FIFA will be keeping a close eye on the final games of the group stages, as they may well be more vulnerable to match-fixing than other games at the World Cup.
Certain games in the final group-stage round are particularly attractive to those hoping to fix a match, primarily because there is little at stake. For instance, England face Costa Rica in their final game, with Costa Rica already having qualified (although needing to ensure top spot in Group D) and England already planning a trip back home.
These matches could fall prey to those hoping to “spot-fix”, in which a player is compensated for under-performing. An individual could do something as minor as time the first throw-in of the game, causing the bookies to have to pay out to those betting on that particular aspect of the match.
A 13-man technical study group will be keeping an eye on next week’s matches, making notes of any suspicious activity they observe. FIFA’s head of security, Ralf Mutschke, further described the organization’s approach:
We also look at a level of higher vulnerability in the closing matches at the end of each group when some teams already know what will happen. The members of the technical study group are additional eyes and ears so we involve them in the discussions about whether match manipulation took place or not.