Here's What Needs To Happen For The Socceroos To Go Through
We got out our calculators and did the math for you.
Tonight's the night.
At midnight, the Socceroos will take on Peru and put us all out of our misery as to whether they advance to the final 16 teams in The World Cup.
They are a chance. A slim chance.
France has qualified with two wins under their belt and Peru is out of the equation after two losses. That leaves Denmark and Australia to battle it out for the remaining qualification spot.
Groups play their final matches simultaneously, so Australia will play their match against Peru without knowing how Denmark is faring against France.
Where Does Australia Currently Sit?
As it stands in Group C, Denmark is second on the table with 4 points, and Australia behind them in third on 1 point. Denmark's goal difference currently sits at 1 and Australia is -1.
The basic equation for guaranteed qualification is for France to beat Denmark and Australia to have a clean-sheet win over Peru.
Should France beat Denmark 1-0, and Australia beat Peru 1-0, both Australia and Denmark will end up on a 0 goal difference, and Australia will advance on goals scored (3 to Denmark's 2).
If Denmark does get on the board, Australia MUST score one more goal than Denmark to keep their goal difference level or above the Danes. For example, Australia winning 1-0 if Denmark loses 2-1 may not be enough to get them over the line.
Still with us?
Let's Get Complicated
Should France beat Denmark 2-1 and Australia beat Peru 1-0, things will become a little bit more complicated. Australia and Denmark would end the group stages tied on 4 points -- with the same number of goals for (3), goals against (3) and goal difference (0).
In normal circumstances, the team to progress would be whichever won the group stage match between the two tied sides.
BUT, Australia and Denmark tied their group stage match at 1-1, and that brings in a whole new way of deciding who progresses.
Meet Fair Play Rules
The Fair Play Rules don't look at goals, but at the conduct of the teams on the field.
Points are deducted through the collection of red and yellow cards:
- yellow card = - 1
- indirect red (as a result of two yellow cards) = -3
- direct red card = -4
- yellow card and direct red = -5
A player can only receive one deduction of points per game.
So how has the Socceroos' conduct been?
Australia has collected three yellow cards so far, meaning they sit with -3 in deducted points.
Denmark has been a little bit more ruthless on the field; they've received four yellows so they have -4 in deducted points.
In this final game tonight, Australia needs to keep the cards to a minimum to keep this slight advantage should the unlikely scenario of a fair play tie break be needed.
But Wait, There's More
Should Australia and Denmark end up on the same number of points, goal difference, goals scored AND Fair Play points, there is one final way to decide who progresses to the Round of 16.
The teams go into a draw and one is randomly selected. If, after all the complicated math fails, a name is simply picked at random.
That's it. We're done. Enjoy the match.