Soccer: Equation simple for Kiwis - beat Paraguay

By Terry Maddaford

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A win over Paraguay will guarantee the All Whites' path into the knockout phase of the World Cup.

A win for the South Americans will ensure they get through as top qualifiers but a loss will spell the end for New Zealand.

If New Zealand lose, either Italy or Slovakia, depending on their result at Ellis Park (in a game at the same time as New Zealand v Paraguay), will take the runner-up spot.

If New Zealand and Paraguay draw, it becomes a "what if" situation.

A draw would get Paraguay through with five points and leave New Zealand on three. That would not be enough if either Italy or Slovakia win. Italy would go to five points with a win and Slovakia four.

New Zealand and the losers from the other match would be eliminated.

But, if Italy and Slovakia draw, the calculators will be whirring if New Zealand pick up a point.

If New Zealand and Paraguay draw 0-0 and Italy and Slovakia reach 1-1, Italy would go through on goals scored. If both games end 0-0 or 1-1, Fifa will need to draw lots to find the "survivor" but if New Zealand and Paraguay draw 2-2 and the other match ends 0-0 or 1-1, New Zealand would claim second spot.

Under World Cup rules, points accumulated - three for a win, one for a draw - are the first consideration.

If two teams finish equal, goal difference is the first tie-breaker and goals scored the second. Only then if it is all equal do Fifa draw lots.

- NZ Herald

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