How To Play

Downloadable Version: WC2014 HOW TO PLAY

Email entries to Paris Nainggolan at
or Veronique Jacotey at


The game will pit your predictive skills against other armchair pundits from all over the country.  It will cost £5.00 to play, some of which will go towards postage, printing and overheads, but most of which will go into the prize pot.  The actual value of the prizes won’t be known until we know how many entrants there are, however we can say that the top five on the overall table will receive a prize, and there will be prizes for performances in the Fantasy Cup, which will run alongside the main event.

STEP 1  Fill in your predicted score-lines for the 48 group matches in the spaces provided (Box no 1).  2 points will be awarded for predicting the correct score-line and 1 point for predicting the correct result (i.e. win, lose or draw)

Example   Steve predicts a result for the first game of Brazil 2 Croatia 0.  James predicts Brazil 1 Croatia 0, and Angus says it will be Brazil 0 Croatia 1.

The actual result is Brazil 1 Croatia 0.

As I’m sure you’ve already worked out, Steve scores 1 (Correct result – A Brazil win, but wrong score-line), James scores 2 (Correct result & score-line) and Angus scores 0 (Score-line & result both wrong).

STEP 2  Complete boxes 2 to 6 with the teams you think will qualify for each round.  These predictions do not have to tie in with those made in Box 1, nor with any of the predictions for the other rounds so, if you wish, you can predict Honduras to win all of their group matches in Box 1 but choose not to compound the error & so omit them completely from Box 2: The Last 16.  Then if you feel guilty about losing faith in them you can put them back in Box 3: Quarter-Finalists.

1 point will be awarded for every team listed in Box 2: The Last Sixteen that actually makes it to that round.

2 points will be awarded for every team listed in Box 3: Quarter-Finalists that actually makes it to that round.

3 points will be awarded for every team listed in Box 4: Semi-Finalists that actually makes it to the semi-finals.

4 points will be awarded for every team quoted in Box 5: Finalists actually makes it to the final.

5 points will be awarded if the team quoted in Box 6: Winners actually wins the blessed thing.

STEP 3  Now pick a 17-man squad from the pool of players on show in this festival of football and list them in Box 7. This is where some research will be required, although we will help you out on the Armchair Pundits website during the coming month (more about this further on). This section will run like the original Fantasy Football League, with which many of you will be familiar.  Players in your 1st XI score points for you as follows:

All Players:

Score 3 points if they score a goal

Score 2 points if they deliver the final pass before a goal, if they are fouled for a scoring penalty or direct free-kick (although, if they take the penalty or free-kick, they will only score the 3 points for the goal), or if a shot at goal rebounds off a defender/goalie or the framework of the goal either causing a goal or allowing a team-mate to score.

Goalies & Defenders

In addition to the above, score 1 point for taking to the field, a further 2 points for             keeping a clean sheet (they must play for at least 45 minutes to score for a clean sheet), and lose 1 point for every goal conceded, however long they play.


Score 1 point for saving a penalty kick in normal play (ie. not those taken during shoot-outs). If a goal is scored from the first touch after a rebound, the Goalie won’t get his point, but if it goes in after that, he still will.

Your 1st XI must consist of 1 Goalie, 4 Defenders, 4 Midfielders and 2 Forwards.  Your Subs must consist of 1 Goalie, 2 Defenders, 2 Midfielders and 1 Forward.

Only your 1st XI will score points for you and your subs should be listed in order of preference as they will automatically be promoted to the first team when players are knocked out of the tournament or it is announced that they are injured for the remainder of the tournament.  Substitutions occur only between rounds of matches, not during them.  Subs don’t replace suspended players.

Finally, you must have at least 1 player from each group in your squad and no more than 2 players from any one nation, with the exception of 1 nation of your choice, from which you may select 3 players.

STEP 4  If you would like to be drawn against a friend (or enemy) whom you know is taking part in the APFL, put their name in the Fantasy Cup Grudge Match box.  There are spaces for up to 5 names.  If they feel the same way about you (ie. they put your name in their box), you will be placed in the same group as them for the first round of the Fantasy Cup.

The Fantasy Cup will run alongside the main event and is a knock-out contest between Fantasy Teams.  Points for match or qualifier predictions don’t count.  Fantasy Teams will be drawn into 16 equal(ish) groups, with scores from the first 2 group matches determining who finishes top of each group and therefore progresses to the last 32.   After that it will be a straight knock-out using scores from each round of matches all the way to the Final.

In the event of a tie, subs’ scores will be used, then actual goals scored in the 1st XI, and then subs.  If two sides are still level after that, penalty shoot-out goals will count.  If that doesn’t work then the scores of previous rounds will be used until the teams can be separated.


The 30-man provisional squads are announced on 13th May 2014.  Veronique will do her best to put these up on the website within a week of this.  The final 23-man squad deadline is 2nd June 2014.  Again, Veronique will do her level best to get these online by 5th June 2014, a week before kick-off.

The plan is that player positions will be determined by the player profiles on the FIFA website.  None have been published on there yet, but watch the Armchair Pundits blog for pointers.  If FIFA fail to offer a decent squad list, with official player positions, then Veronique will prepare one, again official adjudication about this will be posted on the blog on 4th June 2014.

Entries can get to us by any means, but Email entries really help.  If you use email, you can either post your money on, or contact us for bank account details to credit.  And of course, delivering your entry direct to the Obergruppenfuhrer residence on the night before kick-off is a tradition for many of you.

The way to put a phone number in an Xcel spreadsheet without the zero being chopped off is: ‘07777888999. The apostrophe makes the computer treat the number as text rather than a number.

If sending an email entry, key your score predictions in the box provided and in this format: 1-0. Again, use the apostrophe if Xcel is being a pain, ‘1-0

The earlier your entry arrives, the better chance your team will have: We suggest you make your final decisions during the weekend of 7th and 8th June 2014 and send it on Monday 9th June 2014.  Although accuracy has to be the responsibility of those making an entry, we will, as a courtesy, contact you prior to kick-off if you have made any errors – but entries will be checked in order of receipt, and if the tournament has started by the time we get to your form, I’m afraid corrections can’t be made.  If you send an entry early and a member of your squad breaks their metatarsal and has to pull out, just email/call us to change your selection – provided it’s before 21:00 BST on 12th June 2014, and it doesn’t break any of the selection rules, it won’t be a problem.

There are no scores awarded for Team Names, but these will be posted online for your amusement and delectation.  Some players consider the Team Name to be more important than their overall score, some can’t be bothered with it.  It’s up to you.

Feel free to invite other people to play. 

Paris Nainggolan, Chris Sanderson, Veronique Jacotey


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