There is no mercy rule in the World Cup as the USWNT clearly showed against Thailand in the team’s opening match. As the United States dropped a 10-piece plus three on Thailand, fans were wondering if the game would eventually be called given the score was out of reach. The reason there is no mercy rule is because goal differential is used as a tiebreaker for teams to advance to the knockout stage.
There is no extra time in the group stage so the number of goals scored impact which teams advance when teams have the same number of points. CBS News detailed the lack of a mercy rule in most soccer tournaments.
Due to the generally low-scoring nature of soccer games, there are no widely-used mercy rules. With one exception. The International Blind Sports Federation, which helps visually-impaired athletes compete in the Para-Olympics and other tournaments, requires that any time during a soccer game that one team has scored ten more goals than the other team that game is deemed completed.
Team USA hopes to continue their World Cup momentum against Chile on Sunday, June 16 at 12 p.m. Eastern. Prior to the start of the tournament, Alex Morgan emphasized the team did not feel any pressure despite the lofty expectations.
“This team has always had high pressure, especially in big tournaments,” Morgan told The Washington Post. “That’s for a reason. We have a rich history of success, and that’s one of the reasons we set high expectations for ourselves and people [have] expectations for us. This team is united in a way we have never seen it before.”
After setting a World Cup career high with five goals, Morgan definitely looked the part against Thailand.
World Cup Tiebreakers Explain Lack of Mercy Rule
As the U.S. showed against Thailand, teams have to take advantage of scoring goals when they can because you never know how the standings will play out. CBS News detailed how the tiebreakers work in the World Cup.
The Winner and runner-up from each of the six groups automatically advance to the knockout stage round of 16. The remaining four teams are selected by the next-highest point totals in the following groupings: A-C-D, B-E-F, C-D-E and A-B-F. There are eight tiebreakers for each of the third-place teams ranging from number of goals scored, number of goals allowed and fouls accumulated. If two teams are dead even after all tiebreakers, lots are drawn to determine which advances.
The United States put themselves in a good position to win a tiebreaker against Sweden if it comes to that in Group F. USA now has a healthy lead in the goal differential category as it is tied with Sweden atop the Group F standings.