World Cup 2022 Group A permutations: What do the Netherlands, Ecuador and Senegal need to go through?

Netherlands
(Image credit: Getty)

It’s business time. World Cup 2022 (opens in new tab) hosts Qatar might already be out, but there’s plenty left to play for in Group A going into the final round of fixtures. 

The first two rounds left things delicately poised, with one point separating the Netherlands and Ecuador (4 points) from Senegal (3 points).

Qatar, who have lost both of their matches, are out. But will the hosts throw a late spanner in the works? 

They certainly put in an improved showing last time out against Senegal, and they’ll want to end on a high in front of their own fans.

Group A fixtures

  • 3pm GMT: Ecuador v Senegal
  • 3pm GMT: Netherlands v Qatar

Who needs what to reach the last 16?

1. Netherlands (4pts, GD+2)

Louis van Gaal’s side have put themselves in a strong position thanks to a 2-0 opening win over Senegal and 1-1 draw against Ecuador.

Avoiding defeat will guarantee them a place in the last 16, while they can even go through with a loss if Ecuador beat Senegal.   

2. Ecuador (4pts, GD+2)

Just like the Netherlands, Ecuador will qualify by avoiding defeat.

If they lose against Senegal, they will need Qatar to beat the Oranje in order to progress.

3. Senegal (3pts, GD 0)

A win over Ecuador will be enough to send Senegal through. Defeat will spell the end of their World Cup.

However, there’s one other possibility - a draw could be enough, should Qatar comfortably beat the Netherlands.

4. Qatar (0pts, GD-4)

Qatar are already eliminated. They could still finish third, but that would require beating the Netherlands, Senegal losing to Ecuador, and a goal difference swing of four.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.