For those of you wondering who will advance in the World Cup, look no further. The good folks over at ESPN have posted all of the convoluted scenarios in one easy space. As it stand, only Cameroon and North Korea have been definitively eliminated. Some teams, like Ivory Coast are all but eliminated. I just don’t see how they would be able to make up a goal difference of 9 goals (Portugal stands at +7, Ivory Coast at -2). This would take an immense win by Ivory Coast and a huge loss by Portugal. Both are possible, but to make up 9 goals seems unlikely to happen.
The most disconcerting bit of news is this: If the U.S. draws with Algeria and England draws with Slovenia, and England scores exactly two more goals than the U.S., the U.S. and England would be even on all tiebreakers for second place. The tie would be broken by drawing lots … aka, a coin flip. Really!? FIFA is going to decide who advances with a coin flip? There isn’t some other tie-breaker they could use? Couldn’t they use the extra tiebreakers that the Asian Champions’ League uses (fair play points (score based on number of cards earned, lower is better or PKs if the two teams that would be tied are playing against each other.) ? Don’t those two choices make slightly more sense, as they are actually based on the games that were played? Are you kidding me? (For confirmation of this seemingly idiotic method of determining who advances see page 20.)
For further explanation of how various leagues/organizations break ties see this post by The Offside.