+700) — 2 p.m. ET, Fox
Sunday, December 4
France (-750) vs. Poland (+500) — 10 a.m. ET, FS1
England (-390) vs. Senegal (+300) — 2 p.m. ET, FS1
Monday, December 5
Japan (+150) vs. Croatia (+180) — 10 a.m. ET, Fox
Group G winner vs. Group H runner-up — 2 p.m. ET, Fox
Tuesday, December 6
Morocco (+295) vs. Spain (-280) — 10 a.m. ET, Fox
Group H winner vs. Group G runner-up — 2 p.m. ET, Fox
Usher Komugisha @UsherKomugisha
Round of 16 fixtures: <br><br>Netherlands 🇳🇱 vs 🇺🇸 USA<br>Argentina 🇦🇷 vs 🇦🇺 Australia<br>Japan 🇯🇵 vs 🇭🇷 Croatia<br>England 🏴 vs 🇸🇳 Senegal<br>France 🇫🇷 vs 🇵🇱 Poland<br>Morocco 🇲🇦 vs 🇪🇸 Spain <br><br>Who do you see progressing to the quarterfinals at this World Cup? 🧐 <a href="https://t.co/Ef5UGUfARx">pic.twitter.com/Ef5UGUfARx</a>
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Format and Rules
There are quite a few changes in store for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, centered around the expansion to 48 teams.
But for now, the rules are pretty simple for Qatar 2022.
This year's event began with a 32-team format with eight groups of four teams.
The top two finishers in each group advance to the single-elimination, bracket-style knockout stage.
Then it's on to the quarter-finals for eight teams, then the semi-finals for four, followed by the play-off for third place and, of course, the final between two teams to crown the champion.
Now that the World Cup is in the knockout stages, extra time shall be played if a match is still even at the end of playing time.
If extra time isn't sufficient to determine the winner, penalty kicks will be taken to sort out the victor.
For a detailed breakdown of all of the FIFA rules and regulations, please click here.
Just like the saying about best-laid plans being rooted in futility, so are the predictions for the outcomes of the 2022 FIFA World Cup knockout matches.
But that still won't deter oddsmakers from putting wagers on the line.
To that end, here's a quick look at a few predictions for the knockout stage.
The USMNT is the only CONCACAF side to advance past the group stage after Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica were all eliminated.
But can it continue its winning ways with its sturdy defense and moments of class in attack?
It won't be easy against an opponent like the Netherlands, which beat Senegal and host country Qatar to advance out of Group A.
The Oranje normally play with energy and attacking threat, so the U.S. back line will be tested.
The Netherlands didn't get a chance to showcase that much in the previous matches, but it will look to change that on Saturday.
The Americans are now playing with confidence, though, and they are steadily growing into the tournament.
Look for them to bring the noise as only they can to beat the Netherlands.
Prediction: United States 1, Netherlands 0
With France losing to Tunisia in its final group-stage match, Les Bleus will be out to make sure their game against Poland doesn't hinge on a controversial call.
With a much-changed starting XI after sealing qualification, France thought it had earned a 1-1 draw against the Eagles of Carthage after Antoine Griezmann struck in added time. VAR had other ideas, though, ending France's perfect record in the group stage.
The reigning World Cup holders should be fairly fresh entering Monday's match, though, and Poland had to battle for 90 minutes against Argentina last time out with qualification for the knockouts hanging in the balance.
Poland is already playing with house money by advancing to the knockout stage, something it didn't accomplish back in 2018.
But as much as star player Robert Lewandowski wants to take his team on a deep run, the Eagles are up against a France team that is better equipped from top to bottom.
Prediction: France 3, Poland 0
Before diving into the upcoming match against Spain, it should be noted that this is the first time Morocco has reached the last 16 in the World Cup since 1986.
Talk about ending a drought.
That's 36 years for those slow on the math.
A feat like that should be celebrated, and it has been.
But as the Atlas Lions head into a face-off with Spain on Tuesday, the weight of the task at hand will likely begin to sink in.
Spain took one to the chin in the loss to Japan, so now the sleeping giant should be awake.
La Roja have taken some criticism for how they've let their foot off the gas since the 7-0 romp of Costa Rica, and they'll likely hear more leading up to the match against Morocco.
That should be all the spark they need to thwart the Atlas Lions.
Prediction: Spain 2, Morocco 0