Posted by Jack @ 8:39 pm on June 24th 2010

World Cup Groups G and H Discussion

Remember how yesterday’s E & F post featured one group with clear cut paths to qualification, and the other was a muddled mass of possible outcomes with third and fourth order tie breaker criteria? More of that, but with added confusion today:

Group G: Ah “The Group of Death.” Or at least “The Group of Death for Non Portuguese Speaking Teams” especially if they are from a fascist slave state. Favored Brazil faces their mother country, Portugal in a battle for the top spot, while the loser will advance as well. The only possible disruption, and by possible I mean possible in the most remotely scenario one can imagine, to this near predetermined advancement scenario, would be if Ivory Coast can overcome a ridiculous nine goal differential against Portugal. In other words, Brazil would have to crush Portugal and Ivory Coast molest North Korea, with the combined goal differential having to exceed nine. It’s just not gonna happen.

Group H: A deceptively confusing group. On initial blush, Chile looks cleanly atop the group with six points, Honduras cleanly at the bottom with zero, so the only battle should be a Swiss-Spain (three points each) contest for the two spot, that since they are not playing each other, would at worst case devolve into tie breaker criteria between those two teams, right? No, it is far more complicated than that. A Chilean team in top form faces a pre-Cup, heavily favored but struggling Spanish side, while the Swiss battle the beleaguered Hondurans.

First, let us imagine that Chile defeats Spain, in which case Chile obviously wins top honors, but the second spot? Well, we could be facing our first three way tie for second position. In this Chilean victory scenario, a Swiss win or draw means they take second place. But a Honduran win leaves Honduras, Switzerland, and Spain all tied at three points. Goal differential criteria would come down to how badly did Spain and Switzerland lose. Spain enters with a plus one goal differential, the Swiss even, and Honduras at minus three. So if Honduras can crush Switzerland, combined with a decisive Chilean win, then it is still possible for them to take the second spot. Even with a loss, the Swiss could also take the second spot if they lose by say one goal and Spain gets thrashed. If we end up with a tie on total play tiebreaker criteria then, as I read the rules, we go to head to head play between the tied teams, which I take to mean you recalculate goal differentials based only on games played between Honduras, Switzerland, and Spain. Just weird.

Now let’s picture a Spain – Chile draw. In this case, Chile wins the group, and the second spot goes to Switzerland if they win, else Spain takes it (due to tie breaker criteria in the case of a Swiss draw).

If Spain gets their shit together and defeats Chile, then we could face a different three way tie at six points, if Switzerland were to also beat Honduras. Chile starts with an advantage in tie breaker criteria by entering the third round play with a two goal diff, Spain is plus one, and the Swiss even. If Spain wins and the Swiss – Honduras match draws or Honduras wins, then only Spain and Chile are tied, both clinch a knock off round spot, and tie breaker criteria will probably favor Spain because, by winning they have shifted the goal differential to at least even, goals for they would now lead, and head to head they obviously win.

I just reread that, and I´m still a little confused.


  1. I predict boredom.

    Brazil 2:0 Portugal
    Cote d’Ivoire 3:0 North Korea
    Spain 3:0 Chile
    Switzerland 0:0 Honduras

    Comment by Rojas — 6/25/2010 @ 2:02 am

  2. 4-0 Brazil
    6-0 Ivory Coast

    Keep hope alive, Africa!

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2010 @ 9:52 am

  3. Brazil 2:1 Portugal
    Ivory Coast 3:0 N Korea
    Spain 2:0 Chile
    Switzerland 1:1 Honduras

    Comment by Jack — 6/25/2010 @ 9:59 am

  4. Ivory Coast going for blood early. Five quick chances, one (rightly) disallowed goal, and now a genuine goal. Up 1.

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2010 @ 10:13 am

  5. 2-0 Ivory Coast. North Korea is essentially bunching up all their defenders right in the middle. Not even trying to threaten. And it has the ironic effect of leaving all the Ivory Coast midfielders sitting on the wings with plenty of space. And they know what they have to do – goal frenzy.

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2010 @ 10:21 am

  6. Rojas wins with his prediction of boredom. Although Ivory Coast looked like they might pace to Germany-Saudi Arabia levels for awhile there in the first.

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2010 @ 1:00 pm

  7. Switzerland are playing way too well for this game to be stuck at 0-0.

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2010 @ 3:54 pm

  8. I’ve finally figured out what the ambient noise of these games, with the vuvuzelas and drums and whatnot, reminds me of…the soundtrack to the movie Altered States.

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2010 @ 4:25 pm

  9. Are you ready for some sooocceeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr!?!!

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2010 @ 4:27 pm

  10. Oh yeah, Spain 2:1 Chile, Switzerland 0:0 Honduras; Spain and Chile advance.

    Comment by Brad — 6/25/2010 @ 4:29 pm

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