The FIFA World Cup is a global football tournament which will see its 21st event in 2018. The tournament, which is to be held in Russia, will take place from the 14th of June until the 15th of July. Qualifying rounds have already been completed between September and November 2017, leaving 32 teams to battle for the cup. The Group stages will take place between the 14th and 28th of June, with knockout stages commencing on the 30th of June. Othman Louanjli is among the millions of football fans the world over who will be eagerly awaiting the start of the tournament.
The 32 qualified teams in the FIFA World Cup are divided into eight groups of four for the initial stage of the tournament. Matches are played in a round-robin style, with each team playing all other teams in their group twice. The two teams that finish top of each group are those that go on to the knockout stages, with the bottom two teams leaving the tournament. Rankings within the groups are determined initially by points, with each team earning three points for a win, one point each for a draw and nothing for a loss.
In cases where the points are tied at the end of the group stage, rankings are determined firstly by goal difference, which is the difference between the number of goals scored and the number conceded during the group stage. If there is still a tie, the team with the highest number of goals scored in total ranks highest. Should these three criteria still result in a tie, rankings are determined by points between those two teams, then by goal difference between the two teams. If the score is still tied, fair play points are considered, which penalise teams for yellow cards and red cards received. Finally, in the event the ranking is still tied, the FIFA Organising Committee draws lots to see which team proceeds to the next stage.
Knockout Stage One: Round of 16
In the first stage of the knockout portion of the FIFA World Cup tournament, a winning team from each group plays a runner up with the groups being paired AB, CD, EF and GH, so the winner of Group A plays the runner-up of Group B and the winner of Group B plays the runner up of Group A and so on. Each match is played until a winner is established. If the score is tied at full-time, extra time is played with a further 15 minutes of play each way. If the score is still tied, a penalty shoot-out is used to determine the winners. A penalty shoot-out starts with a best of five: if the penalty score is tied after five shots each, a sudden death round begins, with each team taking one shot each until one team scores and the other misses.
Knockout Stage: Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final
With eight teams left in the tournament the quarter-finals are played, which in 2018 will take place on the 6th and 7th of July. The winners of each match go forward to the semi-finals, which will happen on the 10th and 11th of July. To determine the third-place winners, a play-off happens between the two losing teams of the semi-finals, which will happen on the 14th of July. On the 15th of July 2018, the two unbeaten teams from all the rounds of finals play each other to discover who will take home the FIFA World Cup as champions.