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Photo: FIFA World Cup 2022
The quadrennial football (named soccer in the USA) tournament taking 32 of the world’s best playing countries has returned this year. Those 32 countries that qualified to play the FIFA World Cup 2022 are the Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar, England, USA, Iran, Wales, Argentina, Poland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, France, Australia, Tunisia, Denmark, Japan, Spain, Germany, Costa Rica, Morocco, Croatia, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Switzerland, Cameroon, Serbia, Portugal, South Korea, Uruguay, and Ghana. Initiating on November 20, the 2022 FIFA World Cup now has cut the competition in half and is ready to begin counting down the top 16 qualifying teams. With eight groups (Group A to Group H) of four countries each, every group is subject to six games each in order to get a score in the FIFA point system.
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Teams gain three points per win, one point per draw, and zero points for a loss. During the first stage of the tournament, each country faced off against the three others in their assigned group. After those three games, the two teams from each group that have the most points qualify to move onto the Round of 16, the stage of the tournament preceding the quarter-finals. In the event of a tie between two or more countries in a group for at least second place, the tiebreaker will be the goal difference (GD), which is the goals scored (GF) minus the goals conceded (GA). If there happens to be another tie after the GD, the tie will be judged on the GF. If there is a tie in the GF, the decision is then moved to a head-to-head record, where the two or more teams that are tied are evaluated on their wins against one another. If that fails to break the tie, the tie is then broken by their fair play record. The fair play record is points subtracted from their penalty cards. Yellow cards subtract one point, indirect red subtracts three, direct red subtracts four, and a yellow card + direct card subtracts five points. If even after the fair play record the teams are still tied, the tiebreaker will be drawing lots randomly.
FIFA World Cup 2022
Though it is a lengthy tie-breaking process, in theory, the process typically doesn’t have to reach all six levels of tie-break scenarios before a winner is decided but it does happen. With the Round of 16, the knockouts begin, where a country is eliminated when faced with a loss. If two teams tie at the end of their game, they are given up to two 15-minute time increases to break the tie. If the tie is not broken in those 30 minutes, the teams will have a penalty shootout to decide a winner. Here are the 16 countries moving on from each group:
Group A: Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar
Leading Group A with 7 points is the Netherlands, having won their matches against Senegal and Qatar and drawing with Ecuador. Senegal takes second place in the group, with 6 points from defeating Ecuador and Qatar but tying with Ecuador. This makes Senegal and Netherlands the qualifying countries to advance to the Round of 16, as Ecuador only has 4 points from one victory (against Qatar), one draw (against the Netherlands), and a loss against Senegal. Qatar ended the group stage with 0 points having no victories.
Group B: England, USA, Iran, Wales
England leads Group B with 7 points gained from two victories (against Iran and Wales) and one draw (against the USA). Scoring 9 goals total, England tied for first place in GF out of all 32 countries. The USA takes second place with 5 points from one victory (against Iran) and two draws (against England and Wales). That makes Iran and Wales unfortunately unable to qualify for the knockout stage, having 3 points (from one victory against Wales) and 1 point (one draw against the USA) respectively.
Group C: Argentina, Poland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia
Argentina, the team holding one of the world’s greatest football players, Lionel Messi, leads Group C with 6 points, with two victories against Mexico and Poland but a loss against Saudi Arabia. There was a tie for second place between Poland and Mexico. Both teams have scored 4 points each, with one victory, one draw, and one loss each. The tie between Poland and Mexico was decided off the GD. Poland and Mexico both have 2 points in their GF, but Poland has 2 points in their GA while Mexico has 3, giving Poland a 0 and Mexico a -1 in GD respectively, ultimately giving Poland second place in Group C. Poland and Mexico had a draw while both teams came victorious in their match against Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia placed fourth in the group, having only 3 points from the one victory against Argentina.
Group D: France, Australia, Tunisia, Denmark
Group D’s group matches ended with a tie for first place by two teams, bringing both France and Australia automatically to the Round of 16 with 6 points each from two victories and one loss each. France won their matches against Australia and Denmark but lost to Tunisia. Australia won their matches against Denmark and Tunisia. Tunisia ended the matches with 4 points from one victory, one draw (against Denmark), and one loss. Denmark ended the matches with only 1 point from one draw and two losses.
Group E: Japan, Spain, Germany, Costa Rica
In a surprise to most FIFA fans, Japan comes out on top of Group E, having two victories (one of those victories being against Spain and the other against Germany) and one loss (against Costa Rica). The other qualifying team is Spain with 4 points. Spain has one victory against Costa Rica and a draw against Germany. Germany tied Spain with 4 points as well, having one victory against Costa Rica, one draw against Spain, and a loss against Japan. Spain had a GD of 6 due to their high GF of 9 (the tie for first place in GF with England) while Germany had a GD of 1, making Spain the winner of the tiebreaker for second place. Costa Rica only collected 3 points from their victory against Japan, placing them in fourth place of their group and not qualifying for the knockout stage.
Group F: Morocco, Croatia, Belgium, Canada
Morocco takes first place in Group F with 7 points. Morocco won their match against Belgium and Canada but had a draw against Croatia. Croatia takes second place with 5 points. Having a victory against Canada and drawing against both Morocco and Belgium. This makes Morocco and Croatia the qualifiers for the Round of 16. Belgium ended the group stage with 4 points, having one tie against Croatia, one loss against Morocco, and a victory against Canada. Having 0 points due to three losses in the group stage, Canada takes fourth place in Group F.
Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Cameroon, Serbia
First place for Group F was a tie between Brazil (home of star player Neymar) and Switzerland. Brazil has two victories (one against Switzerland and one against Serbia) and a loss against Cameroon. Switzerland lost their match against Brazil but won their match against both Cameroon and Serbia. This gives both teams 6 points. Cameroon ended the group stage with 4 points, having a victory against Brazil, a draw against Serbia, and a loss against Switzerland. Serbia ended the group stage with 1 point with their two loss and one draw, placing them in fourth for Group G.
Group H: Portugal, South Korea, Uruguay, Ghana
Taking first place in Group H is one of FIFA’s strongest teams, Portugal (with 6 points). Portugal is home to the legendary football player, Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal has two victories (one against Uruguay and one against Ghana) while they lost their match against South Korea. In an exciting match, South Korea’s victory against Portugal brought them to a tie in second place with Uruguay, each team earning 4 points. In a rare case of events, South Korea and Uruguay tied in GD as well, so the next tie breaker was their GF. South Korea’s GF was 4 while Uruguay’s was 2, making South Korea the team qualifying for the Round of 16 and eliminating Uruguay. South Korea lost their match against Ghana but drew against Uruguay. Uruguay lost against Portugal but won against Ghana. Ghana takes fourth place in Group H with only 3 points.
The Round of 16 Lineup
The Round of 16 brackets has been released after the end of the group stage. Here are the matchups with their respective dates in chronological order:
Netherlands VS USA
Argentina VS Australia
France VS Poland
England VS Senegal
Japan VS Croatia
Brazil VS South Korea
Morocco VS Spain
Portugal VS Switzerland
The FIFA World Cup 2022 can be streamed on DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, & Youtube TV. It can also be watched via cable on FOX or FS1.
By Nino Vongphachanh
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