Category Archives: Games

FIFA™ World Cup™ 2018™ Russia™ sweepstake format

In anticipation of the upcoming FIFA™ World Cup™ 2018™ Russia™ I came up with an optimised office sweepstake format. And some handouts to print to run it in your office.

It aims to:
– make it interesting for all participants for as long as possible
– give all participants a reasonable chance of winning a prize
– encourage intra-office “banter”
– work for a smallish sized office (we conveniently have about 16 staff).

The basics

The sweepstake is a random draw, with each participant drawing a single pair of teams.

The pair of teams consists of one team from the top 16 and one team from the bottom 16 of teams in the World Cup™ (as determined by their FIFA ranking). Each top team is matched with its inverse bottom team, so the highest ranked top 16 team (Germany) is matched with the lowest ranked bottom 16 team (Russia), the second best top 16 team (Brazil) is matched with the second worst bottom 16 team (Saudi Arabia) and so on.

The pairings therefore work out like so:

  • Germany (1) and Russia (65)
  • Brazil (2) and Saudi Arabia (63)
  • Portugal (3) and South Korea (62)
  • Argentina (4) and Panama (49)
  • Belgium (5) and Morocco (48)
  • Poland (6) and Australia (43)
  • France (7) and Japan (44)
  • Spain (8) and Nigeria (41)
  • Peru (10) and Serbia (38)
  • Switzerland (11) and Iran (34)
  • England (12) and Senegal (32)
  • Colombia (13) and Egypt (30)
  • Mexico (16) and Tunisia (28)
  • Uruguay (17) and Sweden (25)
  • Croatia (18) and Costa Rica (22)
  • Denmark (19) and Iceland (21)

Note: the positions of Australia and Japan have been swapped to ensure no pair of teams are in the same group.

Download a printable set of the pairs to run your draw with (PDF, 25kb)

The draw

  1. Each participant randomly draws a pair of teams from the hat, in exchange for the entry fee.
  2. If there are pairs left after everyone in the office has had a chance to enter then those interested can draw a second pair for another entry fee.
  3. You can trade your pairs by mutual consent up until the start of the tournament (Friday 15 June).

Note: For bigger offices, simply double/triple/quadruple as required. For extra variety, you could mix up the pairings for the second group of pairs by swapping the adjacently ranked bottom 16 teams (e.g. swap Russia and Saudi Arabia so Germany and Saudia Arabia are a pair etc.). This would mean all participants have different pairs without too much disruption to the balance of the pairs.

Download a printable sheet to keep track of everything on (PDF, 25kb)

The prizes

The total prize pool for the sweepstake is divided into two equal prizes:

  • Prize A will go to the person with the highest finishing team from the top 16 (likely, but not certainly, the FIFA™ World Cup™ 2018™ Russia™ Winner™).
  • Prize B will go to the highest finishing team from the bottom 16 teams (also known as the “fairy-tale” team).

In the event of two or more teams finishing first in either pool (unlikely for Prize A, likely in Prize B) the following tie-break conditions will apply, in this order:

  1. head to head result (if the two teams happen to have played each other)
  2. highest points total in pool play
  3. best goal difference
  4. total number of goals scored.

If two teams are still equal on all these measures then the prize pool will be divided evenly.


The sweepstake judge’s decision is final.

Keep track

If you need a wall chart, here is one with NZ times: World Cup Wall Chart with NZ times (PDF, 389kb).

It’s based on this one by Glory Mag,it looks nice and is black and white for easy printing.