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

GOAL tells you about the various scenarios in which India can finish third in the group…

The Indian national team resumed their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign against Qatar on Thursday which ended in a 1-0 loss. They will face Bangladesh next on June 7 and finally Afghanistan in their last qualifying game on June 15.

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. 

While India does not stand a chance of qualifying for the next round of the World Cup qualifiers, they still have a lot to play for in the remaining two fixtures. 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
1 Qatar 6 5 1 0 16 1 +15 16
2 Oman 5 4 0 1 11 4 +7 12
3 Afghanistan 5 1 1 3 2 11 -9 4
4 India  5 0 3 2 3 5 -2 3
5 Bangladesh 5 0 1 4 2 13 -11 1

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, the rest of the three teams in Afghanistan, India, and Bangladesh are fighting for third place which will ensure a direct spot in the third round of the Asian Cup Qualification 2023. 

The easiest way for India to finish in third-place is to win their remaining two games. Winning all their matches will take India to nine points and since they will beat both Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the process, the third place will almost be sealed for the Blue Tigers. Afghanistan could still match India’s tally then if they beat Oman but given that they have a much inferior goal difference to India means the Blue Tigers should in all probability get the third spot.  

If India draw their next match against Bangladesh, then they must win against Afghanistan. Anoush Dastgir’s men must also drop points against Oman in this case for India to finish third. Whereas, if Bangladesh win against Oman in this scenario, they will finish level on points with India and then goal difference will come into play. India, right now, has a vastly superior goal difference.

If India lose against Bangladesh and beat Afghanistan, then The Lions of Khorasan must lose against Oman. Bangladesh must also lose against Oman in such a case which will see all three teams finish on six points where India’s superior goal difference could come in handy. 

India cannot afford to lose against Afghanistan in any case.

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.

What happens if India finish fifth? 

If India finish fifth in the table, then they will have to participate in the Asian Cup Qualifying play-off round. 

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