Group stage set for a feisty finale

  • Egypt take on Algeria for top spot in Group D

  • Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine in contention for remaining berth in Group C

  • All the quarter-final permutations explained

The group stage of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™ is about to conclude, with the final matches of Groups C and D bringing down the curtain.

Morocco, Algeria and Egypt have all booked their places in the next round, while Lebanon and Sudan are already out of contention. That leaves Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine to battle it out for the last remaining place in the knockout stages.

Although Egypt and Algeria are both safely through to the next round, their upcoming match will determine who finishes top of their group.

Tuesday 7 December (all times local)

Group C Jordan-Palestine (Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, 18:00) Morocco-Saudi Arabia (Al Thumama Stadium, 18:00) Group D Lebanon-Sudan (Education City Stadium, 22:00) Algeria-Egypt (Al Janoub Stadium, 22:00)

Permutations aplenty After winning their first match against Saudi Arabia and losing their second to Morocco, Jordan need to win against Palestine to guarantee qualification for the second round. Failing to do so will mean their fate hinges on the Morocco-Saudi result. In the event of a draw, the Jordanians need Saudi Arabia to either lose or draw to advance. As for Palestine, they must beat Jordan and hope that the Greens slip up against Morocco. Should Saudi Arabia and Palestine both win, the final qualification spot will be decided by goal difference. Khalifah Aldawsari returns to the Saudi squad after serving a suspension for the red card he picked up in the first game against Jordan.

Clinging on to hope Morocco coach Houcine Ammouta is set to rest a handful of players for their upcoming fixture against the Saudis, with his side having already booked their place in the knockout stages. The Atlas Lions welcome the return of Karim El Berkaoui, who suffered a concussion and, as per protocol, was unable to train for five days. As for the Green Falcons, they will qualify if they defeat Morocco and Jordan either lose or draw against Palestine. Only a big win for Palestine would see them overtake Saudi Arabia’s superior goal difference, leaving everything to play for in this group.

Pride on the line Lebanon, who will be heading home after the group phase following defeats to Algeria and Egypt, face Sudan at the Education City Stadium. Both teams go in search of their first victory to avoid finishing bottom of the group. Sudan will be without the services of both Yasir Mozamil and Faris Abdallah, while Lebanon are missing Kassem El Zein, all of whom are serving suspensions for red cards in their sides' previous matches. The Lebanese captain, Mansour Nour, will also be absent due to injury.

Nothing between old rivals Algeria and Egypt have already secured their places in the second round, so their meeting will determine which of these fierce foes finishes top of the group. In fact, the pair are level in every sense – points, goal difference, goals scored, and even fair play points. So, whoever wins the game will finish top of the group and, in the event of a draw, this will be determined by whichever side has the fewest number of yellow cards. In the unlikely event that none of these factors can separate them, the group winner will be decided by the drawing of lots. Algeria are set to be without Hossam El Din Merzik after he was sent off against Lebanon, while Egypt have Ahmed Sayed, also known as Zizo, available again after a minor injury.

The quotes

“The Egypt-Algeria derby is massive. As you well know, a derby brings with it its own difficulties, so we have to prepare well for this match.” Madjid Bougherra, Algeria coach "We will prepare fully for the match against Palestine. We will go out there with the sole intention of winning – I can promise this to the Jordanian fans." Adnan Hamad, Jordan coach