6.11.2008

Tiebreakers

So, in Group A of the Euro 2008 soccer tournament, Portugal currently sit in the catbird seat with 6 points. Czech Republic and Turkey are tied with 3 points, and Switzerland are in the basement with 0 points (2 losses).

The last round of games feature Portugal v. Switzerland and Czech Republic v. Turkey. Top two teams in the group advance to the playoffs.

There is no provision for extra time/penalty shootouts in group play, so if Czech Republic and Turkey play to a draw, they'll finish tied for 2nd place in the standings. Fortunately, UEFA/FIFA have a tiebreaker procedure in place. In order, the criteria are:


  • Heads-up record (or total points in games between the tied teams, if more than two teams are tied)
  • goal difference in matches between tied teams
  • goals scored in matches between tied teams
  • If two or more teams are still tied after the first three steps, repeat them using only matches between the teams still tied
  • goal difference in all group matches
  • goals scored in all group matches
  • fair play conduct score
  • coin flip


Well, Czech Republic and Turkey both have scored 2 goals and allowed 3. If they tie their last game, they'll be tied all the way down to the "fair play conduct" score. If by some act of God that score is tied, then they flip a coin.

UEFA and FIFA could probably learn a thing or two about organizing tournaments from the Ultimate Players' Association. I'm thinking 11-man ro-sham-bo between the teams on the pitch to settle the score.

EDIT: According to section 7.08 of the UEFA manual, if it's just a heads-up tie, penalty kicks are used. This is several orders of magnitude worse than a 11-man rosham.

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