What happens if World Cup group game ends in a tie?

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is upon us, as 32 national teams compete for FIFA’s ultimate prize. Before the excitement of the knock-out stages, teams have to navigate their way through the group stages. Let’s consider a few of the key elements involved in this.

How many World Cup groups are there?

In Qatar we have eight groups made up of four teams in each. The nations play each other once which leaves us with a total of six games per group, and therefore 48 games across the entire phase.

👑 1,590 days since crowning our last winner, it’s time to find a new champion…

— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 20, 2022

What happens if there is a draw?

As the group stage is effectively in a mini-league format, the three results for each team will place them in order in their table. The top two of those teams progress to the round of 16.

In a much used system, a win gives the team three points, a draw one point and there are no points for a defeat. No extra-time or penalties are used to determine a victor during the group stage, the result being confirmed at the end of the 90 minutes (plus any added time). Those deciding elements kick-in for the knockout stages.

What happens if teams end group on same points?

It can often happen with such a small group that teams end on the same points. There are a number of tiebreakers that are brought in to assist with this. In order they are as follows i.e. if the preceding one is the same:

Goal difference across all group matches (goals scored less goals conceded)Total goals scoredHead to head record (record between the teams involved)Goal difference from games involving only the teams in the tie-breakerDisciplinary records in the tournament. A yellow card takes one point off total points, an indirect red (the result of being shown a second yellow card) is three points off, a straight red is four points off. Highest score after this proceeds.Drawing lots

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