-- fifa world cup 2018 QUALIFYING: general info --

FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifying includes all 208 FIFA nations and each confederation has its own qualifying format. Thirty one nations will qualify via the qualifying rounds and will join the hosts, Russia, for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Although each confederation has its own qualifying format all group stages have the same point’s distribution (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss) and the same tie-breaker criteria (explained below). Additionally, all playoffs/knockout games are played under a two legged knockout system (home and away basis). The team which scores the greater aggregate of goals in the two matches advances to the next round. Away goal rules apply in the case of a tie, explained below.

 

group stage tie breaker criteria

If two or more teams are equal on points, the following criteria are applied (for all confederations group stages) to determine the rankings: 

  1. Superior goal difference from ALL group matches played among the teams in question (i.e overall goal difference).
  2. Higher number of goals scored from ALL group matches played among the teams in question (i.e. overall goals forced).
  3. Higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question (i.e. head to head results).
  4. Superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question (i.e. head to head goal difference).
  5. Higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question (i.e. head to head goals scored).
  6. Higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question (i.e. head to head away goals). *Only applied if two teams are tied*
  7. Single playoff match at a neutral site with extra time and penalties if necessary.

    ***If the group is payed a single game round-robin, only the first three criteria are applied. If teams are still tied a drawing of lots will determine the ranking***
    *** In cases where teams finishing in the same position across different groups are compared for determining which teams advance to the next stage, the criteria is decided by the confederation***

 

the away goal rule

The away goal rule applies for the matches played under the two legged knockout system. This rule is applied if the two teams are tied on goals over the two legs. In this case the team which scores more away goals qualifies for the next stage. If this procedure does not produce a result, i.e. if both teams score the same number of goals at home and away, two 15-minute periods of extra time are played at the end of the second leg. If, during extra time, both teams score the same number of goals, the away goals count double (i.e. the away club qualifies). If no goals are scored during extra time, penalties will determine which club qualifies for the next round.


-- fifa world cup 2018 qualifying: uefa --

UEFA’s (European Confederation) FIFA World Cup Qualifying includes 54 nations and consists of two rounds, the Group Stage and Playoff Round. Thirteen teams, not including the hosts, Russia (qualifies automatically), will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup from UEFA.

  • 1st Round (Group Stage): The Group Stage consists of 54 teams separated into 9 groups of 6 teams. Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the 9 group winners qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The 8 best runner-ups will play in the play-off qualifying round.
  • 2nd Round (Playoffs): The playoffs consist of the 8 best runner-ups and will play in a two legged playoff, home and away. The four winners will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
    **The 8 best runners-ups will be classified based on matches from teams’ rank 1st - 5th in each group: (1) Points obtained; (2): Goal Difference; (3) Goals Scored

-- FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFYING: concacaf --

CONCACAF’s (North & Central American Confederation) FIFA World Cup Qualifying includes 35 nations and consists of five rounds. Three teams will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup from CONCACAF with a fourth team entering the Inter-Confederation Playoffs.

  • 1st Round (Playoffs): The first round consists of 14 teams (teams ranked 35th - 22nd) and will play in a two legged playoff, home and away. The seven winners will advance to the 2nd Round.
  • 2nd Round (Playoffs): The second round consists of 20 teams (the 7 first round winners and teams ranked 21st – 9th) and will play in a two legged playoff, home and away. The ten winners will advance to the 3rd Round.
  • 3rd Round (Playoffs): The third round consists of 12 teams (the 10 first round winners and teams ranked 8th & 7th) and will play in a two legged playoff, home and away. The six winners will advance to the 4th Round.
  • 4th Round (Group Stage): The fourth round group stage consists of 12 teams (the 6 third round winners and teams ranked 6th – 1st) and are separated into 3 groups of 4 teams. Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the top 2 teams from each group advancing to the fifth round.
  • 5th Round (Group Stage): The fifth round group stage consists of a single group of 6 teams (the 3 group winners and 3 group runner ups from the fourth round) and is often referred to as “The Hexagonal”. Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the top 3 teams qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The fourth placed team advances to the inter-confederation playoffs and will play a team from the Asian Confederation (AFC).

-- FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFYING: CONmebol --

CONMEBOL’s (South American Confederation) FIFA World Cup Qualifying includes 10 nations and consists of a one round Mini-League. Four teams will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup from CONMEBOL with a fifth team entering the Inter-Confederation Playoffs.

  • Mini-League: The Mini-League consists of a single group of all 10 teams. Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the top four teams qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The fifth placed team advances to the inter-confederation playoffs and will play the winner of the Oceania Confederation (OFC) qualifying.

-- FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFYING: caf --

CAF’s (African Confederation) FIFA World Cup Qualifying includes 53 nations and consists of three rounds. Five teams will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup from CAF.

  • 1st Round (Playoffs): The first round consists of 26 teams (teams ranked 53rd – 28th) and will play in a two legged playoff, home and away. The thirteen winners will advance to the 2nd Round.
  • 2nd Round (Playoffs): The second round consists of 40 teams (the 13 first round winners and teams ranked 27th – 1st) and will play in a two legged playoff, home and away. The twenty winners will advance to the 3rd Round.
  • 3rd Round (Group Stage): The third round group stage consists of 20 teams (the 20 second round winners) and are separated into 5 groups of 4 teams. Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the top team from each group qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

-- FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFYING: aFc --

AFC’s (Asian Confederation) FIFA World Cup Qualifying includes 46 nations and consists of four rounds. Four teams will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup from AFC with a fifth team entering the Inter-Confederation Playoffs.

  • 1st Round (Playoffs): The first round consists of 12 teams (teams ranked 46th – 35th) and will play in a two legged playoff, home and away. The six winners will advance to the 2nd Round.
  • 2nd Round (Group Stage): The second round group stage consists of 40 teams (the 6 first round winners and teams ranked 34th – 1st) and are separated into 8 groups of 5 teams. Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the top team from each group and the four best second placed teams advancing to the third round.
  • 3rd Round (Group Stage): The third round group stage consists of 12 teams (the 8 second round group winners and 4 best group runner ups) and are separated into 2 groups of 6 teams. Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The two third placed teams advance to the fourth round.
  •  4th Round (Playoffs): The fourth round consists of 2 teams (the two third placed teams from the 3rd round) and will play in a two legged playoff, home and away. The winner will advance to the Inter-Confederation Playoffs and play a team from the North & Central American Confederation (CONCACAF).

-- FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFYING: OFC --

OFC’s (Oceania Confederation) FIFA World Cup Qualifying includes 11 nations and consists of three rounds. The winner of OFC qualifying will enter the Inter-Confederation Playoffs.

  • 1st Round (Group Stage): The first round group stage consists of a single group of 4 teams (American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa, and Tonga). Each team plays the other once, at a single country, with the top team advancing to the second round.
  • 2nd Round (Group Stage): The second round group stage consists of 8 teams (the first round winner, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, and Vanuatu) and are separated into 2 groups of 4 teams. Each team plays the other once, at a single country, with the top three teams advancing to the third round.
  • 3rd Round (Group Stage): The third round group stage consists of a single group of 6 teams (the 6 teams from the second round). Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the top team advancing to the inter-confederation playoffs and will play a team from the 5th placed team from the South American Confederation (CONMEBOL).

-- FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFYING: inter-playoffs --

The Inter-Confederation playoffs includes 4 teams from four different confederations, CONMEBOL, OFC, AFC, and CONCACAF. A team from CONCACAF will play a team from AFC where as a team from OFC will play a team from CONMEBOL. Both matchups will consist of a two legged playoff, home and away, with the winner of each playoff qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

  • Playoff 1 (OFC v CONMEBOL): The OFC representative will be the winner of OFC qualifying whereas the CONMEBOL representative will be the 5th placed team from CONMEBOL’s qualifying Mini-League.
  • Playoff 2 (AFC v CONCACAF): The AFC representative will be the winner of the AFC fourth qualifying round whereas the CONCACAF representative will be the 4th placed team from CONCACAF’s fifth qualifying round.