Jun 142008

You may have heard about the new scenario UEFA have created when teams who are level on points cannot be split them on goal difference or goals scored. In Group A, this is taking shape with Czech Rep and Turkey both sitting with three points, two goals and three against. If they draw their last match, qualification will be decided on a penalty shoot out.

The full rules can be found here, and explain that under normal circumstances, positions are sorted by points, then goal difference, goals scored, and then a coefficient that will always separate them. However, there is a new clause which creates the penalty shoot out possibility:

“If two teams meeting in one of the last group matches have the same number of points, the same goal difference and the same number of goals, and if this match stands at a draw at the end of normal time, then the ranking of these two teams will be determined by kicks from the penalty spot, provided no other teams within the group have the same number of points on completion of all group matches.”

This situation is also appearing in Group C, thanks to Holland’s fourth goal against France, which left the French with one point, one goal, and four against, just like Italy, who drew with Romania earlier in the day. With them meeting on the final day, a draw would again invoke this clause and produce a shoot out (unless Romania lose and have the same number of points as them).

So, if Romania avoid defeat, and Italy and France draw, Romania will qualify, with Italy and France dead level in third. How do third and fourth get decided? Technically, they will have to play out a shoot out despite the knowledge that they are both already out. That would certainly be a first.

And they would have to do it, for betting purposes alone. For example, I genuinely have a bet on France finishing third in their group. If both games end in a draw, do France come third? Or fourth? Do I win my bet? And who, out of Italy and France, currently sits third? Who sits bottom?

Answers on a postcard…

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