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(Asian Cup) Head-to-head record to serve as 1st tiebreaker in group stage

All News 09:43 January 04, 2019

ABU DHABI, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- To be played in an expanded format for the first time, this year's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup will use different tiebreaking rules from the FIFA World Cup.

The quadrennial continental tournament, which kicks off Saturday in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has grown from 16 teams to 24 teams. There are six groups of four nations, and the top two teams from each group will be joined by the four best third-place nations in the round of 16.

Whereas goal difference is the first tiebreaker at World Cups, head-to-head record among tied teams will be the first factor to determine the group stage rankings.

It will be followed by goal difference in head-to-head meetings between the tied teams, goals scored in those matches, and so forth.

Disciplinary points can also be used to break a tie, the edge going to the team with the lower tally. A yellow card equals one point, an ejection as a result of two yellow cards and a direct red card are both three points, and a yellow card followed by a direct red card gets a team four points.

If nothing else breaks a tie, then the tied nations will draw lots.

South Korea, seeking their first Asian Cup title since 1960, are in Group C with the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan and China. On paper, South Korea should have little trouble advancing to the round of 16 and may not even need a tiebreaker to earn the top seed.

At No. 53, South Korea hold the highest position in the FIFA rankings within their group. China are next at 76th, followed by Kyrgyzstan at 91st and the Philippines at 116th.

Other changes to the tournament include the use of the video assistant referee (VAR) system for the first time.

The AFC has announced the system will be implemented in the final seven matches of the tournament -- the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship final.

The AFC will have 19 match officials on hand to work the system at the tournament. Its use will be limited to four "game-changing decisions or incidents," according to the AFC: disputed goals, penalty kicks, red cards and mistaken identity decisions.


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