How can the Ferns qualify for the knockout stages? It could get complicated …

New Zealand fans will be following two games at once on Sunday evening as they monitor the Football Ferns’ hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

While the Ferns play Switzerland in Dunedin, Norway will meet the Philippines at Auckland’s Eden Park.

And if the games are drawn, it could get complicated.

How it works

The top two sides in Group A will go through to the Round of 16.

The primary criteria for establishing final positions in the group are the number of points earned (three for a win, one for a draw).

If teams are level on points, goal difference is then used to decide the pecking order (the number of goals scored, less the goals conceded).

If goal difference is tied, the next tiebreaker is to compare the number of goals scored by a team.

If that is also deadlocked, tournament organisers will then resort to looking at the result between the tied countries (which would favour New Zealand if locked with Norway but work against them if tied with the Philippines).

The computations

New Zealand’s best option is to beat Switzerland on Sunday, but they can still go through if both games are drawn.w

The computations include:

  • New Zealand go through to the knockout stages if they beat Switzerland.
  • New Zealand go out of the tournament if they lose to Switzerland.
  • If New Zealand and Switzerland draw, the Swiss go through to the knockout rounds but the Ferns’ fate will depend on the result of the Philippines/Norway game.
  • If both games are drawn on Sunday, New Zealand qualify.
  • If New Zealand draw, and the other game ends in a win to Norway, the deciding factor will be the goal differentials on the night. If Norway win by a two-goal margin or better, they would go through. A high-scoring draw for New Zealand would help their case if Norway won by a single-goal margin.

Here’s how the group stands …



# current FIFA world rankings

Games to be played on Sunday July 30, 2023

Norway (#12) v Philippines (#46)
Eden Park, Auckland, 7pm

Switzerland (#20) v New Zealand (#26)
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 7pm

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