World Cup tiebreakers: Iran need a win and anything can happen in Group E

Christopher Lee

The advancement scenarios are rather complex for Groups E and F, with six of the eight teams in action still to have their fates sealed.

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

Groups E and F reach a climax on Wednesday, with six of the eight teams in action yet to have their fates sealed. Here are the scenarios that could play out:

Group E

France haven't yet mathematically guaranteed progression into the knockout stages, though they're three points clear of everyone else and with a much stronger goal differential. It'd take an incredible turn of events for them to be eliminated. Les Bleus would have to be beaten by Ecuador and Switzerland emerge victorious against Honduras, both by big enough margins to overhaul the goal differential deficit.

Currently, Ecuador are in the second-placed spot, albeit by goal difference alone. Switzerland just need to better Ecuador's result to leapfrog them in the table and go through. Ecuador, meanwhile, would go through if they better Switzerland's result, or both games end in draws. If both teams win, it'd come down to the tiebreaking scenarios.

There's even still a chance bottom side Honduras could advance, though they'd have to beat Switzerland by a couple of goals, and hope France put a few past Ecuador. It's certainly not impossible, but looks highly unlikely.

Group F

Argentina have already booked their place in the knockout stages, and they only need a draw against Nigeria to advance as group winners. If they lose to Nigeria, they will progress as the second-placed team.

Nigeria will progress even if they're beaten by Argentina, unless Iran beats Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both sides would then be tied on four points, and could feasibly be tied on goal differential, goals scored and head-to-head record too. There's a real  chance it could well come down to drawing lots.

With Bosnia having lost both of their group games so far, they're out no matter what happens today.


Just as a reminder, here are the tiebreakers used if two or more teams end up level on points. They start with the first scenario, and go down the list until one of the rules breaks the tie.

  • Greatest number of points obtained in all the group matches.
  • Goal difference in the group matches.
  • Greatest number of goals scored in the group matches.
  • Head to head result.

Almost every time, ties will be broken by one of those four rules. However, should the teams remained tied, FIFA has more tiebreakers.

  • Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned.
  • Greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned.
  • Drawing of lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee.

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