The World Cup is the most prestigious football competition adored by players and fans alike. For some reason, you may wonder how many matches are played in the World Cup.
Well, you’ll find out the answer in this article.
How many teams compete in the World Cup?
As of today, 32 nations compete in the World Cup.
These 32 teams are divided into 8 groups (A-H), hence, 4 teams per group.
All four teams, 4 teams in a particular group, play each other just once in the group stage, unlike the Champions League Group stage, where they play home and away fixtures in the Group phase.
How many matches will a team play to reach the World Cup Final?
A team will have to play a total of 7 matches to win the World Cup.
Remember that each team is allocated to a group with 3 other teams.
That means each team will have to play just 3 matches in the group phase of the World Cup.
For a team to progress to the final, they will play 1 Round of 16 matches, 1 Quarter Final match, 1 Semi Final and the Final – a total of 4 knockout matches.
3 Group stage matches + 4 knockout matches (including the final) = 7 total matches to win the World Cup.
Remember that the World Cup has a 3rd-place play off. That means the last 4 teams would all play 7 matches in a World Cup Tournament.
In essence, not only the World Cup winner can or would play a total of 7 matches. All Semi-finalist would play 7 matches in a World Cup Tournament.
The Total number of World Cup Matches Calculated
The question again: How many matches are played in the world cup? First, you should know that the total number of matches played in a World Cup tournament is 64.
Now, let us analyze how we arrive at the number 64. Let’s start with the Group phase.
World Cup Group Phase Matches Calculation
Remember that each group has 4 nations. That means there would be 2 matches (fixtures) per group on a matchday.
There are 3 match days per group, so the total number of matches in a group is 6 (2 [matches per matchday] X 3 [Matchdays]).
Since there are 8 groups in total, that means the total number of matches across all groups is 48 (6 [Fixtures per group] X 8 [Groups]).
To reiterate, the total number of group phase matches in a World Cup is 48.
Now, let’s move to the knockout fixtures.
World Cup Knockout Fixture Calculation
The Round of 16 has 16 teams where two teams meet per match. Hence, 8 matches.
In the Quarter Final, 8 teams qualify and two teams meet per match. Hence, 4 matches.
The Semi Final has just 4 teams and produces just 2 matches.
Of course, the Final is just one match where two teams battle for glory.
Also, do not forget the 3rd place playoff match is just 1 fixture. Just like the final, 2 teams battle for 3rd place.
In total, there are 16 knockout matches in a World Cup Tournament.
Grand Total World Cup Matches Calculated
Therefore, the total number of World Cup matches is 48 [Group stage matches] + 16 [Knockout matches] = 64.
As we have established, the World Cup has a total of 64 matches – 48 Group matches + 16 knockout fixtures.
Also, a team can play a maximum of 7 matches in the World Cup. Basically, all the Semi-finalists will play 7 matches because there is a 3rd-place playoff match.
If you were ever in doubt about the number of matches in a World Cup tournament, this article must have cleared all doubts.
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