UPDATE: Bosnia and Herzegovina won their match 3-1, knocking Iran out in group play. Argentina and Nigeria advanced in Group E.
Although Bosnia and Herzegovina has already been eliminated, today’s match could have major implications for Iran, who has a very slim chance of advancing. First, Iran would have to beat Bosnia. Then, Argentina would have to beat Nigeria. Things get interesting if both of these scenarios play out – as sports statistics website FiveThirtyEight.com notes:
Say that Iran beats Bosnia 2-1 while Nigeria loses to Argentina by the same 2-1 scoreline. Both teams will have one win, one draw and one loss. Both will have two goals scored and two goals allowed. FIFA’s next tiebreaker is head-to-head results, but Nigeria and Iran drew their match. That means FIFA would be out of tiebreakers and forced to draw lots to determine who advances.
…[but] if Iran won 2-0 and Nigeria lost 1-0, Iran would have the better goal differential and would advance. If Iran won 1-0 and Nigeria lost 2-1, the teams would be tied on goal differential but Nigeria would advance on the basis of goals scored. The chance that FIFA will have to draw lots is only 0.6 percent, according to our match predictor.
Essentially, for Iran, this means one thing: win today, and win big.
See if they can pull off this improbable feat today at 12 PM ET (4 PM UTC).
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