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World Cup 2018: 5 Major Takeaways from the Group Stage

Harsh Biyani
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
427   //    30 Jun 2018, 16:24 IST

Russia v Saudi Arabia: Group A - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
This World Cup has been full of surprises

The World Cup has already seen many long-standing records been broken, with many more to be broken as the tournament progresses.

Imagine this: if Spain doesn't make it past this stage, then one of England, Croatia, Russia, Denmark, Sweden or Colombia will be in the semi-finals after a long, long time. And at this point, nothing should surprise you.

The group stage has seen everything; hat-tricks, late drama, VAR has made headlines almost everytime, all 32 teams scoring at least twice for the first time in the history, a part-time director saving Messi's penalty... You name it.

Here are the 5 major takeaways from the World Cup after the conclusion of the group stage.


#5 Fair-play rule: A good way to decide tiebreakers?

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH48-SEN-COL
Japan qualified ahead of Senegal despite having identical numbers

Senegal became the first team to crash out of the World Cup on fair play rules. The African team would believe this is a harsh decision on them, but what can be done if the numbers are identical between two teams at the end of the group stage?

This rule has been there for some time now, but since it has hardly been used, teams don't pay attention to it until it's too late. Back in 1990, Netherlands and Ireland had identical numbers and their positions were decided by drawing lots.

If you look at this from a different perspective, it is a win-win situation. Teams should focus on accumulating fewer cards and, compared to separating teams by drawing lots, which is truly based on luck, teams have their own fate in their own hands in the group stage.

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Harsh Biyani
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