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What are the FIFA World Cup fair play rules and how are groups decided by this?

The outcome of Group H was decided by FIFA’s World Cup fair play rules for the first time today.

Japan qualified over Senegal as both teams finished with identical points, goal difference and goals scored which meant that FIFA’s World Cup fair play rules were used to decide both side’s fate.

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Japan lost 1-0 to Poland after Jan Bednarek scored from close range from a free-kick.

Japan only needed a draw to qualify but paid the price for trying to play for a draw.

However, Colombia won 1-0 win over Senegal which meant that Japan and Senegal finished level on points, but Japan’s four yellow cards (-4 points) over Senegal’s six yellow cards (-6 points) meant that the Japanese progressed into the last-16.

What are the FIFA World Cup fair play rules?

Here are the guidelines to FIFA’s fair play points system which accounts the number of yellow and red cards received:

  • 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
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