If you look at the FIFA website, Group H, which Korea belongs to, is currently ranked 1st by Portugal, Korea and Uruguay tied for 2nd, and Ghana is 4th.

The first and fourth places are clear as Portugal beat Ghana 3-2 in the first leg.

However, there is something confusing about the rankings between Korea and Uruguay.

In the World Cup, the group stage standings are divided in the order of points, goal difference, and goals scored.

If not split here, points, goal difference and goals scored in matches between teams that are not split are taken.

If no conclusion is reached here, the fair play score for the entire match will be determined.

Fair Play points are awarded based on the number of yellow or red cards received by a team.

-1 point for a yellow card, -3 points for a cumulative yellow card, -4 points for a direct red card, and -5 points for a red card following a yellow card.

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In the first match between Korea and Uruguay, Uruguay received one yellow card and Korea received two.

In Uruguay, Martin Caceres received one, and in Korea, Kyu-Sung Cho and coach Paulo Bento received one each.

If calculated as it is, Uruguay's Fair Play score is -1 and Korea's -2, so Uruguay should be ranked second and Korea third.

However, the correct answer is a tie for second place.

This is because yellow cards received by staff such as coaches are not taken into account when calculating fair play scores.

Fairplay scoring was first introduced during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

In this tournament, Group H Japan (-4 points) and Senegal (-6 points, fair play score) tied for the most points, but the rankings differed in fair play score, and Japan advanced to the round of 16.

There may also be teams that benefit from the Fair Play scoring system at this tournament.

As much as we have to consider all variables to break through the fierce competition in the World Cup group stage, we need to pay attention to fair play score management.

(Photo = Getty Image Korea)