There are just four teams left battling it out for football’s most coveted prize in the World Cup semi-finals.
Didier Deschamps’ side are aiming to win back to back World Cup’s for the first time since Brazil in 1962. Meanwhile Lionel Messi is also hoping to further cement his legacy by guiding Argentina to their first World Cup title since 1986.
The likes of Morocco and Croatia stand in the way of the two teams and both are looking to add to their underdog stories by winning the World Cup for the first time in their history.
There were 32 teams competing in Qatar 2022 at the start of the tournament. While some teams have enjoyed the jubilation of progressing through the competition, other teams have suffered the heartbreak of elimination. Hosts Qatar were hoping to make a real statement of intent in this year’s World Cup but became the fastest host nation to exit football’s showpiece competition.
Here is a list of all the teams that have been knocked out of the World Cup.
Who was eliminated in the semi-final?
Croatia’s dreams of making a second consecutive World Cup final were ended after a demoralising 3-0 loss to 2014 finalists Argentina.
Croatia’s golden generation may be coming towards their twilight years but they continued to show their talents at this tournament and earnt a place in the knockout stages as runners-up after one victory and two draws in the group stage. The 2018 finalists followed that up by coming from behind against Japan and tournament favourites Brazil to win penalty shootouts.
However, Argentina proved too much for them in the semi-final and a masterful performance from Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez proved too much and the South American side ran out comfortable winners in the last four.
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic and his players will be proud of their efforts in this tournament and Luka Modric has bowed out of the World Cup stage with his head held high in what looks to be his final tournament.
Who was eliminated in the quarter-final?
The shocks continued in the World Cup quarter-final stage when tournament favourites Brazil were eliminated by Croatia.
Brazil looked strong in the early part of the tournament and cruised through the group stage as leaders before a comprehensive 4-1 victory over South Korea in the round of 16.
Brazil were free-scoring in their round of 16 tie against South Korea but struggled to break down a rock solid Croatia defence across 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw. Brazil finally got their opener through talisman Neymar in extra time but were pegged back after a late goal from Bruno Petrovik.
At 1-1, the game went to penalty kick to decide the first semi-finalist of 2022.
Croatian goalie Livakovic had been hailed as a hero after his stunning performance against Japan in the last round of penalties. He once again saved the day by saving Rodrygo’s first penalty, with Brazil’s Marquinhos also hitting the post, ensuring Croatia place in the semi-finals.
Netherlands were the favourites to progress from Group A and did so in comprehensive fashion with victories over Senegal and Qatar and a draw against Ecuador.
Louis Van Gaal’s team followed that up with a dominant 3-1 victory over USA - setting up a rematch with Argentina who knocked the Dutch out in the semi-final back in 2014.
The game was a tight fought encounter and Netherlands came back from two goals down to force the game to extra time and later penalties.
However, it was Argentina who kept their nerve from the spot and they came out 4-3 winners on penalties.
Morocco continued to defy expectations to become the first African side in history to reach a World Cup semi-final.
Portugal topped the group and cruised to the quarter-final after an emphatic 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the round of 16. However, Ronaldo and co were unable to break down a stubborn Moroccan defence which has now kept five clean sheets in their six World Cup games.
England’s 56 year wait for World Cup glory has been extended after a dramatic 2-1 exit against reigning world champions France.
Gareth Southgate’s side performed admirably across the tournament and cruised through the group as leaders before a resounding 3-0 victory over African champions Senegal in the round of 16.
England were unlucky to exit the tournament against France and performed well, however goals from Aurelian Tcounmeni and Oliver Giroud proved the difference between the two sides. Harry Kane got England’s opener from the spot but missed a crucial chance to equalise with his second penalty of the game.
Who was eliminated in the round of 16?
Gregg Berhalter’s side enjoyed an unbeaten Group Stage campaign - drawing two and winning one of their opening three games. USA advanced to the knockout stages alongside England as runners-up but were handed a difficult task against Netherlands in the round of 16.
USA started the game very well and had early chances to score in the opening stages, but as the game developed Louis Van Gaal’s side began to take control and Netherlands exploited the USA defence in the wide areas to secure a comfortable two goal lead at the break.
Netherlands survived a late scare after a goal from Haji Wright and responded with a goal from wingback Denzel Dumfires to secure a 3-1 victory.
The performance in this tournament will be encouraging for USA and they will be hoping to build on that in four years time when they host the 2026 edition.
Australia began the tournament with a 4-1 defeat against reigning champions France and most football experts predicted that they would exit the competition in the group stage.
The Socceroos responded to their opening day set back in excellent fashion and produced back to back 1-0 victories over Tunisia and Denmark to secure a place in the round of 16 for the first time since 2006.
Australia were given the unenviable task of taking on Copa America champions Argentina in the round of 16. Argentina are spearheaded by one of the worlds greatest footballers in Lionel Messi and it was the 35-year-old that got the ball rolling for Argentina with the opening goal.
The South American side were comfortable for large periods of the game and doubled their lead in the second half through Manchester City youngster Julian Alvarez.
Australia fought back with an own goal from Fernandez and pushed for an equaliser late on after bringing on Newcastle youngster Gurang Kuol, but were unable to break down a disciplined Argentina defence.
Poland edged their way through to the knockout stages of the competition on goal difference and progressed as runners-up alongside Argentina.
Wojciech Szczęsny was the key man for Poland in the group stage and his heroics in the group - particularly against Saudi Arabia were crucial to Poland’s progression to the round of 16. Poland were handed a difficult draw and faced reigning world champions France.
France controlled the entirety of the game and looked a real force in attack with Oliver Giroud and a Kylian Mbappe double putting Les Bleus in cruise control. Poland got a late consolation through a Robert Lewandowski penalty but ultimately lost the game 3-1.
Senegal were viewed as dark horses for the tournament after their heroics in the African Cup of Nations in 2021. However, they were handed a costly blow before the tournament with an injury to star man Sadio Mane.
Senegal lost their opening game to European champions Netherlands but bounced back with victories over Qatar and Ecuador to earn a place in the last 16 for the first time since 2002.
As runners-up Senegal were paired with a free-scoring England side who had scored an impressive nine group stage goals. Senegal started the game well and were the better side during the first 35 minutes.
However, England got off the mark with a goal from Jordan Henderson before half time and cruised to 3-0 victory with a dominant performance in the second half.
The Japanese team were outsiders to progress in the tournament past the group stages. However, some stunning wins over World Cup giants Spain and Germany saw the Samurai Blues book a place in the last 16.
However, their World Cup dream was cut short by 2018 finalists Croatia. Japan looked the better side for much of the first half, with Celtic’s Daizen Maeda scoring to fire the Japanese team in front.
Croatia scored to equalise through a Perisic goal, taking the match into extra time. Neither team took the opportunity to secure the win in 120 minutes, meaning that penalties loomed for both sides.
Japan started their round of penalties poorly, with the first shot being saved as well as two others being palmed out of the goal by Croatian goalkeeper Livakovic. Croatia ended up winning the game by three penalties to one and progressed to the quarter-finals.
South Korea had a tough journey in the group stages and qualification to the last 16 was left up to the last minute in a nail biting conclusion to Group H. However, they pulled off a dramtic win against Portugal to secure there place in the round of 16.
However, they faced a huge uphill battle against Brazil in the next round. The Brazilians were seen as one of the favourites to go home as World Cup champions at the start of the tournament.
As predicted, South Korea were trampled over in the first half of the knock-out match. Goals from Vinicius Jnr, Neymar Jnr, Richarlison and Paqueta put Brazil 4-0 up within 36 minutes.
However, the second half saw South Korea come back into the game slightly, with Paik Seung-ho picking up a consolation goal. The match ended 4-1, with South Korea’s World Cup journey ending in the last 16.
This World Cup has been packed full of shock results and outcomes. Spain’s knockout round-of-16 match against Morocco was no different.
The Spanish team made an immediate impact on the tournament, churning out a blazing 7-0 win against Costa Rica in the first round of matches. While players such as Morata impressed fans, the team was beaten by Japan and qualified in second place behind the Samurai Blues in the group.
Morocco have become the dark horses of the tournament, taking many by surprise, none more so than Spain. The knockout match ended 0-0 in 90 minutes, with Morocco continuing their strong defence even into extra time.
The game, deadlocked at 0-0, went to penalties. Spain had an absolute shocker as Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou pulled off three shootout saves, while Morocco only missed one of their penalties meaning that they progressed to the quarter-finals.
Switzerland were slain at the hand of Portugal in a brutal 6-1 defeat. However, it wasn’t Ronaldo who shined for Portugal.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was benched for the match - a controversial decision for some fans - with young Goncalo Ramos taking his place. With only half an hour of international football under his belt, it may have seemed like a bizarre decision but the young player didn’t waste the chance, scoring a hat-trick throughout the match.
Switzerland were steamrolled by Portugal in the match. Their only consolation goal came via Akanji in the 58th minute.
Who was eliminated at the group stage of the World Cup?
Group A - Qatar
Host nation Qatar made history by becoming the fastest home nation to exit the World Cup in the 92 year history of the competition. Felix Sanchez’s side are just the second host nation in World Cup history to be eliminated in the group stage after South Africa in 2010.
Qatar were huge underdogs heading into the tournament and were participating in football’s showpiece tournament for the first ever time in their history. They began their campaign with a lacklustre performance against Ecuador - falling to a 2-0 defeat without managing to strike a single shot on target. Sanchez’s side were much more encouraging against African champions Senegal and fought valiantly during the second half to score their first goal during a 3-1 defeat.
Despite their exit from the tournament, Qatar manager Sanchez said his side should not be deemed a “failure and a disappointment”.
After the defeat to Senegal, Sanchez said: “ We have been working for many months to be able to give a good performance. But sometimes the match does not play out as you expect. It also depends on the opponent’s performance. We didn’t play at our top level. We are aware of how tough this competition is. We wanted to go far but we know we had limitations as a country.”
Group A - Ecuador
Ecuador made their fourth appearance at the World Cup in Qatar and were aiming to reach the knockout stage of the tournament for the first time since 2006.
The South American side began the tournament with a 2-0 victory over hosts Qatar and followed that up with an impressive 1-1 draw against Netherlands. Ecuador entered their final game against Senegal in the driving seat and needed just a point to secure a place in the round of 16.
Ecuador suffered heartbreak in their final group game and fell to a 2-1 defeat against African champions Senegal in a tightly fought contest.
Group B - Wales
Wales entered the World Cup with high hopes and were competing on the world stage for the first time since 1958. They have proven in the past that they are capable of producing a few shocks and were hoping to emulate their heroics of Euro 2016 when they reached the semi-final.
Unfortunately for Rob Page’s side they were never able to match the levels they had shown in the past two European Championships. Wales fought hard for a 1-1 draw against USA in their opener but fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Iran in their second game and a crushing 3-0 defeat against rivals England in their final game.
The likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey struggled to influence the team to the extent that they had in years gone by.
Group B - Iran
Iran were huge underdogs entering the World Cup but Carlos Quieroz was aiming to guide his team to the knockout stage for the first time in their history.
Iran began the tournament in disastrous fashion and suffered a 6-2 defeat against England in their opener. However, Quieroz’s team bounced back in their second game to secure a well deserved 2-0 victory over Wales.
Iran entered their final group game needing only a point to secure knockout football but fell to a 1-0 defeat against USA.
Group C: Mexico
Mexico headed into the World Cup with high hopes and were hoping to progress beyond the round of 16 for the first time since 1986.
Mexico began the tournament with a cagey 0-0 draw in their opener against Poland, before losing out 2-0 to Argentina in their second game.
The North American side struggled to pose a threat going forward in their opening two games, but saved their best form for their final group game against Saudi Arabia. Mexico fought hard for a 2-1 victory in their final game and looked fluid going forward for the first time in the tournament. However, the victory was not enough to secure qualification to the last 16 and Poland edged Mexico to second spot on goal difference.
Qatar 2022, has proven disastrous for Mexico and it is the first time since 1990 that they have failed to advance from the group stages. The North American side will be looking for a rebuild before hosting the tournament in 2026 and have begun their hunt for a new manager following the resignation of Gerardo Martino.
Group C: Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia were many people’s favourites to finish bottom of the group before a ball was kicked in Qatar and had recorded just one victory in the World Cup since 1998.
Despite their underdog status, Herve Renard’s side began the tournament with one of the great upsets of the competition by pulling off a shock 2-1 win over tournament favourites Argentina. Saudi Arabia followed that up with an excellent performance against Poland and were rueing their missed opportunities after dominating the game in a 2-0 goal defeat.
Saudi Arabia ended the tournament with a 2-1 defeat against Mexico and were eliminated from the tournament after the final game.
Group D: Denmark
Denmark were viewed by many football experts as potential dark horses to go deep into the competition after an impressive showing in Euro 2020.
Denmark possessed a strong defensive team and were spearheaded by Manchester United playmaker Christian Eriksen in the middle of the park. However, the one criticism of Denmark heading into the tournament was their lack of striking options and that proved to be their undoing in Qatar.
Hjumland’s side began the tournament with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Tunisia, before falling to a 2-1 defeat to France in their second game. Denmark entered the final game against Australia, needing a victory to keep their World Cup hopes alive but were unable to break down a stubborn Socceroos defence in a 1-0 defeat.
Group D: Tunisia
Tunisia were viewed as huge outsiders entering the tournament and have never progressed beyond the group stages of the World Cup in their history.
The North African side began the tournament with a resilient defensive display against Denmark to earn a 0-0 draw. However, in their second game they struggled to break down Australia and fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss.
Tunisia entered their final game needing a victory against reigning champions France to keep their hopes alive and Jalel Kadri’s side defied the odds to pick up a shock 1-0 victory. Despite the victory Australia’s heroics against Denmark meant it was impossible for Tunisia to progress to the knockout stage.
Group E: Germany
Four-time champions entered Qatar with hopes of redemption after a humiliating group stage exit in 2018.
Hansi Flick’s side were viewed as clear favourites to progress from the tournament alongside Spain, but began their campaign in disastrous fashion after losing 2-1 to Japan.
Germany improved in their second game with a hard fought 1-1 draw against Spain and followed that up with a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica in a thrilling contest. Despite their victory in the final game it simply wasn’t enough for Flick’s side who were eliminated from the tournament following Japan’s controversial victory over Spain.
The 2022 campaign has been viewed as a disaster by the German fan base and it is just the second time since 1938 that they have exited the tournament during the group stage.
Group E: Costa Rica
Costa Rica were the dark horses of the World Cup in 2014 and stunned the footballing world by going all the way to the quarter-finals. However, despite their heroics eight years ago, very few gave them a chance this time around.
The Central American side began their tournament in disastrous fashion and suffered a 7-0 defeat to 2010 winners Spain.
Luis Fernando Suarez’s side bounced back from their opening day defeat and produced a stubborn defensive display against Japan to earn a 1-0 victory and keep their hopes alive.
Costa Rica put in a great display in their final group game against Germany but ultimately fell to a 4-2 defeat. Costa Rica were eliminated as the bottom placed side in Group E but redeemed their reputation with two encouraging displays in their final two group games.
Group F - Canada
Canada entered Qatar 2022 as huge underdogs - they last qualified for the World Cup in 1986 and this tournament is only the second ever time that they have played on the world stage. Despite their early exit there were some encouraging signs for the North American side and plenty for them to build on ahead of the next tournament in 2026.
Canada were unfortunate to lose their opening game against Belgium and were the dominant force throughout the match. The likes of Tajon Buchanan, Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David all offered explosive pace for John Herdman’s team and they were huge threats to the Belgium back line throughout the game.
Ultimately Canada were made to rue their missed opportunities - including Alphonso Davies’ first half penalty miss. Belgium secured a 1-0 win in the opener but were the second best side throughout the game.
Canada started strongly against Croatia in their second game and talisman Davies redeemed himself by scoring the opening goal. However, a cavalier style of football proved to be Canada’s undoing in the later stages of the game and their defence was regularly exposed during a 4-1 defeat to Croatia.
Group F: Belgium
Belgium’s golden generation crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage despite entering the tournament as clear favourites to top the group.
Roberto Martinez helped guide Belgium to a third place finish in 2018 and was hoping to build on that performance this time around. The Red Devils named a strong squad for the tournament and included the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
Belgium laboured to a 1-0 victory against Canada in their opener but the warning signs were there as they were far from their best on the pitch. The Red Devils followed that up with a hugely disappointing 2-0 defeat against Morocco in their second game.
Martinez’s side entered their final group game needing a victory to progress to the round of 16 and failed to break down a stubborn Croatia defence in a disappointing 0-0 draw.
Belgium’s golden generation missed their last opportunity to shine at a World Cup and manager Martinez has stepped down from his role as head coach. His successor will have to rebuild the Belgium team with a new generation of talent in preparation for the tournament in 2026.
Group G: Serbia
Serbia were tipped by some football experts to be dark horses at the start of the World Cup due to the firepower of Fulham striker Alexander Mitrovic and Juventus forward Dusan Vlaovic.
However, they exited the tournament in the group stage with just one point from their opening three games. Serbia were strong going forward and scored a total of five goals at the tournament, however their achilles heel proved to be their poor defensive record and they leaked eight goals over the duration of the tournament.
Group G: Cameroon
Cameroon entered the World Cup as huge underdogs and were bidding to make the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time since 1990.
The African side struggled in their opener with a disappointing defeat to Switzerland but fought back from two goals down to earn a dramatic point against Serbia in their second game.
Cameroon saved their best form for last and beat pre-tournament favourites Brazil 1-0 in their final group game. It was Cameroon’s first victory in a World Cup for twenty years but wasn’t enough to see them progress into the round of 16.
Group H: Ghana
Ghana were underdogs to progress from a challenging World Cup group and were aiming to improve on a poor showing in the African Cup of Nations.
The Black Stripes proved entertaining throughout the tournament and began with a tightly fought 3-2 defeat to Portugal before recording a thrilling 3-2 victory over South Korea.
Ghana ended the tournament with a revenge mission against Uruguay. The South American side broke Ghanian hearts 12 years ago and did the same in this tournament by recording a 2-0 victory and ending their World Cup hopes.
Group H: Uruguay
Two-time World Cup winners Uruguay were the favourites to join Portugal in the round of 16 before a ball was kicked.
The South American side began the tournament in poor fashion and failed to score in both of their opening games during a 0-0 draw with South Korea and a 2-0 loss to Portugal.
Uruguay saved their best form for the final game and produced a dominant performance against Ghana to win 2-0. However, it proved too little and South Korea’s late victory over Portugal denied them a place in the round of 16.