With the group stages now well underway at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, we are entering a crucial phase where teams begin to seal progression to the knockout rounds.
But what happens if your side finishes level on points with somebody else? How are the final placings in the groups determined?
The ranking of each team in the same group is determined on a two-step approach:
First step: Pursuant to the criteria listed in art. 32 (5) lit. a) to c) of the Competition Regulations.
- greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
- goal difference in all group matches;
- greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
Second step: If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the first step (see example in Table 1), their ranking will be determined by applying to the group matches between the teams concerned the criteria listed in art. 32 (5) lit. d) to h) in the order of their listing.
- greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
- goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
- greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
- greater number of points obtained in the fair play conduct of the teams based on yellow and red cards received in all group matches;
- drawing of lots by the FIFA.
With respect to the second step this means that all affected teams will be ranked by applying the criteria d) to g) one after another. If one team qualifies for a higher or lower ranking pursuant to one criterion, but it is not possible to rank all teams on the basis of the same criterion, the remaining two or three teams will be ranked pursuant to the next criterion, and so on. In any case, the second step of the ranking does not restart for the two or three teams remaining after application of a criterion.
In the example in Table 2, if three teams are equal on the basis of criteria d) and e) and teams A and B are equal in criterion f) whilst team C scored fewer goals in the concerned group matches, team C is ranked lower than teams A & B. The ranking of teams A & B will then be determined on the basis of criterion g) or by drawing lots pursuant to lit h).
With respect to the fair play conduct pursuant to art. 32 (5) lit. g), it is important to note that the fair play conduct will be determined on the basis of all group matches and not only of the fair play conduct in concerned group matches.
For more information, please refer to the 2018 World Cup Regulations (Article 32, Section 5).
Table 1: Ranking from all group matches
Table 2: Ranking from matches between concerned teams
- Criterion D: Teams A, B and C are equal on number of points in the matches between the concerned teams
- Criterion E: Teams A, B and C are equal on goal difference in the matches between the concerned teams
- Criterion F: Teams A & B are equal on goals scored; Team C has scored less in the matches between the concerned teams
- Criterion G: Ranking of Team A & B to be determined on greatest number of points obtained in the fair play conduct of the teams in all matches
Stay in the picture
The best way to keep up to date with the latest qualifying picture is to follow our exclusive Live Blogs, which will feature live standings as the goals go in. We have a dedicated blog for each of the matches at Russia 2018.