The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Friday in Egypt and this is how the competition works:
— 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:
1. Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams
2. Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams
3. 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
1. Goal difference in all group matches
2. Goals scored in all group matches
3. 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