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21st Jun 2018

Spain and Portugal could have to flip a coin to decide who finishes top of their group

This would be a cruel way to decide the winner

Wayne Farry

This would be a very interesting way to decide group winners

Spain and Portugal may have to flip a coin to decide who comes out as winners of their group in the event that their goal and disciplinary record are exactly the same.

The two Iberian rivals drew their World Cup opener 3-3 after a late and spectacular Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick levelled the score for Portugal.

Both sides then went on to win their second games, Portugal against Morocco and Spain against Iran, by a score of one goal to nil, meaning that both their points and goal totals are identical going into their final group games.

These results now present the very real possibility that the two nations could finish level at the top of their group in every conceivable variable, at which point FIFA will be forced to draw lots to determine who comes out as winners.

For that to happen, Spain and Portugal will have to win by the same scoreline in their final games with Portugal picking up one more yellow card than Fernando Hierro’s side.

Such an event has never happened previously at the World Cup, and it would likely present something of a headache to Gianni Infantino and friends.

The winner of the group will face off against the runner-up of Group A, which will be either Russia or Egypt, while the runner-up will face the winner of Group A.