Egypt takes on Zimbabwe on Friday in the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 (AFCON 2019), and the match will kick off the historic tournament where 24 teams are participating for the first time.
In this article, we highlight the guidelines that will be used to track the progress of the teams during the month long tournament.
The 24 qualifiers have been seeded according to the world rankings and divided into six groups of four.
Each team plays the other three in its group once with three points awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss.
The winners and runners-up in each group and the best four third-place teams – a total of 16 – qualify for the second round.
If teams finish level on points, the following tiebreakers will apply to decide placings:
- Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams
- Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams
- Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams
If more than two teams are tied, and after applying all the head-to-head criteria, a subset of teams are still tied, all head-to-head criteria above are reapplied exclusively to this subset of teams.
- Goal difference in all group matches
- Goals scored in all group matches
- Drawing lots
This phase consists of eight second round matches, quarter-finals, semi-finals, a third-place play-off and the final.
Teams drawing after 90 minutes play 30 minutes extra-time and if they are still level, a penalty shootout will decide the winners.
The VAR (video assistant referee) system will be used from the quarter-finals onwards.