FIFA Women's World Cup Group Stage Rules
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is the biggest stage of women’s international soccer, featuring some of the biggest names in the sport. The final tournament features two stages: the group stage and the knockout stage. Read on to learn more about the group stage at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
How Many Teams Are In Each Group?
Starting at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, there will be eight groups of four teams, similar to the men’s tournament. There are a total of 32 teams that play in the group stage at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Each team plays the other three teams in their group once during the group stage, guaranteeing three games per team.
How Are Groups Determined in the Women’s World Cup?
Groups are determined by a ranked draw that happens several months before the tournament, typically around the time the qualification stage has concluded. Similar to the men’s draw, the qualified teams are ranked 1-32 and placed into “pots.” There are four pots of eight teams each for the draw, divided as follows:
- Pot 1: Host nation and teams ranked 1-7
- Pot 2: Teams ranked 8-15
- Pot 3: Teams ranked 16-23
- Pot 4: Teams ranked 24-32
When the groups are drawn, every pot must have a representative in each group. Therefore, there may not be more than one team from each pot in a group, as there are four teams in a group and four pots that need to be represented. This draw ensures a competitive balance among groups.
Points During the Group Stage
A points system is used to keep track of group standings in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. In the group stage, three points are awarded for a win, one point is awarded for a draw, and no points are awarded for a loss. After all four teams in the group have played their three games each, the top two teams in points move on to the knockout stage.
The maximum number of points a team can accrue in the group stage is nine, only if they win all three matches. If a team loses all three of their matches, they will leave the tournament with zero points.
Group Stage Tie Break Rules
If two or more teams are tied in points for a top-two spot after all group stage games have been played, a tie breaker must be used. The first tie breaker, as with most major soccer competitions, is goal difference. Goal difference is the number of goals conceded subtracted from the number of goals scored.
After goal difference, there are several further tie breakers that may be used, which are as follows:
- Total Goals
- Head-to-head results
- Highest goal difference in head-to-head matches
- Highest total goals in head-to-head matches
- Random draw
Group Stage Rules Summary
- 32 teams qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage.
- The 32 teams are split into eight groups of four.
- The groups are determined by a ranked draw.
- Before the draw, teams are placed into one of four pots based on their ranking.
- The first pot contains the host nation and teams ranked 1-7.
- The rest of the pots (2, 3, and 4) are split based on ranking (8-32).
- Each group must have one representative from each pot, meaning no more than one team from each pot will be in a group.
- Each team plays three games in the group stage, one against each group member.
- Three points are awarded for a win, one point is awarded for a draw, and no points are awarded for a loss.
- The top two teams in each group move on to the knockout stage.
- If teams are tied in points, the team with the higher goal difference wins the tiebreaker.
How many games do teams play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
Each team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup will play at least three games. These three games will be against each one of their three groupmates. If a team finishes in the top two spots of their group, they will continue to play at least one more game in the knockout stage. The maximum number of games a team will play in one FIFA Women’s World Cup is seven.
How do teams advance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage?
The top two teams in each group in terms of points will move on to the knockout stage. If two or more teams are tied in points, there are several tie breakers that may be implemented, the first of which being goal difference.
How are points awarded in the FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage?
In the FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage, three points are awarded for a win, one point is awarded for a draw, and no points are awarded for a loss. This is the system that is used in all major international soccer competitions worldwide, and is considered the standard scoring system.