FIFA world cup 2018
FIFA world cup 2018 Reuters

After 15 days of riveting action, 16 teams are left standing and as many teams are heading home from Fifa World Cup 2018 in Russia.

The group stages were filled with a lot of surprises as the big boys of world football didn't have it easy against lower-ranked teams. The curse of the champions continued as 2014 winners Germany were knocked out of the tournament after their shock defeats to Mexico and Asian side, South Korea.

Argentina was made to work hard for their qualification and at one point in time, the pressure on Lionel Messi's shoulders was immense, given they faced a must-win situation in their final group game after having been blanked 3-0 by Croatia in their previous encounter.

The knockout stages will be played without an African side for the first time since 1982. On the other hand, there was a joy for Asian as Japan was the only side from the continent to make it to the Round of 16 from a fiercely-fought Group H.

As we enter the knockout stages of the World Cup, here's a look at the winners and runners-up from each group.

Group A

Uruguay won the group with three wins from as many matches while Russia finished second to book a place in the Round of 16, bringing delight to fans of the host nation. The biggest disappointment in the group came in the form of Egypt as Mo Salah-starring side failed to even collect a single point.

Group B

Spain and Portugal, as expected, progressed to the next stage from this four-team group. However, both were made to work hard after some spirited performances from Iran and Morocco.

Iran nearly ended Portugal's hopes during their 1-1 draw on June 25 as they looked threatening in the final minutes at Saransk.

Group C

While France did not set the stage on fire, they did what was required to progress to the knockout stages with seven points from three games. Denmark followed them, finishing above Peru and Australia.

Group D

Croatia, led by an impressive Luka Modric, were unstoppable as they collected full nine points from the group. Argentina, as discussed, scraped their way through to the knockout stages.

Group E

Brazil and Switzerland finished as winners and runners-up, respectively. Tite's men gave their fans a few nervy moments before hitting peak form in their final match against Serbia.

Group F

Germany's exit was the biggest story of the group stages as the 2014 winners were shockingly unimpressive despite having one of the strongest, if not the strongest team on paper.

Sweden topped the group after beating second-placed Mexico in the group's final matchday, June 27.

Group G

This group had no surprises if you don't consider England qualifying as one. Belgium topped the group with a 1-0 win over Gareth Southgate's men on June 28. Both the teams scored goals aplenty as they have set themselves up nicely for the knockout stages.

Group H

In what was one of most action-packed groups, the equation changed dramatically on their last matchday, June 28.

Senegal, who were in a good position to qualify, slipped after losing to eventual winners Colombia while Japan, who lost to Poland on Thursday, still managed to scrape through.

Date

Match

Time (SGT)

June 30

France vs Argentina

10.00 pm

July 1

Uruguay vs Portugal

2.00 am

"

Spain vs Russia

10.00 pm

July 2

Croatia vs Denmark

2.00 am

"

Brazil vs Mexico

10.00 pm

July 3

Belgium vs Japan

2.00 am

"

Sweden vs Switzerland

10.00 pm

July 4

Colombia vs England

2.00 am