How Yellow and Red Cards work in 2014 World Cup


I tried to find something from the official FIFA website for the 2014 World Cup and cards, but the best explanation I could find was here:

2 Yellow cards in a game = immediate suspension from the remainder of the current game and automatic one game suspension in the following game
1 Red card = immediate removal from current game, automatic one game suspension in the following game, and review for possibly more games depending on the severity of the foul

There is one point in the World Cup tournament where all Yellow Cards are “wiped off” and everybody again has a clean slate.  Before 2010, this happened following the group stage, the first 3 games.  For the 2010/2014 WC and going forward, this happens after the quarterfinals round.   The reason for the change is Yellow cards in the semi-final games will no longer cause a player to miss the championship games.   Previously, a player could get a yellow in the knockout round, a yellow in the semis, and then have to miss out in the final.  This was the case in 2002 when Michael Ballack, many considered Germany’s best player, was forced to sit out in the Championship game b/c of a yellow card in the semi-finals.

A player must now go 5 games without being carded 2 times to avoid being banned a game, whereas previously it was 3.  By moving the “clean state” period to a later stage in the tournament, everyone without a red card will be able to play in the final, but it also means anybody with a yellow card must play cautiously through the first 5 games of the tournament.

I do think it encourages more goals, especially through the first period of the tournament, but I also think physical defending may not be as present b/c of players fearful of racking up cards.   Yellow cards are given nearly every game to at least one player on each side.   To go 5 games without 2 for a physical defender can be a lot to ask.  Yellow cards are given frequently enough that I’ve even thought having yellow cards wiped clean after every match would be about right..

The 2006 Cup in Germany saw the most cards ever with 345 yellows and 28 reds in 64 matches, averaging nearly 6 cards per game.

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One Response to How Yellow and Red Cards work in 2014 World Cup

  1. anton says:

    Personally I feel the current system is prone to silly scenarios and any rule where you have a “clean slate” moment will have this effect.

    For instance, say a player in a top side like Germany or Brazil who has a realistic chance of reaching the final gets two yellow cards in the first two matches, misses the third due to suspension, yellow in the QF, and another yellow in the SF, the player would still be allowed to play in the final despite 4 yellows in 5 matches played and 2 yellows in the last two matches. Contrast this with a side that has little chance of making it through the group stages, but somehow do. Miraculously they make it through the round of 16 as well. So for this side the QF is just as important as a final for Brazil or Germany. Now consider a player on this side who got a yellow in the first game and another in the round of 16. This player will now miss the all important QF because of 2 yellow cards across 4 games. This seems blatantly unfair.

    For me the fairest would be something like 2 yellows or 1 red within 3 consecutive games gets you a suspension. Thus effectively any card only “lasts” a maximum of 3 matches. If you get a yellow in the first match and then one in the fourth, it’s as if you only have one. If you then get another in the SF, you still get to play in the final, but there’s no “clean slate” that only helps sides and players who have a real chance of reaching the final.

    I also believe any yellow or red card should be reviewed post-match. It’s insane that a player can miss the game of a lifetime due to a potential refereeing error. The standard suspensions are fine to ensure good discipline, but where a blatantly wrong decision is made against a player there must be some mechanism to have the card repealed so that it doesn’t count towards suspensions.

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