Brazil hosts 20th international tournament 

Despite the protests and controversy surrounding this year’s World Cup in Brazil, the tournament started Thursday. However, the soccer championship can be hard to follow for people who are not familiar with the format. Take a look at the basics of World Cup tournament play and check out the rich history and records of the 19 previous World Cups.

GROUP STAGE

FIFA splits the 32-team field into eight groups of four teams. During the group stage, each team plays one match against every other team within their group. Teams are awarded three points for a win, one point  for a draw and zero points for a loss. The top two teams from each group will advance to the second stage.

SECOND STAGE

The second stage of the World Cup is broken down into four parts: Round of 16, a quarter-final, a semi-final and a final. The 16 teams who have advanced out of the group stage start the second stage. In this, matches are single elimination. In the event of a draw after the initial 90-minutes of regular time, two 15-minute periods are played. If the match is still even after extra time, teams take penalty kicks until one team advances.

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