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How Gold Cup group stage ties will be broken for knockout stage advancement

Here’s how CONCACAF plans to break ties during the group stage.

United States v Mexico: Final - 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup
James Sands of United States head the ball during the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 final match between United States and Mexico at Allegiant Stadium on August 1, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

The 2023 Gold Cup will begin Saturday, June 24 with the defending champions United States taking on Jamaica in the first game of the group stage. That’ll be the only game on Saturday, but three group games will take place Sunday. There will be two group games every day until July 1, but then we’ll have four group games on July 2 and July 4.

Once again, there will be 16 teams participating in the tournament and they are broken up into four groups of four. The top two teams in each group advance to the knockout bracket, which opens with the quarterfinals on July 8.

Here’s how CONCACAF will break any ties on points in the initial stage to determine which teams advance to the next round.

The first tiebreaker is once again going to be goal differential in the group stage. This is simply the team’s goals scored minus the goals it allows. Usually, this takes care of most ties. The next tiebreaker is total goals scored in the group stage.

If teams are still tied after those two metrics, the next tiebreaker is head-to-head points. If the teams drew in their group match, then this tiebreaker and the next two (goal differential and goals scored) are also rendered moot. The second two tiebreakers usually come into play if there’s a three-way tie.

If teams are still tied after all these measures, a fair play system is used on the basis of cards. A yellow card is one point, two yellow cards is three points, a direct red card is four points and a yellow followed by a direct red is five points. The team with the least points accumulated would move on.

If the teams are still tied after the fair play point system, there will be a draw and the winning team from the draw wins the tiebreaker.