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24th Jun 2018

A flip of a coin could determine if England win their World Cup group

It's very plausible that this situation will arise

Reuben Pinder

This could very easily happen

England cruised to an emphatic victory over Panama this afternoon as they put six goals past the Central American side. Panama did get a consolation goal though, their first ever at a World Cup.

Belgium beat Tunisia with similar ease on Saturday, winning 5-2. These results confirm that Tunisia and Panama are both going home, with England and Belgium progressing into the second round.

England and Belgium have almost identical records: both teams now have six points, both teams have scored eight goals each and conceded two.

This means that should the final group game between the two sides end as a draw, none of the usual methods would be applicable for deciding who came out on top. It would then go down to each side’s disciplinary record, with the team that collected the fewest cards going through.

However, those records are almost identical too, with England currently on two yellows at the moment, while Belgium have picked up three.

Should the teams end up level on points, goal difference, goals scored and cards, FIFA will pick a name out of a hat to decide who is the official group winner.

Given that a second place finish could give England an easier run to the final, don’t be surprised to see Gareth Southgate’s boys leaving a few late tackles on Belgium’s players during Thursday evening’s match.

A similar situation could arise in Group B too, as Spain and Portugal have identical records at the time of writing as well.