World cup group stage tiebreakers: Memorable Moments?

In the fifa World Cup , if all the teams in the group stage scored the same number of points , then the winners are decided by applying many steps. The very first step is the Goal difference. This means that the team with the higher goal difference should be given an upper hand in the decision. The goal difference is equal to the goal scored minus the goals allowed. There are many memorable moments in which tiebreakers won by applying the same rule. The world group stage tiebreakers were made so that a fair decision can be taken. You can always confirm the rules of the tiebreakers from the official website.

How do World Cup tiebreakers perform?

After the hard and tough matches of the World Cup group stage, it’s not that easy to come to a result that which team should be out of the tournament or which is supposed to be qualified to the next round. Two teams of each group are ought to fight for the World Cup but if a tiebreaker happens then the rules for tie breakers come into play.

Goal difference :

The first rule of the World Cup group stage tiebreakers is to find out the goal difference. As mentioned earlier, the goal difference is equal to the goals scored by the individual team minus the goals allowed. This rule is really easy to determine the winner. But there are many rules to decide the deserving team.

Goal Scored :

It is an undermined point ruled by the goal difference rule. If you have scored more goals than the other team then fifa comes to the conclusion that you deserve the win more than the other team. But if we consider the point where there is a fair chance of getting the same goal difference. Therefore we cannot fairly rely on this rule.

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Points from the tied teams' group stage matches

World cup group stage tiebreakers

Well in this stage if the team on one side are still in a two way still the team won the match as compared to the other team. The upper hand goes for the team which is in the world cup tie breaker rules knockout stage. If there are three teams involved , then the high scorers move forward.

Goal differential in games between the tied teams during the group stage 

Goals scored in games between the tied teams during group stage

It is a very rare place if the teams are still tied. Because generally goals differential and goal score are somehow the same. Hence, this rule does not clearly apply in the World Cup standings. Usually this rule is applicable when there are three teams.

 'Fair Play' tiebreaker

This rule comes into force when the teams are still tied through all the above rules. Now we check the team’s journey in the fifa so far. The disciplinary records in the World Cup. If the team got a yellow card then one point from your total score is deducted. If the team got an indirect red card three points will be deducted. And if the team got a yellow as well as a red card then 5 points from the total score will be deducted.

A drawing at random

Again if the above points are still not able to decide the World Cup group stage tiebreakers then there’s only one thing left. It is something similar to a lucky draw. From the team all the names are printed out and the names are meant to keep in a bowl. It is completely based on luck. Whichever team comes first in the draw they get the position on the top of the group and the other team might even have to go home.

Do these tie-breaking rules for the World Cup apply?

Of course they do. The United States men’s national team was in this tiebreaker place in the World Cup 2014. They literally won against England in the tiebreaker by the above mentioned rules. They were in group C in World Cup 2014. The fact that in every match tiebreaker situation is very common. In the 1998 world cup this tiebreaker situation did not happen.


It is not easy every time to decide which team deserves more than the other. It is not up to us. It is up to their hard work, behaviour and consistency. The World Cup group stage tiebreakers really help in World Cup standings. I will not say that luck will make your place in the World Cup finals. But your behaviour, hard work, calmness might turn the world around.


What happens if teams in the same group have the same number of points?

If teams have the same number of points in the group stage, tiebreakers are used to determine the ranking.

What is "Goal Difference" in tiebreakers?

Goal Difference is the difference between the total number of goals a team has scored and the total number of goals allowed in the group stage matches.

How is "Goals For" used in tiebreakers? "

Goals For" is the total number of goals a team has scored in the group stage matches. It is used as a tiebreaker if teams have the same number of points and the same goal difference.

What is the "Fair Play Points" tiebreaker?

Fair Play Points take into account the number of yellow and red cards received by a team in the group stage. The team with fewer cards is ranked higher. This supports fair play.

When is the "a drawing at random” tiebreaker used?

If all other tiebreakers fail to separate teams, a drawing of lots is the last resort. It is a random draw to determine the final ranking of tied teams.

Do these tiebreakers apply to the knockout stage of the World Cup?

No, these tiebreakers specifically apply to the group stage of the FIFA World Cup. In the knockout stage, if a match ends in a draw, extra time and penalty shootouts are used to determine the winner.


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