The Playbook For The Modern Man

“Fair Play” Points Could See Australia Progress Over Denmark, Say World Cup Analysts

Fingers crossed.

The nation held its breath last night as Jedinak put us on equal pegging with the Danes. Later Daniel Arzani looked the most dangerous player in our team. But unfortunately we could not find that elusive second goal.

Aside from meaning we need to work on scoring from open play (not just rely on opposition errors during corners), last night’s draw has a number of interesting implications for Group C. Yes: we need a lot to go our way next week. But if we keep our yellow card count in check (and, y’know, win) we could well make it to round 16.


“Group C is tantalisingly poised. And it all comes down to the final round of fixtures, which sees Australia play Peru at the same time Denmark faces France — something for the chameleon-eyed football fans among you to enjoy,” (ABC).

As you can see, if we lose or draw against Peru, we’re out. If we win though, and Denmark lose to France, second place could come down to who has the least yellow cards. If France beat Denmark 2-1, and we beat Peru 1-0, our goal difference (and point tally) will then be the same.

This means that FIFA would have to go to the next bullet point in their criteria to decide who goes through: most goals scored. Which (in this case) would also be the same. The next relevant criteria? Fair play points: a metric by which we are currently ahead.

“Fair play points are measured as follows: -1 for each yellow card, -3 for each indirect red card (a player receiving two yellows), -4 for a straight red card, and -5 for the unlikely event of a player receiving one yellow, and then a straight red after,” (ABC).

Australia is currently sitting on -3 points (three yellows against France, none against Denmark) and Denmark is on -4 (two against Peru, and two against the Socceroos).

The Criteria

  1. Highest number of points
  2. Goal difference
  3. Most goals scored
  4. Points obtained in group games between the two teams
  5. Goal difference from games involving the two teams
  6. Number of goals scored in games involving the two teams
  7. Fair play points
  8. Drawing lots by FIFA

Even better: if France beat Denmark 1-0 and we beat Peru 1-0, we advance to round 13, in second place behind France, thanks to criteria 3, most goals scored (as we managed to get a goal against France, despite losing).

However, if Denmark go down against France in a high scoring affair, 4-3, say, our situation becomes a lot harder. In this case we would have to beat Peru by 2 goals or more (a tough ask of a team that is yet to score from open play).

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