[TELEVISION WATCH] If you think the Euro 2012 tiebreaker formula is confusing, you're not alone. ESPN's pundits didn't have much of a handle on it during
Germany's 2-1 win over the Netherlands.
With the Dutch looking headed toward a loss, ESPN’s men in the booth mentioned that they could still advance with a win in their last game and finishing atop a three-way tie with Denmark and Portugal -- yet they erred by saying -- “but if their goal difference takes a big mauling here as well, it will effectively end the argument.”
The only way the Dutch could go through while losing to Germany would be by winning the three-way tiebreaker with Denmark and Portugal -- in which the results with Germany are thrown out.
This misrepresentation was never corrected during the broadcast, at halftime or in the wrap-up show.
During their halftime interview with guest analyst Roberto Martinez -- coach of EPL club Wigan -- he says that goal differential is going to be vital, and they need to score goals -- meaning the Dutch.
This is again wrong, and he wasn't corrected during, or after the interview.
Studio host Bob Ley mentioned correctly during halftime that "no one can be eliminated" regardless of what happens, but he didn't clarify, nor did he mention that this game had no impact on goal differential as a tiebreaker.
Ian Darke made another error in the 88th minute: “Germany are very close to a place in the quarterfinals, and they’ll leave the others, if it stays like this, to scrap for that other place."
This is flat wrong. And leaves viewers walking away from the end of the game with the incorrect conclusion. Perhaps even setting off celebration by German fans. Losing to Denmark on Day 3 could easily eliminate Germany -- if Portugal beats the Netherlands.
Back in the studio, during the postgame show, Ley, at least, finally explained that Germany had not clinched passage into the second round.
(For more on Euro 2012's unique tiebreaking, read "Euro group tiebreakers differ from World Cup" HERE.)