Liverpool flop ends Agger World Cup dream, after calculating FIFA’s bizarre system

Alberto Aquillani scored the goal that, complicated or not, has eliminated Denmark from World Cup qualifying.

Denmark cannot qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next summer, after a 2-2 draw against Italy in Copenhagen last night.

Nicklas Bendtner bagged a double for the Danes to make it 2-1, after Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo had given the Azzrri an early lead.

But in the 90th minute, this happened…

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That was Alberto Aquillani, the one-time €20 million Liverpool midfielder scoring a last minute equaliser against, among other big names, his former Liverpool team-mate Daniel Agger.

Osvaldo had hit his shot seemingly into the hands of the awaiting former Charlton Athletic stopper Stephan Andersen, before Fiorentina midfielder Aquilani got the faintest of touches to divert it goalwards.

And in that moment, the World Cup dream for Agger and co was over - Denmark are out.

But hang on, they can definitely still finish second in their group, so what is going on?

Let me try and simplify the system as much as possible, but be warned, FIFA have concocted a system almost as complicated as the Large Hadron Collider.

There are nine UEFA qualifying groups, of which all nine group winners qualify automatically for Brazil - Belgium, Germany and Italy for instance have already booked their place.

Then comes the runners-up and play-off system.

Obviously, with nine groups, it is impossible to have an even amount of second placed teams to face off in the play-off stage.

Therefore, the second-placed team with the lowest points tally does not make it to the play-offs - they are out.

Liverpool defender and ex Everton keeper combine for comical own goal

But hang on again. Denmark have 13 points. A win against Malta could see them overtake France, Iceland and Turkey/Romania in regards total points.

Well no actually, it couldn’t.

Because in reality Denmark only have nine points according to FIFA. In order to make it fair on the runners-up in Group I, currently France, the results from Denmark’s games against the bottom team in their group, which is Malta, do not count toward the final tally.

Because Denmark have six teams in their group, while France only have five - which effectively makes Denmark’s game with Malta on Tuesday a dead rubber, as only Bulgaria and Armenia can now qualify for the playoffs from Group B.

Get all that?

image: © k1ngk0ng

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