Why South Korea, not Uruguay, qualified for round of 16 at FIFA World Cup in Qatar

South Korea and Uruguay were tied on four points after their three Group H matches but the Asian side qualified for the round of 16 having scored more goals than the two-time World Cup winner.

South Korea’s Hwang Heechan scored the winning goal for his side against Portugal at the Education City Stadium in Doha on Friday.

South Korea’s Hwang Heechan scored the winning goal for his side against Portugal at the Education City Stadium in Doha on Friday. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

South Korea and Uruguay were tied on four points after their three Group H matches but the Asian side qualified for the round of 16 having scored more goals than the two-time World Cup winner.

South Korea and Uruguay both finished with four points at the end of group stage of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar. However, it was the Asian team which qualified for the round of 16 as the second-placed team in Group H since it scored more goals than the two-time World Cup winner.

Going into the final round of group fixtures, South Korea and Uruguay both had one point each but South Korea was placed third on the account of better goal difference while Uruguay was bottom of the group. However, South Korea’s 2-1 win over group topper Portugal and Uruguay’s 2-0 victory against Ghana, which was second with three points before the match, tied the Asian and South American nations at four points.

READ: FIFA World Cup tiebreakers - What happens if teams finish with same points during group stage of Qatar 2022

According to the official rulebook of the FIFA World Cup 2022, in such cases where two teams in the same group are tied at same points, the following criteria, in the order below, shall be applied to decide the ranking:

  • ⦿ superior goal difference (Goals scored minus goals conceded) in all group matches
  • ⦿ greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
  • ⦿ head-to-head record
  • ⦿ Fair play
  • ⦿ Draw of lots
SOUTH KOREAURUGUAY
Match 1Drew 0-0 with UruguayDrew 0-0 with South Korea
Match 2Lost 2-3 to GhanaLost 0-2 to Portugal
Match 3Beat Portugal 2-1Beat Ghana 2-1

South Korea and Uruguay both had the same goal difference - zero. However, South Korea (4) had scored more goals than Uruguay (2) and hence, qualified for the knockout stage as the second-placed team in Group H.

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