Goal difference vs Head to head results ... best tie beaker?

Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by glennaldo_sf, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. glennaldo_sf

    glennaldo_sf Member+

    Deportivo Wanka, Semen Padang, Dinamo Bender, Fotballaget Fart
    United States
    Nov 25, 2004
    Doha, Qatar
    Club:
    FL Fart Vang Hedmark
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    FIFA is now using head to head results as the primary method of deciding tie breakers for teams tied on points during the current world cup qualifying campaign. I was just wondering what you guys think.... do you prefer head to head results as the primary method of deciding tie breakers or did you prefer the former goal differential?

    While I see the logic in head to head results, I kind of preferred goal differential because some groups get decided before the final match is played, where they would still be open using the old goal difference method.
     
  2. Hrvat

    Hrvat New Member

    Mar 27, 2005
    Zagreb, Croatia
    There's no perfect solution, but head to head is better.
     
  3. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    IOWA
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Agree beating someone head to head is better than beating other teams by additional goals.
     
  4. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    h-2-h is better because you remove (well, lessen) the effect of trying to demolish the worst team in your group by the most goals, winning the goal-diff tie-break in a way that really doesn't decide the better team.

    Nice to see Fifa use a method that most American-based leagues use!
     
  5. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC USOpenCup Champions
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    I think head to head is better in American sports where a group stage is not used, but as has been pointed out here already, it can decide a group before the final group match is played. Also, goal difference can sometimes force teams to attack in that last match, making it more exciting than it might be otherwise. My vote goes to going back to goal difference in 2010.
     
  6. Forza AZ

    Forza AZ New Member

    Jun 26, 2003
    Alkmaar
    For small groups with very weak teams in it head-to-head is the best, so you prevent small teams selling their games to big teams for instance.

    In a league with more teams, that are much more equal goal difference is better, so a large victory will be much more important than just a 1-0 win.

    So for World Cup qualifying I prefer head-to-head, but for the final tournament and for national leagues I prefer goal difference.
     
  7. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I would rather see goal difference used in tournament groups like the World Cup or European Championships, but am okay with head-to-head in larger group setups where there are some extremely crappy teams.
     
  8. SueB

    SueB New Member

    Mar 23, 1999
    Waterbury, VT
    I like head-to-head to break a 2-team tie. But to break a 3-team tie, I believe goal difference in all group matches should be used. This would avoid the situation where a certain result suits both teams in their final group match.
     
  9. glennaldo_sf

    glennaldo_sf Member+

    Deportivo Wanka, Semen Padang, Dinamo Bender, Fotballaget Fart
    United States
    Nov 25, 2004
    Doha, Qatar
    Club:
    FL Fart Vang Hedmark
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree... I like the head to head method when you're in a 6 team group that consists of two quality teams, two substandard teams, and then Luxemberg and San Marino... it makes sense to decide the group on who won between the results of the top two. I would however like to see away goals (in the matches between the two tied teams) scrapped in this sort of a setup.

    In a four team round robin at a major tournament where all four teams are decent then I would prefer goal difference and as someone already said... in case of a three team tie... this way the catastrophe of Euro 2004 when Italy were going to be eliminated no matter how they did won't occur.... in that case though the Italians would have still been eliminated on goal difference.
     
  10. SueB

    SueB New Member

    Mar 23, 1999
    Waterbury, VT
    Yes, the Italy case is what I was thinking about. They would've had to win their game by 3 goals, but at least it would've been in their control. In the end, they barely won anyway, but they surely would've approached the game differently if they'd known winning by 3 goals was the only way to guarantee advancing. It would've been quite a spectacle to see Italy pull out all the stops for once.
     
  11. ZeekLTK

    ZeekLTK Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Michigan
    Nat'l Team:
    Norway
    What was the tiebreaker that ensured that Italy would be out if it was 2-2 in the other match? And why 2-2? Why would they both go through if it was 2-2, but not 1-1 or 3-3?
     
  12. SueB

    SueB New Member

    Mar 23, 1999
    Waterbury, VT
    It was head-to-head among the 3 teams. Italy drew vs the other two in their first two matches (0-0 vs Denmark and 1-1 vs Sweden). So if the other two drew their final match as well, it would be a 3-way tie. No goal difference, obviously, so it went to goals scored. Italy had just one goal, so 0-0 between Denmark and Sweden would've seen Sweden and Italy go through (assuming they beat Bulgaria). 1-1 would've seen Sweden go through, and it would've gone to overall goal difference to determine Italy vs Denmark, so Italy would've had to win by 2 over Bulgaria because Denmark beat Bulgaria 2-0 (Italy had the edge in the next tiebreaker, based on qualifying results). But with 2-2 (or higher), there was nothing Italy could do.
     
  13. Forza AZ

    Forza AZ New Member

    Jun 26, 2003
    Alkmaar
    In the WC qualifying away goals aren't used to determine who is better in head-to-head. So if team A beats team B 2-1 at home and team A loses 1-0 away team B won't be the winner, but it will be decided by overall goal difference.
     
  14. Sagy

    Sagy New Member

    Aug 6, 2004
    To clarify, Away goals are not used as a tie breaker in the group stage.

    Away goals are used as a tie-breaker when it is a head to head round (CONCACAF and AFC early rounds, UEFA & 1/2 spot playoffs).

    To answer the original question. I like head to head as a tie breaker when two teams are tied on points. In case of three or more teams being tied on points, goal difference is a better tie breaker.
     
  15. ZeekLTK

    ZeekLTK Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Michigan
    Nat'l Team:
    Norway
    Oh ok, I guess I was confused when I watched that game because the commentator said "2-2 was the one scoreline that would ensure both teams through to the quarterfinals" and I thought he meant ONLY 2-2 would get them there, not 2-2 or higher. So I was looking at the standings and couldn't figure out how 2-2 was the only possible way they could both advance.
     
  16. Jay510

    Jay510 Member

    Apr 21, 2002
    Gadsden Purchase, AZ
    Club:
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    is goal difference the first tiebreaker to break a 3-way tie?
     
  17. SueB

    SueB New Member

    Mar 23, 1999
    Waterbury, VT
    In most major tournaments these days, 3-way ties are broken by head-to-head results ie making a table with just the results among the 3 teams involved.
     
  18. Gary V

    Gary V Member+

    Feb 4, 2003
    SE Mich.
    I haven't figured out all the permutations, but in small groups (especially groups of only 4 teams), when there is a 3-way tie, the tie remains even when you consider only the results of those 3 teams.

    For instance, A, B and C all have the same record:
    A beat B
    B beat C
    C beat A
    They all beat D.
    Head-to-head results, no different. That doesn't change if they all drew with D.

    You start throwing in some draws between A, B and C, and it gets more complicated. But I couldn't come up with a scenario in which head-to-head results eliminated a 3-way tie.

    I seem to recall an official set of rules within the last year or two (must have been on a FIFA or USSF website) that stated head-to-head would apply only if it was a 2-way tie.
     
  19. Forza AZ

    Forza AZ New Member

    Jun 26, 2003
    Alkmaar
    When 3 teams are tied and also are tied on points head-to-head, then the head-to-head goal difference counts (so in the above only for the 2 matches and not from the match versus team D). When that head-to-head goaldifference is also tied then the scored goals from the 2 matches count. Only if that is also tied, then the overal goaldifference (including the match versus team D) count, following by the number of goals scored in all matches.

    So an example:

    For instance, A, B and C all have the same record:
    A beat B with 1-0
    B beat C with 1-0
    C beat A with 2-0
    They all beat D. A with 5-0, B with 3-0 and C with 1-0

    A, B and C al have 6 points, in head-to-head they al have 3 points. C will finish 1st while they have a +1 goal difference in head-to-head, B is 2nd (GD = 0) and A is 3rd (GD = -1).
    So the team with the overal best GD (A +4; B +3; C +2) will still be only 3rd while they have a worse head-to-head GD.

    Another example:

    So an example:

    For instance, A, B and C all have the same record:
    A draws B with 0-0
    B draws C with 2-2
    C draws A with 1-1
    They all beat D. A with 5-0, B with 3-0 and C with 1-0

    A again will be 3rd, allthough they do have the best overal GD. Head-to-head points and GD is the same, so head-to-head goals scored will count: C 3, B 2 and A 1.
     
  20. Forza AZ

    Forza AZ New Member

    Jun 26, 2003
    Alkmaar
    No it isn't. This are the tiebreaker in WC-qualifying (both for 2-way and more-way ties):

    -points in all matches
    -points in head-to-head
    -goaldifference in head-to-head
    -goals scored in head-to-head (in a 2-way tie this will always be equal if the above are equal)
    -goal difference in all matches
    -goals scored in all matches

    When all are tied there will be a play-off match. In the final tournament there will be a draw (or maybe it's decided by Fair Play?).
     
  21. SueB

    SueB New Member

    Mar 23, 1999
    Waterbury, VT
    In Euro2004, the next tiebreaker was based on results during qualifying.
     
  22. Forza AZ

    Forza AZ New Member

    Jun 26, 2003
    Alkmaar
    In the World Cup that isn't possible, because of the very different qualifying campaigns in the different continents.
     
  23. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't think there's any way to avoid that. As an example, in the U.S.'s group in the World Cup, after they lost to Poland a draw between South Korea and Portugal would've been palatable to both teams because it would've won the group for Korea and given Portugal the same record as the U.S. (1-1-1), but a better goal differential (+1 to -1). With a head-to-head tiebreaker, Portugal would've been forced to go for the win from the get-go, knowing it was their only chance at advancing regardless of the result of the U.S. / Poland match. However, with Poland jumping on the U.S. early, 2-0, and then 3-0 shortly thereafter, Portugal knew almost from the start that all they needed from their game was a draw to advance.

    ~Justin
     
  24. SueB

    SueB New Member

    Mar 23, 1999
    Waterbury, VT
    But this was not known before the final games started, as was the case in Euro2004. It's a big difference - the US was still in control of its own destiny; by beating Poland, they would be guaranteed of advancing. It was only because the US fell behind early that there was a result which suited the other two teams.
     
  25. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You're right, and I honestly don't know enough detail from the Euro2004 tournament to know one way or the other. Still, I can't imagine there is a be-all end-all solution to the problem . . . though your hybrid idea of using one or the other depending on the situation may be the best compromise we can get!

    ~Justin
     

Share This Page