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Excel Schedule

Another change to the tournament mode for the 2026 World Cup (FIFA decision of March 14, 2023):
12 groups of four instead of 16 groups of three. That means: 104 matches instead of 80 matches.

On February 4th, 2024, FIFA published a match plan that specifies the date and venue for each match number. The match numbers - and thus the date and venue - were also determined for the group matches of the three hosts Mexico, Canada and the USA.
▸FIFA schedule from February 4th, 2024

The opening match (Match No. 1) will take place on June 11, 2026 in Mexico City. Hosts Mexico will play against a team from their group. The world championship tournament ends with the final (match no. 104) on July 19, 2026 in New York/New Jersey.

The match numbers have not yet been assigned to the twelve groups. In this respect, this assignment in the Excel match plan is still arbitrary.

Preview of the Excel Schedule World Cup 2026
hinweispfeil Full picture


Just enter match results - everything else is automatic!


Excel Logo
Schedule (Last updated: March 15, 2024)
Updated match plan with 12 groups of four after FIFA publication on February 4th, 2024 Download .xlsx

It is an interactive Excel schedule with automatic updating of the group tables, automatic assignment of teams in the knockout round, multilingual, choice of time zone, consideration of all FIFA rules including fair play and drawing of lots, highlighting the games of the current day, also an overview of all direct comparisons with the corresponding tables in the case of three teams.

New contest mode

After the World Cup is before the World Cup.
(Original quote from the German national coach Sepp Herberger in 1954: 'After the match is before the match.')

The next World Cup is scheduled to take place in June and July 2026. And everything should be different at the next World Cup. That's what all teams who went home early and disappointed with the early elimination hope for.

But FIFA also wants to do everything differently. It was already decided in 2017 that instead of 32 teams, 48 teams would now take part. In the group stage, there should be sixteen groups of three instead of eight groups of four. The KO round should be extended by a round of 32.

However, this match plan generated a lot of criticism. Mainly, the increased risk of collusion in the last group match was pointed out.

Finally, on March 14, 2023, it was decided to change the tournament mode again. There are twelve groups of four in the group stage. The first and second place winners in each group and the eight best third-placed teams qualify for the round of 32. So the number of matches increases from 64 matches to 104 matches.

What is also new at this World Cup is that the eight best third-placed teams qualify for the knockout round. When planning the encounters in the round of 32, it should be ensured that two teams from the same group do not meet in the round of 32 under any circumstances. Since it is not known in advance from which of the 12 groups the 8 best third-placed teams will come, it must be determined before the tournament which of the group winners has to play against which third-party for each of the possible cases that may arise.

At the UEFA European Championship there are 15 different cases from which groups the top 4 third-placed teams can come. Here at the World Cup, there are now 495(!) different cases from which groups the top 8 third-place finishers can come. This means that FIFA has to create a table with 495 regulations, which group winner plays against which group third party.

In order to bridge the time until FIFA announces its regulation, I calculated a possible solution for the 495 cases using my own computer algorithm. You can see them on the 'AssignThird' spreadsheet or hint arrow here as a PDF. As there are more possible solutions than grains of sand on earth, FIFA's solution will almost certainly not be the same.

hinweispfeil More information on FIFA's World Cup 2026 page

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Assignment of the places to the individual confederations

FIFA allocates a certain number of places to each confederation. This is what it looks like at the 2026 World Cup:

Confederation Number of places Playoff participants
AFC (Asia) 8 1
CAF (Africa) 9 1
CONCACAF (North and Central America) 6 2
CONMEBOL (South America) 6 1
OFC (Oceania) 1 1
UEFA (Europe) 16 - -

Each confederation holds qualifying rounds to decide who qualifies for those places. Of the 6 playoff participants, 2 qualify for the final tournament. This results in 8 + 9 + 6 + 6 + 1 + 16 + 2 = 48 participants in the final tournament. For the first time, the OFC is assigned a direct place. So far, only one team has qualified through the international playoffs. The hosts Canada, Mexico and USA are automatically qualified.

The tournament is scheduled to take place in June and July 2026. So far, only the date for the finale has been set: July 19, 2026.

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Betting match results

If you're having fun betting on match results with family or friends and turning it into a little competition, you can show the hidden worksheets
Predictions_Ranking_1 and

Further information is available here: Betting match results.

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World Cup 2023 Logo
2023 Women's World Cup
If you are looking for a match schedule for the 2023 Women's World Cup, you can find it here:  hinweispfeil

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FIFA World Ranking

In the draw for group allocation on April 1, 2022, the host country Qatar and the seven best placed in the FIFA world rankings came into pot 1. Since the world rankings are constantly changing, a key date has to be set. This key date determines which snapshot of the world ranking list is used for the draw of the groups.

How does the FIFA World Ranking come about? - How is the rank actually calculated?

Since August 2018, FIFA calculates the world ranking coefficient according to a new procedure. In the old procedure, an average value was calculated from the match results of a certain period. In the new procedure, the playing strength of a team is indicated by a so-called ELO rating, similar to chess. (Arpad Elo had developed this method of calculating playing strength for the American Chess Federation in 1960). This ELO rating determines the rank in the FIFA world rankings.

The ELO rating of a team changes after each international match. Friendly matches are far less important than, for example, group matches in the World Cup finals. The strength of the opponent also plays a major role in the recalculation. A win against a strong opponent improves the ELO number significantly more than a win against a weak opponent.
Detailed explanation of the calculation of the ELO number (with Online Calculator)

hint arrow Official world ranking published by FIFA

Anyone who would like to have the two FIFA world rankings before and after the 2022 World Cup (6 Oct 2022 and 22 Dec 2022) as an Excel file can download them here:
hinweispfeil FIFA_World_Ranking_2022-12-22.xlsx

If you are interested in how the rating numbers in the FIFA women's world rankings are calculated, you will find a detailed explanation with calculation example, online calculator and Excel file for download here:
hinweispfeil Calculation of rating numbers in the FIFA Women's World Ranking

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Calculate your own rankings with Excel

hinweispfeil Download Excel file (Calculate_Rankings_1.2_en.xlsm)
Last modified: 2023-04-13
The file contains VBA code and therefore only runs under Microsoft Excel.

With this Excel file you can calculate your own rankings, analogous to the FIFA world rankings. Just like with FIFA, you enter all match results for a certain period of time. After clicking on a button, Excel then calculates the new ranking list with the current rating numbers.

For example, a regional football association can have its own regional ranking list similar to the FIFA world ranking list and update it at certain intervals.

Since the calculation method is the same as in chess or table tennis (ELO numbers are calculated), the Excel file can also be used in the Chess Club or in the Table Tennis Club to recalculate the playing strengths and thus the ranking of the members. The ELO divisor (400 for chess, 600 for football) can be chosen accordingly. The Swiss Table Tennis Association uses the ELO divisor 200, the German Table Tennis Association 150.

FIFA uses values from 5 to 60 for the weighting. There are three weightings in chess: 40 for beginners and players under the age of eighteen, 20 for intermediate players who have at least 30 ratings, and 10 for top players who have reached a playing strength >2400. In Swiss table tennis, the value 10 applies to all players.

As an example, the Excel file contains the FIFA rating numbers of the 32 World Cup participants from October 6th, 2022 as starting values. The 64 games of the 2022 World Cup are entered on the second spreadsheet and the newly calculated rating numbers are listed. So you can see how the rating numbers have changed due to the World Cup matches. These new numbers do not exactly match the FIFA rating numbers from December 22nd, 2022, because in this example the preparatory matches in the period from October 6th, 2022 to the start of the World Cup on November 20th, 2022 would still have to be incorporated.

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Downloads for the past World Cup 2022

Interested parties can still download the old match schedule for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar:
hinweispfeil World Cup 2022 match schedule (Last updated: 19.01.2023)

There is a detailed tutorial for the 2022 match schedule as a PDF file with precise instructions how this match schedule can be produced, also with an explanation of all Excel formulas contained therein and for each chapter an Excel file that corresponds to the development status after this chapter.
hinweispfeil WCup_Tutorial_1.2_en.pdf    (Last updated: 2023-06-01)

For the tutorial there are ten Excel files that represent the current status of the project after each of the ten chapters. So you can start at any point or skip chapters.
In any case, everything is explained as clearly as possible.
hinweispfeil Excel files for the tutorial    (Last updated: 2023-03-03)

If you don't have Excel, you can still use this World Cup schedule!
You can use a free program like LibreOffice Calc or OpenOffice Calc.
Or you can save the schedule on Microsoft OneDrive and then edit it in the browser with 'Excel Online'.

It is also possible to save the World Cup schedule to Google Drive and edit it in the browser with Google 'Sheets'. Here, however, the processing speed is very low. It can sometimes take a few seconds for updating the group table after entering a match result.

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Group assignments

See  hinweispfeil Qualifying round for more information.

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Final tournament in Qatar

The tournament started on Sunday, November 20th, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. local time (5:00 p.m. CET) with the opening game Qatar-Ecuador in the Al Bayt Stadium.
On Sunday, December 18th, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. CET) the tournament ended with the final in the Lusail Stadium. Argentina is the new World Champion.

In order to shorten the tournament time, four games per day are played in the group stage. They start at 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time. According to CET (Central European Time) these are the times 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Since it is winter time, the temperatures are still pleasant during the day. In summer, on the other hand, temperatures of up to 50°C can occur during the day. For this reason the tournament was postponed to winter time.

The distance between the stadiums is so short that it is theoretically possible for fans to attend several games a day. In the round of 16 and quarter-finals, two games per day will be played (6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time respectively 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. CET), in the semi-finals and the two finals only one game per day.

More information of the FIFA about the hint arrow final competition:

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Rules for qualifying for the round of 16

The first and second in every group qualify for the round of 16.

In contrast to the UEFA European Championship, the direct comparison has no priority over goal difference and the number of goals scored. A direct comparison is only used if the points, goal difference and number of goals scored are equal. If the direct comparison does not bring a decision either, the minus points of the fair play rating are compared. If there is also a tie, the lot decides.

In summary, the criteria for determining the order of precedence within a group are:

  1. Score from all group matches
  2. Goal difference from all group matches
  3. Number of goals scored in all group matches
  4. Score from the direct encounters between the teams in question
  5. Goal difference from the direct encounters between the teams in question
  6. Number of goals scored from direct encounters between the teams in question
  7. Fair play scoring based on yellow and red cards received in all group matches
    • yellow card = 1 point
    • yellow-red card = 3 points
    • red card = 4 points
    • yellow and red card = 5 points
  8. Drawing of lots

See also hinweispfeil Official FIFA regulations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

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Qualifying round

The last matchday of the UEFA qualifiers for World Cup 2022 was 16.11.2021. In the 10 groups of UEFA, the group winners qualified for the World Cup in Qatar. The runners-up in the groups had the chance to qualify retrospectively via the play-offs.

Table of the group winners and runners-up:

Grp. Group winner
(Play-off participant)
A Serbia Portugal
B Spain Sweden
C Switzerland Italy
D France Ukraine
E Belgium Wales
F Denmark Scotland
G Netherlands Turkey
H Croatia Russia
I England Poland
J Germany North Macedonia

In the play-offs on March 24 and March 29, 2022, it should be decided who, apart from the 10 group winners, belongs to the 13 European tournament participants. However, two games were postponed to June 2022 because of the Ukraine conflict.

In the play-offs, the 10 runners-up and the two best teams in the UEFA Nations League that have not yet qualified will fight for the last three tickets to Qatar.

In the UEFA Nations League there is a ranking of the last tournament. The first 14 places are occupied by the group winners of the 4 leagues. Since the 4 group winners of League A (France, Spain, Italy, Belgium) have already qualified or are play-off participants, the next group to look at are the group winners of League B. Wales are already play-off participants. Therefore, the next two - Austria and Czechia - get a turn. They are the two teams that went into the play-offs with the 10 group runners-up (March 2022).

Poland, Portugal and Wales qualified in the UEFA play-offs for participating in the finals in Qatar.
For more information see  hinweispfeil UEFA play-offs.

The last two participants of the tournament were determined in the Intercontinental Play-Offs, which took place on 13./14. June 2022. Two play-offs were played:

Int. play-off 1: Australia - Peru 5 - 4  a. pen.   (June 13, 2022)
Int. play-off 2: Costa Rica - New Zealand 1 - 0   (June 14, 2022)

Teams qualified:

Nr. Team Qualified since
1 Qatar 02 Dec 2010
2 Germany 11 Oct 2021
3 Denmark 12 Oct 2021
4 Brazil 11 Nov 2021
5 France 13 Nov 2021
6 Belgium 13 Nov 2021
7 Croatia 14 Nov 2021
8 Spain 14 Nov 2021
9 Serbia 14 Nov 2021
10 England 15 Nov 2021
11 Switzerland 15 Nov 2021
12 Netherlands 16 Nov 2021
13 Argentina 16 Nov 2021
14 Iran 27 Jan 2022
15 South Korea 01 Feb 2022
16 Japan 24 Mar 2022
17 Saudi Arabia 24 Mar 2022
18 Ecuador 24 Mar 2022
19 Uruguay 24 Mar 2022
20 Canada 27 Mar 2022
21 Poland 29 Mar 2022
22 Portugal 29 Mar 2022
23 Ghana 29 Mar 2022
24 Senegal 29 Mar 2022
25 Tunisia 29 Mar 2022
26 Morocco 29 Mar 2022
27 Cameroon 29 Mar 2022
28 Mexico 31.03.2022
29 USA 31.03.2022
30 Wales 05.06.2022
31 Australia 13.06.2022
32 Costa Rica 14.06.2022

More information about FIFA Qualifiers:
hint arrow FIFA Qualifiers
hint arrow Wiki (all confederations)
hint arrow Wiki (all groups of UEFA)

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UEFA play-offs

Disastro Italia! - Italia is out!

The European champion was surprisingly eliminated against North Macedonia. After failing to convert one of their numerous scoring chances, the 'Squadra Azzurra' were forced to face the fact that they will not take part in the tournament after conceding a goal in the 92nd minute.

The draw for the play-offs to determine the last three UEFA World Cup participants took place on 26.11.2021. In each of three groups of four, two semifinals and one final will be played. The three final winners will take part in the World Cup.

Russia was banned from participating in the tournament. Therefore, the semi-final Russia - Poland didn't take place. Poland was automatically qualified for the final on March 29th.

Semi-finals on March 24, 2022

Way A:

Semi-final 1: Scotland - Ukraine  1 - 3   (was rescheduled on June 1, 2022)
Semi-final 2: Wales - Austria 2 - 1

The winner of the semi-final 2 has home right in the final.

Way B:

Semi-final 1: Russia - Poland canceled - Poland in the final
Semi-final 2: Sweden - Czechia 1 - 0  a. e. t.

The winner of the semi-final 1 has home right in the final.

Way C:

Semi-final 1: Italy - North Macedonia 0 - 1
Semi-final 2: Portugal - Turkey 3 - 1

The winner of the semi-final 2 has home right in the final.

Finals on March 29, 2022
Final 1: Wales - Ukraine   1 - 0   (was rescheduled on June 5, 2022)
Final 2: Poland - Sweden   2 - 0
Final 3: Portugal - North Macedonia   2 - 0

Poland, Portugal and Wales have qualified for the tournament in Qatar.

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The 32 teams for the finals in Qatar

Where do the 32 teams for the finals come from? - How are they determined?

Many nations around the world have a national football association. Most of these associations are members of the FIFA.

In addition, these national associations have merged to form six continental associations (confederations):

For the final tournament in Qatar in 2022, FIFA has allocated a certain number of starting places to each of these continental associations:

AFC 4,5
OFC 0,5

Four half places means that one team from each of the four continental associations CONMEBOL, AFC, CONCACAF and OFC will take part in intercontinental play-offs. Each of the four teams has a first and a second leg. The two winners will qualify for the finals in Qatar.

At fixed starting places we have: 13 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 5 + 0 = 29
Then there are the two winners from the intercontinental play-offs. That means 31 starting places. The last remaining place is for the host country Qatar, which is taking part in the qualifying games almost out of competition.

Each continental association is responsible for organizing the way in which the candidates for the starting places allocated by FIFA are determined. In UEFA there is a group phase and then the play-offs, in CONMEBOL only one group phase, in CAF and AFC two qualifying rounds each, and in CONCACAF even three qualifying rounds. A qualification tournament will take place in the OFC, in which the participant in the intercontinental play-offs will be determined.

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The topic 'Direct Comparison'

On this subject, many people first think only of the direct comparison between two teams. Here the matter is clear and simple: Whoever has won the direct encounter is the better team in this direct comparison. In the case of a draw, the direct comparison does not lead to a decision.

It is no longer so clear and simple when more than two teams are subjected to a direct comparison. Here there are even several different regulations on how these direct comparisons are to be carried out.

In the direct comparison of three teams under UEFA rules, a further direct comparison of the teams indistinguishable in the first comparison may be carried out.
Under FIFA rules, there is no further direct comparison.

Here is an Example:
Let us assume that the following results were achieved within a group:

Germany Italy 4 - 3
Nigeria Mexico 2 - 4
Germany Nigeria 2 - 0
Mexico Italy 1 - 2
Mexico Germany 2 - 1
Italy Nigeria 2 - 0

Then the final standings of the group table are as follows:

Place Team Points Goals
1 Germany 6 7 - 5
2 Italy 6 7 - 5
3 Mexico 6 7 - 5
4 Nigeria 0 2 - 8

According to both FIFA and UEFA rules, there is a direct comparison between the three teams Germany, Italy and Mexico. In this direct comparison, only the matches of these three teams against each other are considered. The direct comparison leads to the following table:

Place Team Points Goals
1 Germany 3 5 - 5
2 Italy 3 5 - 5
3 Mexico 3 3 - 3

Due to the lower number of goals scored, Mexico is in third place. But what about Germany and Italy? They are indistinguishable even in this direct comparison of the three teams.

According to UEFA rules, there would now be another direct comparison between these two teams. Since Germany won 4-3 against Italy, Germany would be in first place. However, there is nothing in FIFA rules about a repeat of the direct comparison. In the event of a tie, the fair-play ranking or the draw of lots decides. Italy could therefore end up in first place through a better fair-play ranking or a draw of lots!


In the FIFA World Cup, a direct comparison only takes place when the teams concerned are tied in points, goal difference and goals scored.
In the UEFA European Championship, on the other hand, a direct comparison takes place even if the teams are tied on points. The direct comparison takes precedence over goal difference and goals scored.

In the example detailed hint arrow here, 'Playoff C' is ranked 2nd under UEFA rules, but would finish 4th in a FIFA World Cup and would thus be eliminated.

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Tournament schedule for your own Premier League

A tournament schedule in Excel for the Premier League? - You don't need it. - All match results and tables can be viewed multiple times on the Internet.

But if you want to play your own League, you can download a free and freely usable tournament schedule like Premier League  hint arrow here .

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Tournament schedules for 1 to 4 groups

If you are looking for a tournament schedule for your next football, handball, volleyball... tournament, you will find
four high-quality Excel files (without macros), which offer a three-digit number of different variants thanks to their extraordinary flexibility:

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