• World Cup

Nigeria and Iran could be forced to draw lots

ESPN staff
June 22, 2014
The ESPN FC panel break down how Group F could shape up

Nigeria and Iran could see their World Cup fate decided by the drawing of lots.

Argentina play Nigeria and Iran face Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group F's final matches on Wednesday, and if Iran and Argentina were both to win their games 1-0 then the FIFA Organising Committee would need to draw lots to determine whether the Super Eagles or Team Melli would advance.

Iran and Nigeria drew 0-0 in their opening match, with Iran then losing 1-0 to Argentina and Nigeria beating Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0 in their second games.

FIFA rules determine that teams should be separated first by points, then goal difference, then goals scored and then their head-to-head record. However, lots are used as a last recourse if they cannot otherwise be set apart.

World Cup tiebreaker:

a) Greatest number of points obtained in all group matches; b) Goal difference in all group matches; c) Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches; d) Greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned; e) Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned; f) Greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned; g) Drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee

At the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Ireland and Netherlands were forced to draw lots after finishing level behind England in Group F. Both teams advanced under the rules of that year's competition but the lots were used to determine which team would advance in second place and which in third to decide their opponents in the knockout stage.

In 1954, Spain missed out on a place in the World Cup as a result of the drawing of lots. Having been drawn in a qualification group consisting of only themselves and Turkey, they won the home match 4-1 before losing 1-0 in Istanbul but were forced to contest a play-off in Rome as goal difference was not taken into account.

After a 2-2 draw in Rome, an Italian boy drew lots and Turkey travelled to Switzerland for the finals.

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