All 32 teams at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar have played at least one match each.
While there is still some time to go before it becomes clear which teams will advance to the knockouts, the competition does have specific tiebreak criteria for the scenarios in which two or more teams in a group finish with the same points at the end of three rounds.
According to the official rulebook of the FIFA World Cup 2022, in such cases, the following criteria, in the order below, shall be applied to decide the ranking:
- ⦿ superior goal difference in all group matches
- ⦿ greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
- ⦿ greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned
- ⦿ superior goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned
- ⦿ greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned
If two or more teams in the same group are not separated even after the above criteria are applied, then the fair play criterion comes into play, according to which, team with the highest conduct score relating to the number of yellow and red cards obtained goes through to the next round where:-
- ⦿ yellow card: minus 1 point
- ⦿ indirect red card (as a result of two yellow cards): minus 3 points
- ⦿ direct red card: minus 4 points
- ⦿ yellow card and direct red card: minus 5 points
“Only one of the above deductions shall be applied to a player in a single match. The team with the highest number of points shall be ranked highest.”
The fair play tiebreaker was used for the first time during the 2018 World Cup where Senegal and Japan in Group H were tied for second behind Colombia on points, goal difference, goals scored, and had played a 2-2 draw between them. However, Senegal had received two yellow cards more than Japan and therefore, Japan progressed to the round of 16.
- ⦿ The last and final tiebreaker criterion is drawing of lots by FIFA.