clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How to run and play a World Cup pool

We’ve got a fun way to enjoy the 2022 World Cup with your friends.

Members of the Ladies Mega Fans football supporters group gather at the Corniche next to the Fifa World Cup logo ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on November 12, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The 2022 World Cup gets underway in Qatar on Sunday, November 20 and runs through the Final on Sunday, December 18. You can track the entire tournament with a printable bracket and there will be plenty to root on for your favorite nation’s team. However, it’s also nice to have a little skin in the game to add interest even if your favorite team isn’t playing.

DraftKings Sportsbook is offering odds on all aspects of the 2022 World Cup. You can bet on individual match winners, player performances, and tournament-long team futures. Additionally, DraftKings is offering free pools around the group stage and knockout bracket.

The World Cup is a perfect opportunity for building pools that you can play with friends. The most basic would be a bracket for the knockout stage, but there’s a fun and somewhat equitable pool to keep people interested for the entire month of the tournament. Here’s a look at how to build a pool for you and your friends to enjoy the World Cup for the coming month.


You’ll need a number of entrants that is divisible by the 32 nations playing in the tournament. I personally think eight participants is the best since everybody gets four teams and the first round provides everybody with a strong contender to win it all. You can also go with four or 12 participants, but it just comes down to how many people you can get.

Draft format

The draft runs in a snake format. That means the person who picks first in the first round picks last in the second round, first in the third round, and last in the fourth round.


The scoring is the area that allows for the most wiggle room. You can award more points for teams that advance further or you can award an even amount of points throughout to create a bit more equity between the draft positions.

Additionally, it’s up to you whether or not you award points for wins and draws in the group stage. I personally use the group stage performances as the tiebreaker and you don’t start earning points until teams clinch bids in the group stage. Here’s the scoring I have been using dating back to 2010.

2 points for each team advancing past the group stage
2 points for each win in the round of 16
2 points for each win in the quarter-finals
3 points for each win in the semi-finals
3 points if your team wins the World Cup

How winner determined

The person who accumulates the most points finishes in first. The first tiebreaker in my pool are greatest number of points in all group matches (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw). The second tiebreaker is the better goal difference in all group matches.

The easiest way to track the tournament is through this Google spreadsheet. If you open it up, create a copy and then you can add the relevant participants and teams in to track your pool. Once the tournament starts, you’ll notch in total wins and draws, list out the two teams that advance from each group, and note the last win in the knockout stage for a given team. The formulas will determine the winner for you. If you have any questions about how the spreadsheet works, hit me up at @davidfucillo on Twitter.