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How Gold Cup group stage ties will be broken for knockout stage advancement

Here’s how CONCACAF plans to break ties during the group stage.

Daryl Dike #11 of United States and Samuel Camille #18 of Martinique fight for the ball during a Group B match as part of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup at Children’s Mercy Park on July 15, 2021 in Kansas City, Kansas. Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

The 2021 Gold Cup is in full swing in the United States with El Salvador, Canada, and the US all qualifying for the knockout stage. The competition has no impact on World Cup qualifying and we are seeing fewer US senior national team players, but it still provides some quality competition.

There are 16 teams participating in the tournament and they are broken up into four groups of four. The top two teams in each group advance to the knockout bracket, which opens with the quarterfinals on July 24.

Here’s how CONCACAF will break any ties in the initial stage to determine which teams advance to the next round.

The first tiebreaker is goal differential in the group stage and the next tiebreaker is goals scored in group play. If these two are equal, the head-to-head results of the teams in question is used to break the tie.

If more than two teams are tied in points, it goes to greater goal difference in matches between the tied teams, and then greater number of goals scored in matches among the tied teams.

If there is no decision after these steps, fair play points from all group matches are used. The lowest number of points based on the number of yellow and red cards in all group matches is considered according to the following additions: A yellow card is +1 point, an indirect red card (two yellows) is +3 points, a direct red card is +4 points and a yellow card followed by a direct red card is +5 points.

There is the remote possibility teams remain tied after all these calculations, in which case CONCACAF draws lots to determine who advances.