World Cup time is here! If you are not a fan of soccer but want to get involved it is not too late. Here are the 5 things you should know about the Fifa World Cup.
1. How does scoring and the match up of teams work? It is a month long of games with 32 teams competing in two stages in Brazil. The host country has the first game against Croatia at 4 p.m. ET Thursday in Sao Paulo. The first stage is a group of countries competing with each other. The U.S. is in group G along with Ghana, Portugal, and Germany. They’ll play each of these teams once. The U.S. will play Ghana on June 16, Portugal on June 22, and Germany on June 26. In order to make it to the next stage there is a mathematical formula. A win is three points, a tie is one point, and a loss is zero points. When all these matches are completed the two teams with the most points from each group will advance.
On June 28, those 16 teams will enter a single-elimination tournament. There are no draws: tie matches require overtime and if still tied, there will by a shootout. The championship will be on July 13.
2. What’s the deal with the US team?
The US team has historically never been a leader in world soccer, this year they rank 13. U.S. qualified for each of the past seven World Cups going back to 1990 and advanced to the knockout stage in 2010, when they were eliminated by Ghana. There is some controversy over Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s final roster, when Landon Donovan, the leading goal scorer for the U.S. national team, was not on it. Klinsmann left Donovan off to make more room for young prospects and veterans who’ve never played in the World Cup.
3. Who are past winners?
Host country Brazil has won the most with five times. Italy has won four times and Germany won three times. Argentina and Uruguay won twice and Spain, the most recent winner, has only won once along England and France.
4. Any D.C. connections to the game?
Kyle Bekermen is a midfielder of the U.S. Team. He began his career participating in various youth leagues in the Bowie, Md. area. He played for the United States in the 1999 Under-17 World Cup in New Zealand. He attended Dematha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.
5. What does the winning team win?
FIFA will give the 2014 World Cup winner $35 million in prize money, and all 32 competing nations will get at least $8 million. FIFA will give an additional $1.5 million to each team for preparation for the month long tournament.
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