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World Cup standings: Group A settled, Group B a mess

TORONTO -- The only team skating today in Air Canada Centre is Team Europe, which plays Canada tonight at 8 to decide the champion of Group A in the World Cup of Hockey.  Team North America is scheduled to speak to the media at 12:30 in advance of the 3 p.m. game against Sweden that will decide its fate.

Here's a look at the standings with all the columns included. But for clarity sake, here's what you really need to know heading into today.

Group A
Canada  2-0-0
Europe  2-0-0
Czech    0-1-1
USA      0-2-0

It's easy: Canada and Europe have advanced. Winner of tonight's game takes the group. Czech Republic and USA are eliminated.

Group B
Sweden 2-0-0
NAmer 1-1-0
Russia  1-1-0
Finland 0-2-0

It's not so easy: Sweden plays North America today at 3 and Russia plays Finland Thursday at 3.  Sweden wins the group if it gets one point today and would play the loser of Canada-Europe in the semifinals. If North America wins, there's a chance of a three-way tie if Russia beats Finland in regulation or overtime (but not in shootout). They're also a three-way tie possibility if Sweden and Finland win the games, leaving the Swedes at 3-0 and the other three at 1-2.

Assuming there are no shootout wins (because those don't count in tiebreakers), the tie would be broken based on goal differential. Sweden enters today at plus-3, Team North America is plus-2, Russia is even and Finland is minus-5. It's conceivable the Russians could be in a scenario where they will need to push for goals against Finland and not just a victory.

Stay tuned.

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