Following the recent withdrawal of North Korea from the preliminary competition for the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Qatar, the Bureau for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers has taken a decision in order to ensure the fairness of the competition for the remaining teams.
In accordance with this decision, the results of all of the Round 2 matches already played by North Korea are declared null and void. Consequently, after the conclusion of all groups’ Round 2 matches, the results of the matches between the second-placed teams and the fifth-placed teams in groups A to G will not be counted in order to have a balanced final comparison between all group runners-up and therefore, alleviating any possible imbalance between the seven qualifying groups caused by the sudden reduction of Group H to only four teams.
Once this levelling of all groups to four teams has been achieved, the four best runners-up will be determined in the following order of criteria:
- Greatest number of points obtained from the group matches.
- Goal difference in the group matches.
- Greater number of goals scored in the group matches.
- Fair play points system: fewer number of points calculated according to the number of yellow and red cards received by the team in the group phase.
- Drawing of lots.