The direct comparison is a procedure with which the ranking of teams with equal points is determined. For a direct comparison, only those game results are evaluated which the teams in question have achieved in direct matches. Games with other teams in the same group or league do not count towards the direct comparison.
In football , the process is at present among others in the group stages at the competitions the UEFA ( European Football Championship , Champions League ) but also the Spanish La Liga , the first and second French Women's League and the Italian Serie A for use. In competitions that are directly under the control of FIFA , such as the World Cup , the direct comparison is only used if the goal difference and goals scored in the table of all group matches could not determine the rank (see e.g. Group E of the 1994 World Cup , in which all four teams scored four points). The same is done in the German Bundesliga .
Equal points between two teams
If there was only one match between the two teams, the one that won the direct match is considered better placed. In the event of a tie, the direct comparison does not provide a decision on the placement and another criterion must be used.
If two teams with a total of equal points have played two or more games against each other, the team that has scored more points in the direct encounters decides the direct comparison. In the event of a tie, the direct comparison does not provide a decision on the placement and another criterion must be used. In European football, goal difference and away goals are often used for this .
- Example ( European Football Championship 2008 / Group A )
|2.||Turkey||3||2||0||1||5: 5||± 0||6th|
|3.||Czech Republic||3||1||0||2||4: 6||−2||3|
|4th||Switzerland||3||1||0||2||3: 3||± 0||3|
|June 7, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in Basel|
|Switzerland||-||Czech Republic||0: 1 (0: 0)|
|June 7, 2008 at 8:45 p.m. in Geneva|
|Portugal||-||Turkey||2: 0 (0: 0)|
|June 11, 2008 at 6 p.m. in Geneva|
|Czech Republic||-||Portugal||1: 3 (1: 1)|
|June 11, 2008 at 8:45 p.m. in Basel|
|Switzerland||-||Turkey||1: 2 (1: 0)|
|June 15, 2008 at 8:45 p.m. in Basel|
|Switzerland||-||Portugal||2: 0 (0: 0)|
|June 15, 2008 at 8:45 p.m. in Geneva|
|Turkey||-||Czech Republic||3: 2 (0: 1)|
The ranking according to the rules for this tournament is: first points achieved, then points from the direct comparison, then goal difference from the direct comparison, then number of goals from the direct comparison, then away goals from the direct comparison, then more.
Portugal and Turkey each received three points for their two victories . Portugal are first because of their victory against Turkey. The same applies to the Czech Republic and Switzerland. If one were to let the goal difference decide instead of a direct comparison, then the Czech Republic and Switzerland would have been placed the other way round.
Equal points between more than two teams
If several teams are tied, a separate table is made in which only the direct encounters between the teams in question are taken into account. This does not lead to a resolution of the tie in all cases. If the direct comparison according to points does not create a clear sequence, further criteria must be used to determine the ranking of the teams.
- Example ( European Football Championship 2004 / Group C )
|1.||Sweden||2||0||2||0||3: 3||± 0||2|
|2.||Denmark||2||0||2||0||2: 2||± 0||2|
|3.||Italy||2||0||2||0||1: 1||± 0||2|
|June 14, 2004 in Guimarães|
|June 14, 2004 in Lisbon (Estádio José Alvalade XXI)|
|Sweden||-||Bulgaria||5: 0 (1: 0)|
|June 18, 2004 in Braga|
|Bulgaria||-||Denmark||0: 2 (0: 1)|
|June 18, 2004 in Porto (Estádio do Dragão)|
|Italy||-||Sweden||1: 1 (1: 0)|
|June 22, 2004 in Guimarães|
|Italy||-||Bulgaria||2: 1 (0: 1)|
|June 22, 2004 in Porto (Estádio do Bessa Século. XXI)|
|Denmark||-||Sweden||2: 2 (1: 0)|
Here Italy, Denmark and Sweden each played a draw and won against Bulgaria. The rankings resulted from the direct comparison in the table below on the right. Because of the equality of points and the same goal difference, the number of goals scored was the decisive criterion.
Note: In the example above, Sweden and Denmark knew before the last match day that they would definitely take the first two places with a 2-2 (or a higher draw such as 3: 3, 4: 4 etc.) and thus both would reach the quarter-finals. In this case Italy could win arbitrarily high against Bulgaria without reaching a quarter-final place. As a result of this knowledge and the fact that the 2-2 only fell in the 89th minute due to a goalkeeping mistake, the suspicion arose that Sweden and Denmark had intentionally achieved or even agreed to the result in order to advance both to the next round.
- UEFA Champions League regulations, menu item 6.05 for direct comparison (PDF; 874.13 kB)
- UEFA publication on rule change in direct comparison from May 2012