In case of equality of points between two or more teams, after all the group matches, the ranking of the teams shall be established according to the following criteria:
14.1. – Greater number of points obtained in the matches between the concerned teams:
Points earned is the first and most important criteria to be considered and, in the case, both teams earned three points each from the two games played. Congo took all three points in Calabar and the Eagles bounced back to take all three points in Point Noire. Therefore, because they are tied on three points apiece, then we’ll have to go to the next criterion.
14.2. – Best goal difference in the matches between the concerned teams:
Nigeria lost 2-3 at home in the first leg but won 2-0 away in Point Noire which means that the Super Eagles now hold a +1 goal advantage over their opponents. With this, all Nigeria needs to do is to match whatever result the Congo can get against Sudan when we play South Africa on Wednesday.
14.3. – Greater number of goals scored in the matches between the concerned teams:
Aaron Samuel’s last minute goal ENSURED that we now have a better goal advantage against Congo. We lost 2-3 at home and won 2-0 away for a 4-3 goals aggregate so we scored more goals (4) than Congo (3).
14.4. – Greater number of away goals scored in the direct matches between the concerned teams:
If the game had ended 1-0, we would be on 3-3 goals aggregate BUT the Congolese would have been ahead of us due to the away goals rule because they scored more away goals (3) to our (2).
14.5. – Goal difference in all the group matches:
But for Aaron Samuel’s goal, we would have been forced to adopt this criterion which looks at who has the better goals difference in all the group matches (not necessarily the games between the two teams) and though we would have had a +1 and Congo 0 GD, it would have been rendered meaningless because Article 14:4 would have taken effect and rendered this one meaningless.
14.6. – Greatest number of goals scored in all the group matches:
As it were, we also lead on this score with six goals (minus Samuel’s goal) to Congo’s five but like I said, this wouldn’t have mattered because of Article 14:4 as above.
14.7. – A drawing of lots by the Organising Committee of CAF
If, on match day 6 we are still tied with Congo, CAF would have been forced to separate us by using the last criterion which is the drawing of lots to determine who goes through between
the two teams. Then, it would have come down to pure luck and not who has the best collection of players or who are the defending champions. That means that the destiny of a whole country of almost 170million would have been decided by the toss of a coin. But, luckily, Aaron Samuel saved us those blushes.
And yes, I know you will ask, it has happened before. In the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Nigeria was in the same situation with Costa Rica and tied on all the criteria used so lots were drawn and the Golden Eaglets got eliminated.
If that had happened again, it would be a second time unlucky for John Mikel Obi who was a prominent member of the 2003 Eaglets whose hearts were broken in Finland.
Now, thanks to Aaron Samuel, we managed to fly past the Congolese. All we need to do is match or better any result Congo will get against Sudan when we play South Africa next Wednesday in Uyo.
And, who knows, Aaron Samuel may just be the man to give us the goal that will take us to Equatorial Guinea next January.
Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
S/ Africa 5 3 2 0 7 1 +6 11
Nigeria 5 2 1 2 7 5 +2 7
Congo 5 2 1 2 5 6 -1 7
Sudan. 5 1 0 4 3 10 -7 3