What is the word/phrase that describes a situation at which between 2 sides, it is hard to decide which side will win? For example, in football, when 2 teams are competitive but cannot get out of a draw, and maintain at that situation.

  • "Stalemate", "too close to call" cover a couple of the meanings suggested by your question.
    – user888379
    Mar 15, 2018 at 15:04
  • The contestants are 'neck and neck'. Interestingly, when I entered "neck and neck evenly matched too close to call" into an in-house search to check for duplicates, I got the single return: 'The etymology of "to prove dough" '. Mar 15, 2018 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


Evenly matched

Two people or teams who are evenly matched are equally good, or have an equal chance of winning.



If two opponents, whether in sports or an election, are evenly matched or polling suggests close result, then it's called a tossup or, still retaining the hyphen, toss-up.

If the outcome is predicted to be very close, one might call it a race to a photo finish. The term comes primarily from horseracing before extremely precise timekeeping devices, where a photograph was used to determine which horse's nose was first over the finish line.

The American electorate has a fundamental tendency to divide closely, with "photo finish" elections being almost the rule rather than the exception.

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