How to Count Points in the World Cup

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Every four years, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) holds an international soccer tournament called the World Cup. Before the tournament begins, national teams compete to qualify for the World Cup. The 32 teams that qualify are split into "Groups" of four. The four teams in each group play each other to earn points, and the top two teams from each group advance to the Final 16.

  • Assign three points to a team for every match that it wins. The winning team always receives three points, regardless of the margin of victory. Assign no points to the losing team.

  • Give each team one point for every match that ends in a draw. When the score is tied at the end of regulation, each of the teams get a point. There are no extra-kicks or overtime in group play.

  • Add the points from each team's three group-play matches to get its total group points. The top two teams in each group advance to the next round of the World Cup.

Tips & Warnings

  • If two teams are tied in points at the end of group play, a series of tiebreakers, including goal differential and head-to-head results, determines who moves on.

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