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The group stage of the Qatar 2022 World Cup had drawn to a close, and the knockout stages that start on Saturday feature no fewer than 14 FC Barcelona players. Only Andreas Christensen, Ter Stegen and Ronald Araujo are coming home early.
Dembélé and Kounde first through
A 4-1 defeat of France and a 2-1 win against Denmark were enough to qualify France with a game to spare, meaning their defeat to Tunisia mattered little. They will now face Robert Lewandowski's Poland in the last sixteen.
Ousmane Dembélé played 162 minutes of France's three games, with one assist against Australia. Kounde played 92 minutes.
De Jong and Memphis also top their group
Having beaten Senegal and drawn with Ecuador, the Dutch then progressed by defeating host nation Qatar to earn a second round date with the United States, with former colleague Sergiño Dest among the opponents.
Frenkie de Jong played two full game and came off against Qatar after 86 minutes. Memphis, still not back to full fitness perhaps, still played 140 minutes including a start against Qatar.
Raphinha and Brazil march on
Brazil won their first two games against Serbia and Switzerland and were hence already qualified before they lost their final game to Cameroon. They will now face South Korea in the last sixteen.
Raphinha played 169 minutes and proved to once again be an essential part of his team's attack despite not scoring
Lewandowski scores and squeezes in
Poland had drawn with Mexico and beaten Saudi Arabia to edge out Mexico by virtue of goal difference and progress despite losing to Argentina in game three. They will now face defending champions France in the last sixteen.
Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty against Mexico but finally got his first ever World Cup goal against Saudi Arabia and has also given one assist.
Spain finish second
Despite winning 7-0 against Costa Rica in their opening game, Spain ended up drawing with Germany and losing to Japan to finish second to the Asians, meaning they now face Morocco in the next round.
Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Gavi started every game, while Ferran Torres, Jordi Alba and Balde featured in all three. Ansu Fati didn't appear until the Japan game, and Eric Garcia is unused thus far. Gavi has been the most used by Luis Enrique (223 minutes), followed by Sergio Busquets (243), Pedri (236), Jordi Alba (166), Ferran Torres (142), Balde (104) and Ansu Fati (22). Ferran Torres has scored two goals and Gavi was MVP against Costa Rica and scored one goal in that match. Jordi Alba has given two assists.
Christensen, Ter Stegen and Araujo out
Denmark enjoyed less fortune. After drawing with Tunisia and losing to France they needed to beat Australia in the final game and didn't do so. Christensen played every game and scored the Danes' only goal of the tournament against France.
Ter Stegen didn't get used in any of Germany's games, in which the four-time champions were eliminated at the first time of asking for the second time running, missing out this time on goal difference to Spain.
Ronald Araujo, not fully fit going into this tournament, never got to play for Uruguay, whose tournament has also come to an early end. They got it right by beating Ghana in their final game, but it proved useless as South Korea upset Portugal in the other match.
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