The 2022 World Cup is already in full swing and the opening group stage matches of the tournament were marked by unpredictability and setbacks, with Saudi Arabia defeating Argentina and Japan edging out Germany thanks to a late comeback. While one loss doesn’t necessarily mean these opponents won’t make it to the playoffs before the tournament, it does make the path much more difficult. Read on to find out about World Cup tiebreaks that can make all the difference in determining which teams advance to the next round and continue on their journey to football’s greatest glory.
How many teams will advance from the World Cup group stage?
Of the 32 teams in the 2022 World Cup, only 16 will advance to the next round of the tournament. The top two teams in each of the eight groups will advance to the round of 16. After that, the tournament will be a knockout competition, with eight teams advancing to the quarter-finals and four to the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-final matches will play in the final, while the losers will meet in the play-off for third place.
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What are the World Cup group stage tiebreaks?
If two or more teams are equal on points after the group stage matches have been completed, FIFA will use next tie-breaks to determine which nations are advancing:
- Goal Difference – The team with the higher goal difference (total goals scored minus total goals conceded) will be ranked higher.
- Number of goals scored – If several teams have the same number of points and the same goal difference, the team with more goals scored will be ranked higher than the team with fewer goals scored.
FIFA World Cup Draw Rules
If two or more teams are still “tied” after applying these tiebreaks, FIFA proceeds to the second round of tiebreaks:
- Most points scored in group matches between respective teams
- Best goal difference resulting from group matches between the respective team
- Most goals scored in all matches between respective teams
- Highest team conduct score – The team conduct score is based on the number of yellow and red cards received by the team. The team with the highest team behavior score will receive a higher rating.
- Yellow card: minus one point
- Indirect red card (received with two yellow cards): minus three points.
- Direct red card: minus four points
- Yellow card and direct red card: minus five points.
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World Cup Yellow Card Rules
The “team conduct” tie-break or “fair play” tie-break was first used at the 2018 World Cup – Japan and Senegal remained level after all other tie-breaks were applied, but Senegal received more yellow cards and were subsequently eliminated . Japan advanced to the 1/8 finals.
World Cup 2022: schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live
- When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
- Group stage start time: 5:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM (all ET)
- Location: Qatar
- TV channels in Spanish: Telemundo, Universe, peacock
- Streaming in spanish: peacock (all 64 matches)
Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H
Lionel Messi’s goal in the second half greatly increased Argentina’s hopes for the World Cup. Albicelesta broke through a hard-nosed Mexico to win 2-0 at Lusail on Saturday.
Enzo Fernandez, 21, also scored for Argentina in the win after losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in the first leg.
Mexico’s daring performance was interrupted by Messi’s great finish and now Mexico (1 point) needs to beat Saudi Arabia (3 points) and get help from Argentina (3 points) against Poland (4 points) to reach the round of 16.
[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]
Lionel Messi: Of course.
The greatest player in the world – perhaps in history – had a frustrating day and spent 65 minutes thinking this could have been his last World Cup match.
Twenty-five minutes later, he had a goal and an assist, with Argentina heading to Poland, probably a draw or even better than a playoff advance.
This is Messi.
Mexico carried out Tata Martino’s master plan for over an hour and looked ready to leave with a point. Messi did not receive the ball in dangerous areas, and Lautaro Martinez was so ineffective that he was removed from the field.
Then: One hesitation when Angel Di Maria spotted Messi. Two touches for the atomic ant. 1-0.
Messi later helped young Enzo Fernandez’s goal to confirm his status as one of the best in any team sport. Argentina only had 0.28 expected goals that day, but if you have two magical hits it will do the trick.
Lionel Messi goal video: GOAT
Enzo Fernandez goal video: Perler assists Messi at the finish line
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 26, 2022
How to watch Argentina vs Mexico live stream, stream link and start time
Kick off: 2:00 pm ET, Saturday, November 26th
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels in Spanish: Telemundo
Streaming in spanish: peacock (all 64 matches)
Key storylines, players to keep an eye on
It’s Messi, of course, who says he’s playing in his last World Cup, but it’s also a question of who’s going to be the deciding factor for Argentina. Lautaro Martínez had a goal off the board for a thin offside against Saudi Arabia while Julián Álvarez saved a shot as his substitute and Paulo Dybala and Ángel Correa were unused substitutes in the first leg.
The Mexican midfield had a great start to the tournament. Will Hector Herrera join Edson Alvarez again and Luis Chavez sets the tone for Tata Martino’s team? And maybe Three find a finisher after Henry Martin & Co. failed to find the back of the net against Poland.
Argentina Quick Facts
Current FIFA World Ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Championship appearances: 17
How they qualified: Automatically qualified from CONMEBOL (2nd)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez.
Facts about Mexico
Current FIFA World Ranking: 13
World Cup titles: 0
World Championship appearances: 16
How they qualified: Automatically qualified for CONCACAF (2nd)
Coach: Gerardo “Tata” Martino
Key players: Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Herrera, Raul Jimenez.
Belgium will try to get back to their best and win two out of two in the group stage, but Morocco will make it extremely difficult for Kevin de Bruyne & Co.
Roberto Martínez saw his team completely dominate Canada in the first Group F match, but they took their one big chance and won the game, thanks in large part to a poor finish by Canada and Thibault Courtois saving a penalty. The team that won the second place in the world should improve. Fast.
Morocco gave Croatia a lot of problems in their debut game and the draw was a fair result as their high pressing gave Croatia a lot of problems. They will look to do the same against Belgium and could have a lot of fun if Hakim Ziyech finds himself in danger zones in the final third.
[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]
Here’s everything you need for Belgium vs Morocco.