Nervous hopefuls pore over permutations
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Prior to the third and final group matchdays at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Japan 2012, most of the teams are in with at least a theoretical chance of making the next stage. A mere three nations already have confirmation of their fate.

Germany are the only team definitely through to the quarter-finals so far, with Switzerland and Ghana already condemned to take the plane home. All the remaining 13 teams have at least a glimmer of hope of claiming a berth in the last eight.

FIFA.com has turned the microscope on the group standings and forthcoming fixtures, and worked out the various permutations and scenarios. We also explain the rules which apply if any teams finish dead level.

Group A:
Switzerland-Japan
Mexico-New Zealand

New Zealand and hosts Japan each require a point to be certain of progress. Third-placed Mexico must go for a win, although a draw would also do in the event of Switzerland beating Japan by a four-goal margin.

Group B:
Italy-Nigeria
Korea Republic-Brazil

Nigeria and Korea also only need draws to confirm their places in the quarter-finals. Furthermore, Nigeria could even afford a defeat provided they avoid defeat to the Italians by two goals or more. As for Brazil, nothing less than a win will do.

Group C:
Canada-Korea DPR
Norway-Argentina

To all intents and purposes, Korea DPR are through to the next stage courtesy of an imposing +11 goal difference. Canada and Norway would require thumping victories to pass the Asians at this stage. Both these teams must go all out for victory, but each will be watching the result in the parallel fixture at the same time. Only a miracle can save Argentina now.

Group D:
USA-Germany
China PR-Ghana

The most clear-cut of the groups: only a big win for China can prevent USA joining the Germans in the quarter-finals.

Naturally, a complete list of every possible permutation would involve delving unreasonably deep into the details.

More importantly, the final placings in each group are determined according to the following criteria.

5. The ranking of each team in each group will be determined as follows:
a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
b) goal difference in all group matches;
c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.

If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be determined as follows:
d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
g) drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.