World Cup Group Play Tie-Breaking Rules
Update for 2010!
With more than a few groups likely to be decided during the final group play matches, it is worth taking a look at the tie-breaking rules that could decide which teams advance to the round of 16 and which teams get an early flight home from South Africa. From the FIFA rules here, Article 39-5 of the FIFA rule book:
The ranking of each team in each group will be determined as follows:
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 will 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.
This all seems well and good, but personally I’d like to see more weight given to head-to-head results. If two teams finish with the same number of points but one team has beaten the other, I think the winning team deserves to go through. It should be as simple as that.
While I don’t expect it to happen this year, the final tie breaker involving the drawing of lots sure would be dramatic. I only hope that Heidi Klum (or should that be R Kelly for 2010?) is standing by to be the official lottery ball selector.
What do you think? Is this a fair system for breaking first round ties?
Now that you know the rules, check out some of our excellent World Cup articles: