FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: How will teams progress from the group stages

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As the kick-off to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India fast approaches, Goal brings to you the rules of progressions from the group-stages...

24 of the best teams in the globe are set to descend in India for its first-ever FIFA tournament as it gets ready to host the 2017 Under-17 World Cup. Excitement and anticipation continue to grow with each passing minute as the finest of youth football get ready to battle across six venues across the country for the prestigious honour.

With just under three weeks to go for the kick-off to the biggest prize in youth football, Goal brings to you a comprehensive guide as to how teams will progress from the group-stages to the knockout rounds.

FIFA U17 World Cup draw

For starters, the 24 participating nations from six different confederations around the world have been divided into six groups containing four teams each. The teams were allocated their respective groups through a draw based on their seedings.

u17 wc draw

The system of play will be the league system, each team playing one match against each of the other teams in the same group, with three points for a win, one point for a draw and none for a defeat.

At the end of the group matches, the top two teams from each pool along with the four best third-ranked teams will advance to the Round of 16.

The top two teams from each pool at the end of the group-stages will be decided in the following manner in order of sequence:-

  1. The highest number of points obtained in all group matches;
  2. Goal difference in all group matches;
  3. The highest number of goals scored in all the group matches.

If two or more teams are tied on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be decided as follows in order of sequence:-

  1. Highest number of points obtained in all group matches between the teams concerned;
  2. Goal difference in the group matches played between the teams concerned;
  3. Highest number of goals scored in the group matches played between the teams concerned;
  4. Highest number of fair-play points accumulated by the concerned teams in all group matches decided in the following manner:-
Fair-play points deductions
First yellow card Minus one point
Second yellow/Indirect red card Minus three points
Direct red card Minus four points
Yellow card and direct red card Minus five points

It is important to note that only one of the above deductions (the highest) is applicable to a particular player in a single match. Hence if a player collects two yellow cards in a match, the team will be deducted three points.

If two or more teams are still tied based on the all of the above rules, then the winner will be decided based on a draw of lots by the FIFA organizing committee.

When it comes to deciding the four best third-ranked teams from the group stages, the following criteria shall be applied in order of sequence:-

  1. Highest number of points obtained in all group matches;
  2. Goal difference in all group matches;
  3. Highest number of goals scored in all group matches;
  4. Highest number of fair-play points accumulated by the concerned teams in all group matches;
  5. Draw of lots by the FIFA organizing committee.

Once the 16 best teams from the group-stages have been decided, they will take their place in the pre-quarterfinals in the manner shown in the table below.

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Round of 16
R16(1) Second-ranked team of Group A Vs Second-ranked team of Group C
R16(2) First ranked team of Group D Vs Third-ranked team of Group B/E/F
R16(3) First ranked team of Group B Vs Third-ranked team of Group A/C/D
R16(4) First ranked team of Group F Vs Second-ranked team of Group E
R16(5) First ranked team of Group E Vs Second-ranked team of Group D
R16(6) First ranked team of Group C Vs Third-ranked team of Group A/B/F
R16(7) Second-ranked team of Group B Vs Second-ranked team of Group F
R16(8) First ranked team of Group A Vs Third-ranked team of Group C/DE

To determine how the best third-ranked teams are placed in the Round of 16, we shall refer to the following table. The combination refers to the pools from which the third-placed teams have qualified.

Combinations First ranked team of Group A plays First ranked team of Group B PLAYS First ranked team of Group C plays First ranked team of Group D plays
ABCD 3C 3D 3A 3B
ABCE 3C 3A 3B 3E
ABCF 3C 3A 3B 3F
ABDE 3D 3A 3B 3E
ABDF 3D 3A 3B 3F
ABEF 3E 3A 3B 3F
ACDE 3C 3D 3A 3E
ACDF 3C 3D 3A 3F
ACEF 3C 3A 3F 3E
ADEF 3D 3A 3F 3E
BCDE 3C 3D 3B 3E
BCDF 3C 3D 3B 3F
BCEF 3E 3C 3B 3F
BDEF 3E 3D 3B 3F
CDEF 3C 3D 3F 3E

The winners of the Round of 16 will progress to the quarter-finals in the manner shown in the table below.

Quarter-finals
Quarter-final 1 Winner R16(1) Vs Winner R16(2)
Quarter-final 2 Winner R16(2) Vs Winner R16(4)
Quarter-final 3 Winner R16(5) Vs Winner R16(6)
Quarter-final 4 Winner R16(7) Vs Winner R16(8)
Semi-finals
Semi-final 1 Winner of Quarter-final 1 Vs Winner of Quarter-final 2
Semi-final 2 Winner of Quarter-final 3 Vs Winner of Quarter-final 4
Final and third-place play-off
Final Winner of Semi-final 1 Vs Winner of Semi-final 2
Third-place Play-off Loser of Semi-final 1 Vs Loser of Semi-final 2

If the teams are level at the end of 90 minutes in the final and the third-place play-off then the winner shall be determined by spot-kicks and there shall be no extra time.

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