World Cup Qualifiers 2022: How many points do India need to finish in third place?

Igor Stimac, India practiceAIFF

The Indian national team clinched a much-needed win in their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Bangladesh last Monday. With three vital points in their kitty, the side will now take on Afghanistan in a crucial final match. 

India started their journey in the qualifiers with a narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of Oman at home followed by a historic goalless draw against Asian champions Qatar in Doha. In their third and fourth matches, the Blue Tigers managed 1-1 draws against Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively but again suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat against Oman away from home in their fifth match. They would go on to lose 1-0 to Qatar before Monday's win. 

While India does not stand a chance of qualifying for the next round of the World Cup qualifiers, they still have a lot at stake in the final match. If India can finish at least in the third position then they will qualify directly for the third round of the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers.

This is how the table looks like at the moment. 

Position Team Played Won Drawn Lost Goals Scored Goals Against GD Points

What happens when two teams finish on the same points? 

If two teams finish with the same number of points at the league stage then the following criteria will be factored in while deciding the rankings. 

  1. Overall goal difference

  2. Overall goals scored

  3. The goals scored away from home count double between the teams
    concerned (if the tie is only between two teams);

If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above criteria, their rankings shall be determined as follows:

         5. Greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned.

         6. Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned.

         7. Greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned.

         8. Fair play points system in which the number of yellow and red cards in all group matches is considered according to the following deductions:

– first yellow card: minus 1 point
– second yellow card/indirect red card: minus 3 points
– direct red card: minus 4 points
– yellow card and direct red card: minus 5 points

         9. Drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee. 

In the event of a tournament being played in one of the countries of the participating member associations (in this case Qatar) or on neutral territory, if two or more teams are equal after the completion of the group stage in accordance with the above criteria 1-7 (barring number 3), the final rankings will be determined by rules 8 and 9. 

How can India finish in third place?

With Qatar and Oman locked in a battle for the top two spots, Afghanistan and India are fighting for third place which will ensure a direct spot in the third round of the Asian Cup Qualification 2023. 

After defeating Bangladesh, India need to avoid defeat Afghanistan in their final match to seal third spot. 

Afghanistan, after falling to a 2-1 defeat to Oman on Friday, are a point below India in the table. 

Afghanistan need to win against India to seal third spot for themselves. A draw in the game will see India finish third.

What happens if India finish fourth? 

If India finish fourth then also they can qualify for the Asian Cup qualifying third round if they finish amongst the four best fourth-placed teams across all groups. The remaining four fourth-placed teams will advance to the Asian Cup qualifying play-off round.