World Cup Group Stage Tiebreak Procedure

After the US’s draw with Portugal last night in the 2nd game of the 2014 World Cup Group Stage, I thought it worthwhile to remind people of the tiebreakers that could be in play.  Head to head results are a secondary tiebreaker (item d below).  The procedure is as follows (from FIFA’s official procedures for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil – page 52)

The ranking of each team in each group shall be determined as follows (KD note: top 2 teams advance):

 

a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
b) goal difference in all group matches;
c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.

 

If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings shall be determined as follows:

 

d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
g) drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.
Currently the US and Germany each have 4 points (3 points for a win, 1 for a tie), while Ghana and Portugal each have 1 point.  Portugal has a goal differential problem, after losing 4-0 to Germany in the opening game.

 

The U.S. can advance in any of the following ways:

 

1) if they beat Germany
2) if they draw with Germany
3) if Portugal and Ghana play to a draw
4) If the U.S. loses to Germany, but still maintains a better goal differential than the winner of the Ghana/Portugal game

 

U.S. is currently +1 in goal differential, Ghana is -1, and Portugal is -4.

 

U.S. fans will want Portugal to win a close game vs Ghana.  Then the U.S. simply has to avoid getting blown out by Germany in order to advance to the elimination stages of the 2014 World Cup.

 

-KD

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