How the World Cup Works for the Soccer Newbie

Check out an overview from SanDiegoVIps for how the world cup works for the soccer newbie.

Online PR News – 10-July-2014 – San Diego/California – With millions of existing hard core soccer fans and thousands joining every day, soccer is a sport that seems to have reached new heights in popularity. But the newbie might be a tad confused on how qualifying campaigns work, what is an opaque World Cup draw or how points are determined. Therefore, here is a compilation of the salient features of World Cup and how it works.

There are three basic phases – Qualifying, Group Play and the Knockout Stage.

Qualifying Campaigns:

• The host country of each World Cup changes every tournament and they qualify be default. The other 31 National teams must earn their spot. They play matches against other teams from their region, which is the qualification process. It begins three years before the World Cup tournament is scheduled to be held.
• The regions participating in qualification matches are known as Confederations and are determined by FIFA. They are North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific.
• The number of teams that can qualify from each region is dependent on the team quality and the size of the region.
• This year, the 32 teams were selected from a total of 200 national teams.

Group Play:
• At the beginning of the World Cup tournament, Group Play weeds out teams from their own groups. The remaining teams go for the Knockout round. 2014 saw a total of 8 Groups, with 4 teams in each, designated by letters A through H.
• The Groups are determined by semi-random draw. They are so selected as to evenly spread out teams on the basis of quality and region. The strongest teams are not all clubbed together but evenly spread among the different groups as much as possible. Since a truly even spread in impossible, the draw plays a huge role in determining the team’s chances in the World Cup.
• The draw for the 2014 World Cup took place on December 6, 2013 and was broadcasted in 193 countries.
• Sometimes a group is referred to as the “Group of Death,” which means that it constitutes 2 or more exceptional teams with other mid-ranked teams. This makes it very unlikely for the mid-ranked teams to pass out of the group stage.
• As pointed out earlier, each group has 4 teams and each team plays three matches, one with each of the other members of its group.
• The top two teams from each group moves on to the single-elimination matches. The bottom two goes home.
• Scoring in soccer is quite complicated. When a team wins in a group-play match it earns 3 points, when it ties with its opponent it earns 1 point, and when it loses it wins nothing. A team’s total number of points determines its standing in its group.
• If there is a tie between teams after Group play is over, FIFA has certain tie-breaker procedures that determine which team moves to the next level.

Knockout Stage:

• The top two teams of each group from the Group Play qualify for the Knockout stage consisting of 16 teams total.
• The top finisher of Group A plays the second finisher of Group B, and vice versa. This is true for all eight groups.

Once the Round of 16 is over, the World Cup becomes a standard single elimination tournament. There can be no draws in these matches, if there is, they will be given as many chances required to have a single winner. After the 90 minutes of regulation time, the teams will be given two extra play time of 15 minutes each. If there is still no winner, there is a penalty shoot out where the manager of each team chooses five players to score a goal against the opposing goalkeeper.

After this round, there are only 8 teams left for the Quarter finals. The semi finals see 4 teams and the final, of course, only 2 teams. The teams who will lose in the semifinal will play each other for the third spot in the tournament. The final of 2014 World Cup will be held on July 13, 2014 at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium, Brazil.