How fairplay can determine who is top of their group is

With no accidents to qualify both Spain and Portugal are next Monday for the eighth finals of the world cup. Currently, both countries have the same number of points in Group B, just as often scored and have exactly the same goal difference. And yet, Spain for Portugal in the stand. How can that be?

Spain is currently the leader in Group B because it has less yellow cards than Portugal. © AFP

However, it is rare, but at this moment act but fewer than seven criteria in effect to become Spain group leader to call. After two matches to have finished both countries the same number of points, namely four (criterion 1). The goal difference is equal: +1 (criterion 2). Portugal and Spain were also each equally often in the group stage: four times (criterion 3).

From criterion 4 looks at the mutual duel. That turned up on match day 1 thanks to a masterful vrijschop of Cristiano Ronaldo in extremis on a 3-3 tie. Both nations were, therefore, each the same amount of points in their opening match on: one (criterion 4). Given it is only one match went, is also the doelpuntensaldo equal: zero (criterion 5). And subsequently scored both equally often: three times (criterion 6).

Yellow cards

That brings us to the defining criterion: the number of yellow cards that the two countries in the entire group stage got. In the mutual duel were both Bruno Fernandes , on behalf of Portugal and Sergio Busquets , on behalf of Spain – a yellow cardboard under the nose. In the second team contest of the Portuguese against Morocco picked up Adrien Silva yellow. Spain got in the duel with Iran ” cards. And so enter Spain thanks to fairplay, the position in Group B.

As the difference is only one yellow card is concerned, it is not unthinkable that also that after the third team contest is in balance. Set: both Spain and Portugal to win on the slotspeeldag with 1-0, respectively, Morocco and Iran. Spain captures one yellow card, Portugal. From then on, act criterion 8, 9 and 10 in operation.


For criterion 8, consideration will be given to the number of indirect red card, that are therefore obtained after a second yellow. In criterion 9, it depends on the number of directly obtained red cards. Criterion 10 makes it even more complex because then, we looked at the number of players that a yellow and a direct red card received in a match.

In our simulation there is no need with any of these three criteria to be taken into account. That brings us to criterion 11, that the world CHAMPIONSHIPS in Russia in december of last year actually began: a draw. That is figuratively in the hands of the Organizing Committee of the FIFA. Literally is the draw in the hands of president Gianni Infantino.

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