The Soccer World Cup 2018 Math Challenge

The Soccer World Cup 2018 Math Challenge

Time for some Messi math!

It's time once again for the biggest soccer event in the sporting calendar - why not put your math skills to the test with some super soccer-themed puzzles?

The World Cup started in 1930 and is held every four years when 32 countries battle it out to be the best soccer nation.

These math puzzles cater for 5 to 11-year-olds. Skip straight down to the puzzle for your age group or first brush up on your World Cup knowledge with some background info on the tournament itself. 

FIFA World Cup 2018 - the basics
 

32 countries are separated into eight groups of four teams, each with 11 players.

Each team will play each other once in the group.

The top two teams from each group then go through to the “last 16” round which is a knockout round - this means the winner goes through to the next stage and the loser is out of the tournament.

In the knockout stages (last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final) a match will last 90 minutes long unless it is a draw at the end of the match - then extra time of 30 minutes will be played. If the match is still a draw then penalty kicks will be taken to determine the winner.

If you want to keep a closer eye on the tournament you can fill in all the teams’ progress on this printable wall chart (pdf).

The Group Stages: (for ages 5-7)



  1. During one match with no substitutes, how many soccer cleats will there be on the pitch at once? (Don't forget the referee!)
  2. How many teams qualify for the knockout stages?
  3. If Mohammed Salah plays all three group matches for Egypt and one knockout game which goes to extra time - how many minutes will he have played? 
  4. If England gets knocked out at the semi-final stage, how many matches will they have played?
  5. Look closely at this soccer pitch. How many rectangles do you see?


  6. International teams are ranked based on their recent performance so we can tell how good they are. The team with the 1st place or top ranking is supposed to be the best. Put these teams in order from the highest ranking starting with the 1st place team Germany: (print out here)
Country and ranking
In order of ranking
Panama = 55th

Egypt = 46th

Germany = 1st

England = 13th

Russia = 66th

Iceland = 22nd

Australia = 40th

France = 7th

Senegal = 28th

Argentina = 5th

  1. During one match with no substitutes, how many soccer cleats will there be on the pitch at once? 46 (22 players x 2 (each player has two feet!) = 44 + the referee’s two cleats = 46) 
  2. How many teams qualify for the knockout stages? 16 
  3. If Mohammed Salah plays all three group matches for Egypt and one knockout game which goes to extra time - how many minutes will he have played? 390 minutes (90 x 3 = 270 + 120 = 390) 
  4. If England get knocked out at the semi-final stage, how many matches will they have played? Six (three group matches, a last 16, a quarter-final and a semi-final match.) 
  5. Look closely at this soccer pitch. How many rectangles do you see? Seven 
  6. Put these teams in order from the highest ranked to the lowest (1 is the highest ranked team.)
Country and ranking
In order of ranking
Panama = 55th
Germany
Egypt = 46th
Argentina
Germany = 1st
France
England = 13th
England
Russia = 66th
Iceland
Iceland = 22nd
Senegal
Australia = 40th
Australia
France = 7th
Egypt
Senegal = 28th
Panama
Argentina = 5th
Russia

Knockout stages: (Age 7-8)



Look at this map of the World Cup stadia and use the information to answer the following questions:

  1. Which stadium holds the most spectators?
  2. Which stadium holds the fewest spectators?
  3. How many matches will be played in total during the World Cup?
  1. Which stadium holds the most spectators? Moscow (80,000)
  2. Which stadium holds the fewest spectators? Kaliningrad (35,000)
  3. How many matches will be played in total during the World Cup? 64 (look at each stadium and how many matches are played in each one)

The Final: (Age 9-11)



Below is a table of ticket prices for different matches during the World Cup:

Competition stage
Category 1
Category 2
Category 3
Category 4
Opening Ceremony match
$550
$390
$220
$50
Group matches
$210
$165
$105
$20
Round of 16
$245
$185
$115
$35
Quarter-finals
$365
$255
$175
$35
Semi-finals
$750
$480
$285
$70
3rd/4th place match
$365
$255
$175
$60
Final
$1,100
$710
$455
$110
  1. Mike wants to go to a group match. What is the difference between the most expensive and least expensive ticket? 
  2. Donna spent $140 on two tickets - which stage of the competition were they for? 
  3. If you went to all four quarter-final games with a category 2 ticket, how much would you pay?
  4. A family of five have category 3 tickets to a group stage match. How much will they pay altogether?
    Extra tricky question: 
  5. Two ticket outlets are offering deals on ticket bundles -
Messi Madness
The Russian Ronaldo 
Ticket Bundle:

1 x group game, 1 x quarter-final, 1 semi-final and the final (all category 1)  

1/4 off!
Ticket Bundle:

1 x group game (category 2), 1 x quarter-final (category 2), 1 x semi-final (category 2) and the final (category 1)

20% off!

Which is the better option and how much money will you save?

  1. Mike wants to go to a group match. What is the difference between the most expensive and least expensive ticket? Most = $210 Least = $20 Difference = 210 - 20 = $190
  2. Donna spent $140 on two tickets - which stage of the competition were they for? The semi-final (Category 4 tickets = $70 each)
  3. If you went to all four quarter-final games with a category 2 ticket, how much would you pay? $1,020 (255 x 4 = 1,020)
  4. A family of five have category 3 tickets to a group stage match. How much will they pay altogether? Group stage match = $105 x 5 = $525
  5. Two ticket outlets are offering deals on ticket bundles - Which is the better option and how much money will you save?

Messi Madness:

1 x group game = $210

1 x quarter-final = $365

1 semi-final = $750

final = $1,100

Total: $210 + $365 + $750 + $1,100 = $2,425
¼ of $2,425, 2,425 ÷ 4 = 606.25
$2,425 - 606.25.25 = $1,818.75

The Russian Ronaldo:

1 x group game (cat 2) = $165

1 x quarter-final (cat 2) = $255

1 semi-final (cat 2) = $480

Final (cat 1) = $1,100

Total: $165 + $255 + $480 + $1,100 = $2,000
20% of 2,000 = 2,000 ÷ 5 = 400
$2,000 - $400 = $1,600

$1,818.75 - $1,600 = $218.75

The better option is The Russian Ronaldo by $218.75

Hi, I'm Natalia. I'm one of the math teachers on the Komodo team, and I also play for my local amateur soccer team!

Komodo is a fun and effective way to boost K-5 math skills. Designed for 5 to 11-year-olds to use in the home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning math (15 minutes, three to five times per week) that fits into the busy family routine. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in math – without keeping them at the screen for long.

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