If India can beat Ghana in their last Group A match today, is there any realistic chance of the hosts qualifying for the knockouts of their maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup? Mathematically, yes. India have a goal difference (GD) of -4 while Colombia and Ghana have zero.
The India under-17 team warm up during a training session in New Delhi recently. They lost their games to USA and Colombia. Pic/AIFF
According to the tournament rules, if teams finish their group stages with equal points, then goal difference will have to determine which team progresses. If that too is the same, then head-to-head result counts. Winning by a solitary goal will not be enough for India to finish third. India’s GD will be -3 while Ghana will have -1. If USA defeat Colombia 4-0, India will be placed third. The best scenario for India will be a 2-0 win over Ghana and then hope USA beat Colombia by any margin.
India will have a GD of -2, the same as Ghana and a better head-to-head record which will push India to the No. 3 spot. However, if USA win by 3-0 against Colombia and the young Indian boys win 2-0, India will jump to the No. 2 position and will automatically qualify for the knockouts. If India win 3-0 and USA 2-0, then too India will be placed second by virtue of a better GD, thereby sealing a qualification spot. According to the format, the best four teams positioned third among six groups qualify. India need not lose hope, but have to win 2-0 today.