What do Socceroos need to qualify for World Cup knockout stages? Explaining the scenarios for Australia to advance

Australia supercharged their chances of making the 2022 FIFA World Cup knockout stage with a vital win over Tunisia in their second group game.

The Socceroos bounced back from losing 4-1 to France in their opening match, when they had shocked the reigning champions by taking an early lead.

Manager Graham Arnold said his side wanted to put smiles on supporters’ faces before they took on the Carthage Eagles – and now they can turn relief into rapture when they face Denmark next after Mitchell Duke’s goal secured a 1-0 win against Tunisia.

Will a win against the Danes send Australia through? What happens if they draw? Is a defeat disastrous? Here are the permutations.

MORE: Tunisia vs Australia World Cup highlights as Mitchell Duke gives Socceroos victory

What do the Socceroos need to advance from the group stage?

Australia’s fate is in their own hands. Victory against Denmark will guarantee progress from the group – and they could top the group if Les Bleus lose to Tunisia and there is a swing in goals of at least six between the teams.

It is more likely that Australia will finish second if they qualify, because France have a goal difference of +4, while the Socceroos will start the game on -2.

What happens if Australia draw against Denmark?

They will go through as long as Tunisia do not beat France. If that happens and Australia draw, Tunisia will go through on superior goal difference.

Australia can feel quietly confident on the basis of France’s form: they recovered from Denmark equalising to win their second match 2-1, with Kylian Mbappe on scintillating form, scoring both of their goals.

MORE: Australia World Cup odds: Can Socceroos win the World Cup 2022? Potential knockout round matches in Qatar

What happens if the Socceroos lose?

They will go out. Victory for Denmark would ensure qualification for them unless Tunisia beat France, in which case the second qualification place would come down to goal difference between Tunisia and Denmark.

MORE: Australia World Cup jersey 2022: New Socceroos shirt, full Nike kits, home and away colours for Qatar

World Cup Group D table, fixtures

Team Points Goals for Goals against Goal difference Next fixture
France 6 6 2 4 Tunisia
Australia 3 2 4 -2 Denmark
Denmark 1 1 2 -1 Australia
Tunisia 1 0 1 -1 France

How many points does it take to qualify for World Cup last 16?

The 2018 tournament offered more evidence that teams tend to need at least four points to qualify from the group stage.

Three of the eight second-placed teams at those finals earned five points, with the bar raised a point higher by three of their fellow qualifiers.

There were, however, two groups that demonstrated how tight qualification can be: Lionel Messi and Argentina edged through on four points, while Japan and the eliminated Senegal had to be separated by fair play points – based on the number of yellow and red cards each team received – after both finished on four points.

Based purely on the record books since 1994, Australia have slightly more than half a chance. Teams with four points have qualified 17 times from seven tournaments and failed to qualify on 16 occasions.

When is Australia v Denmark?

The game takes place at 2 a.m. AEST on December 1 2022. You can follow live updates from the game courtesy of The Sporting News.

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