What Spain and Portugal may need to do to decide which team finishes top of Group B

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Spain and Portugal are both expected to reach the 2018 World Cup knockout stages after recording victories over Iran and Morocco respectively on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo sealed all three points for Portugal by scoring the only goal of the game in the fourth minute of the match, while Spain won by the same scoreline against Morocco thanks to Diego Costa’s fortuitous second-half winner.

Wednesday’s results mean Spain and Portugal currently sit joint-top of Group B on four points apiece.

Both teams, of course, have exactly the same goal difference following their thrilling 3-3 draw last week.

But there’s still a chance that one of them might not qualify for the next round.

Iran can still advance to the knockout stages after defeating Morocco last week. If they beat Portugal on Monday and Spain lose by the same margin to Morocco - unlikely, but it could happen - then things start to get a little complicated.

Iran would qualify for the next round as Group B winners while Spain and Portugal could end up drawing lots - no, seriously - to decide who goes through.

Why this might be needed

But this will only happen, according to The Sun, if Spain pick up one more yellow card than Portugal in their final match against Morocco.

Spain have only picked up one booking so far this tournament while Portugal have two.

FIFA use their fair play conduct as the seventh factor to determine group rankings.

The eighth ranking system is drawing lots, little picking names out of a hat, which will be used if Spain and Portugal are equal in every area. How mad would that be?

Iran v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

It could also be used to decide which team finishes top

If both Spain and Portugal win their final games by the same scoreline and Fernando Santos’s side pick up one more yellow card, then lots would be drawn to decide which team finishes top of the group.

The winners of Group B will face the runners-up of Group A, which will either be Russia or Uruguay.


The runners-up of Group B, meanwhile, will face the team that finishes top of Group A.

Which two teams will qualify from Group B? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

Portugal Football
Spain Football
World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo

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