[EURO 2012 WATCH] The tiebreakers used to separate teams at the World Cup and the European Championships are nearly identical. It is the order they are applied that differs, and this difference is significant.
Goal differential during all group games is the first tiebreaker for teams level on points at the World Cup, followed by total goals scored. If teams still can’t be separated, goal differential in games between those remaining is used. If only two teams remain, their head-to-head match is used, assuming there was a winner.
If countries finish tied after group play at Euro 2012, head-to-head results carry much more weight.
In fact, the first tiebreaker used is head-to-head results when two teams are tied on points. When more than two teams finish level, points earned in games between those involved determines order of finish. If they're still tied, goal differential during those games is used to separate them, then goals scored.
There are further tiebreakers, and it can get confusing. (Below are links to both methods in their entirety.)
As Euro 2012 group play moves forward we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of each system, explore how this method might affect teams chances to go through, or even their approach to upcoming matches.
Does it reduce the incentive to chase goals? Does this lead to more final group matches without relevance? And, is the Netherlands in a much bigger hole than we thought?
* Euro 2012 tiebreakers
* World Cup tiebreakers