Tuesday, 26 June 2018

World Cup Group Winners

A very confusing tweet from Pinnacle this morning:

I checked my records, and in fact all 40 group winners since 1998 progressed, or will progress, to the Round of 16.

Not only that, but all 40 group runners-up also progressed, or will progress, to the Round of 16.

It's how the competition works. 

Not mentioned, but also a fact, is that the last World Cup winners who failed to win their group, and in fact didn't win a group match, was Italy back in 1982.

Somewhat related is the question of whether knowing which teams are already through to the Round of 16, and which side of the bracket those teams are, will influence England and Belgium's approach to the game. Going last and knowing where the sides sit is an advantage. What should be a good game may well become a farce with squad members playing to get cards! 

Perhaps the Winner A v Runner-up B format should be changed so that best group record plays worst group record. So in 2014, Netherlands would have played Greece, while in the bottom half of the bracket, Colombia would have played Nigeria. And Argentina and Germany would not have met in the final. It would encourage teams to take all three games seriously.

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