Group B has been a dogfight so far with 2 draws, a 2 goal victory and a 1 goal victory. Here’s the current standings:
The final match day will see Spain vs Tunisia in the first match and then Brazil vs Poland in the final match of the group. Here are the 9 scenarios based on the possible results from those two matches:
The chart depicts the final standings for the groups based on the amount of points each team will have accumulated with 2 points for each win, 1 point for each draw and 0 points for a loss. Green indicates a team will finish in the top 3, red indicates the team will finish 4th and yellow indicates where teams are tied in the standings and additional tie breakers will need to be determined.
Here’s a further review of the tiebreakers for where teams will be level on points.
Spain-Tunisia Draw and Brazil Loses to Poland
If this scenario occurs Tunisia and Brazil will both have 2 points in the standings. Since they played earlier to a 32-32 draw the next tiebreaker will be Goal Differential in all matches played. Since under this scenario, Tunisia will have draw in their final match their Goal Differential will be locked in at -2 goals. Brazil goes into its final match vs Spain with a O Goal Differential so if they lose by 1 goal to Spain they will finish 3rd in the Group. If they lose by 3 they will have a -3 Goal Differential and will finish 4th. If Brazil lose by 2 goals both Tunisia and Brazil will have a -2 Goal Differential and the next tiebreaker will be the total goals scored for the tournament.
Tunisia beats Spain and Brazil-Poland Draw
In this somewhat remarkable scenario all four teams would be level on 3 points/each. The next tiebreaker would be goal differential in all matches played in the Group. Because in this scenario Brazil and Poland would have played to a draw, Poland’s GD would be locked in at +1 and Brazil’s GD would be locked in at 0. And, with the other result being a Tunisia victory over Spain the way the numbers work only Tunisia or Spain can have the worst GD in this 4 way tie. See below:
Should Tunisia pull off the upset over Spain, Poland and Brazil will each be in a precarious situation when they play each other. Whoever wins the final match will win the Group, but the loser will get sent to the President’s Cup. However… should Poland and Brazil just happen to play to a draw they will both go through. And, for Poland, playing for a draw might actually help them in the Main Round standings as they could take 3 points forward instead of 2 points.
Of course, handball isn’t soccer. Playing for a draw isn’t so easy in a high scoring game. That being said should Tunisia upset Spain in the first match don’t be surprised if by chance the game is tied in the closing seconds that scoring that game winning goal doesn’t seem as important as it normally is.
And, if you really want to consider a nefarious scenario. What if Poland is up by 1 with 30 seconds left and Brazil scores a very easy goal in the closing seconds to tie the match…