16

Consider a football (soccer) tournament has a group stage, where for example teams are divided into groups of four and the first and second teams will qualify to the next round. If all games end with 0-0 score, every metric for all four teams will be the same. Which teams will qualify now? Is there a rule set by FIFA in this case?

  • What happens if all the three teams playing in a tournament have the equal points and goals and everything? – user3678 May 14 '14 at 19:40
  • Iam confused for group D of the African Cup of Nations since all of them have the same points and same goal differences. What next? – user8915 Jan 26 '15 at 8:54
  • I know this is a old thread but surely all these scenarios could be avoided by simply having a low pressure penalty shoot out in any drawn game in the group stages creating a winning draw that would only count if everything is level and the end of the group stage. It would be good entertainment for the crowd, good practice for the players and no injuries should occur for the players. – user11553 Jun 19 '16 at 1:35
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    I personally think rule G is a shocker as football shouldn't be decided by a lottery. At least with a penalty shootout it's decided on the pitch fairly. – user11553 Jun 19 '16 at 1:51
  • Can you please provide any sources? – Ale Jun 27 '16 at 5:47
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As you say “a tournament”, be aware that different competitions use different rules for tie breaking. When you mention FIFA, the tournaments organized directly by FIFA use the rules described by Dor Cohen; e.g. the official FIFA World Cup 2014 Regulations state in rule 49, paragraph 5:

The ranking of each team in each group shall 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 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.

However, UEFA (the European football association) uses a different system in its competitions, where results from the matches between the teams concerned are given more importance than the results from the rest of the group matches (plus, there are more auxiliary criteria when everything else fails). See e.g. the official Regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship 2012 which state in the rule 8.07:

If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied, in the order given; to determine the rankings:

  • a) higher number of points obtained in the matches among the teams in question;
  • b) superior goal difference in the matches among the teams in question (if more than two teams finish equal on points);
  • c) higher number of goals scored in the matches among the teams in question (if more than two teams finish equal on points);
  • d) superior goal difference in all the group matches;
  • e) higher number of goals scored in all the group matches;
  • f) position in the UEFA national team coefficient ranking system (see Annex I, paragraph 1.2.2);
  • g) fair play conduct of the teams (final tournament);
  • h) drawing of lots.

And, there is an additional interesting rule 8.08 (which is a recent addition):

If two teams which have the same number of points, the same number of goals scored and conceded play their last group match against each other and are still equal at the end of that match, the ranking of the two teams in question is determined by kicks from the penalty mark (Article 16), provided no other teams within the group have the same number of points on completion of all group matches. Should more than two teams have the same number of points, the criteria listed under paragraph 8.07 apply.

  • Interesting, I was curious about a case where all teams are equal. So it would be simply drawing lots in FIFA World Cup or deciding on ranks and fair play and then drawing lots in UEFA. Have you seen a case that these parts of rules used in action? – saeedn Jun 11 '12 at 7:22
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    I don’t think it has ever come up on UEFA-organized tournaments. However, in Group F of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, Ireland and the Netherlands were “completely” tied, and their positions had to be decided by drawing of lots (won by Ireland). (Might be interesting also to point out to 1907–08 Football League, which had tied 14th place, with two teams finishing with identical records.) – Mormegil Jun 11 '12 at 10:33
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The answer is drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee.

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.

You can see an example (Given by @mormegil), in Group F of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, Ireland and the Netherlands were “completely” tied, and their positions had to be decided by drawing of lots (won by Ireland). - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_FIFA_World_Cup#Group_F

  • This is a good answer, but I don't see a way to d) e) and f) work.. In fact unless there was a rule change somewhere that I didn't realize, from c you just jump to g... I think d e and f are using on other sports. – gbianchi Jun 9 '12 at 22:31
  • @gbianchi Example. Suppose teams A,B,C,D. D looses all, A beats B (2-0), B beats C (3-1) and C beats A (4-2). D looses from all. A 1-3, B 2-4, C 0-2. Then they all end with 6 points and 7-5 in goals. You end up with a case f where C wins. It is unlikely to happen however – Bernhard Jun 9 '12 at 22:53
  • @Bernhard I understand the system, but I think that is not used on football... – gbianchi Jun 10 '12 at 4:40
0

In line with the above case,the two teams had the same point, goal for,goal against,then each competition has rules which have to be determine by competition organizers and should be spelt out clearly before the commencement of the competition so that all teams will be aware of it.

protected by Community Jun 27 '16 at 7:18

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