The first round, or group stage, is a competition between the 32 teams divided among eight groups of four, where each group engages in a round-robin tournament within itself. The two highest ranked teams in each group will progress to the knockout stage.
The tournament is now entering the quarter-finals (round of 8) (4 – 5 July) of the knockout stage (28 June – 13 July, details).
"2014 World Cup" redirects here. For other uses, see 2014 World Cup (disambiguation).
It began on 12 June, with a group stage, and is scheduled to conclude on 13 July with the final. It is the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the first being in 1950. Brazil was elected unchallenged as host nation in 2007 after the international football federation, FIFA, decreed that the tournament would be staged in South America for the first time since 1978 in Argentina, and the fifth time overall.
The national teams of 31 countries advanced through qualification competitions that began in June 2011 to participate with the host nation Brazil in the final tournament. A total of 64 matches are being played in 12 cities across Brazil in either new or redeveloped stadiums. For the first time at a World Cup finals, match officials are using goal-line technology, as well as vanishing foam for free kicks.
All world champion teams since the first World Cup in 1930 – Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany (who won three times as West Germany), Italy, Spain and Uruguay – qualified for this competition. Spain were the title holders, having defeated the Netherlands 1–0 in the 2010 final to win their first World Cup, but they were eliminated at the group stage after losses in the first two matches against the Netherlands and Chile. All seven previous World Cup tournaments staged in the Americas (four in South America and three in North America) were won by South American teams.
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup bidsIn March 2003, FIFA announced that the tournament would be held in South America for the first time since 1978, in line with its then-active policy of rotating the right to host the World Cup among different confederations. The decision meant that it would be the first time that two consecutive World Cups were staged outside Europe and the first time two consecutive World Cups were held in the Southern Hemisphere (the 2010 FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa). Only Brazil and Colombia formally declared their candidacy but, after the withdrawal of the latter from the process, Brazil was officially elected as host nation unopposed on 30 October 2007.
Participating teams and officials
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
See also: FIFA World Cup qualificationFollowing qualification matches between June 2011 and November 2013, the following 32 teams – shown with their final pre-tournament FIFA World Rankings – qualified for the final tournament. 24 out of the 32 teams to qualify are returning participants from the 2010 World Cup. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only team with no previous World Cup Finals experience.[nb 2] Colombia qualified for the World Cup after 16 years of absence; while Russia and Belgium after 12 years; and Croatia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Iran return after missing only one final tournament. Only three top-25 ranked teams did not qualify for the tournament: Ukraine (16), Denmark (23) and Slovenia (25).
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup seedingThe 32 participating teams were to be drawn into the eight groups of the group stage. In preparation for this, the teams were organised into four pots with the seven highest-ranked teams joining host nation Brazil in the seeded pot. As with the previous tournaments, FIFA aimed to create groups which maximised geographic separation and therefore the unseeded teams were arranged into pots based on geographic considerations. The draw took place on 6 December 2013 at the Costa do Sauípe resort in Bahia, during which the teams were drawn by various past World Cup-winning players. Under the draw procedure, one randomly drawn team was firstly relocated from Pot 4 to Pot 2 to create four equal pots of eight teams.
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup squadsAs with the 2010 tournament, each team's squad consists of 23 players (three of whom must be goalkeepers). Each participating national association had to confirm their final 23-player squad no later than 10 days before the start of the tournament. Teams were permitted to make late replacements in the event of serious injury, at any time up to 24 hours before their first game. During a match, all remaining squad members not named in the starting team are available to be one of the three permitted substitutions (provided the player is not serving a suspension).
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup officialsIn March 2013, FIFA published a list of 52 prospective referees, each paired with two assistant referees, from all six football confederations for the tournament. On 14 January 2014, the FIFA Referees Committee appointed 25 referee trios and eight support duos representing 43 different countries for the tournament.
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup venues12 venues (seven new and five renovated) in twelve cities have been selected for the tournament. The venues cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil. Consequently, the tournament will require long-distance travel for teams. During the World Cup, Brazilian cities will also be home to the participating teams at 32 separate base camps, as well as staging official fan fests where supporters can view the games.
Team base campsBase camps are used by the 32 national squads to stay and train before and during the World Cup tournament. On 31 January 2014, FIFA announced the base camps for each participating team, having earlier circulated a brochure of 84 prospective locations. Most teams have opted to stay in the Southeast Region of Brazil, with only eight teams choosing other regions; five teams (Croatia, Germany, Ghana, Greece and Switzerland) have opted to stay in the Northeast Region and three teams (Ecuador, South Korea and Spain) have opted to stay in the South Region. None have opted to stay in the North Region or the Central-West Region.
FIFA Fan FestsFor a third consecutive World Cup tournament, FIFA are staging FIFA Fan Fests in each of the 12 host cities throughout the competition. Prominent examples are the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, which already held a Fan Fest in 2010, São Paulo's Vale do Anhangabaú and Brasília's Esplanada dos Ministérios, with the Congress in the background. The first official event took place on Iracema Beach, in Fortaleza, on 8 June 2014.
TechnologiesTo avoid ghost goals this World Cup has introduced goal-line technology. It is the fourth FIFA competition to use the technology after successful trials at 2012 Club World Cup, 2013 Club World Cup and 2013 Confederations Cup. The German company GoalControl was selected as the tournament's official goal-line technology provider in October 2013. France's second goal in their group game against Honduras was the first time goal-line technology confirmed that a goal should be given.
Following successful trials,[nb 4] FIFA approved the use of vanishing foam by the referees for the first time at a World Cup Finals. The water-based spray, which disappears within minutes of application, can be used to mark a ten-yard line for the defending team during a free kick and also to draw where the ball is to be placed for a free kick.
The Adidas Brazuca is the official match ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Adidas created a new design of ball after criticisms of the Adidas Jabulani used in the previous World Cup. The number of panels was reduced to six, with the panels being thermally bonded. This created a ball with increased consistency and aerodynamics compared to its predecessor. Furthermore Adidas underwent an extensive testing process lasting more than two years to produce a ball that would meet the approval of football professionals.
Cooling breaksBecause of the relatively high ambient temperatures in Brazil, particularly at the northern venues, "cooling breaks" for the players were introduced. Breaks can take place after the 30th minute of the first and second half of games at the referee's discretion if the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature exceeds 32 °C (90 °F).
The first cooling break in World Cup play took place during the 32nd minute of the Netherlands vs. Mexico Round of 16 match. At the start of the match, FIFA listed the temperature at 32 °C (90 °F) with 68% humidity.
Anti-dopingThe biological passport was introduced in the FIFA World Cup starting in 2014. Blood and urine samples from all players before the competition, and from two players per team per match, are analysed by the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses. FIFA reported that 91.5% of the players taking part in the tournament were tested before the start of the competition and none tested positive. However, FIFA was criticised for its approach towards finding doping offences.[clarification needed]
The ranking of teams in each group is based on the following, in order (each line breaks ties for all preceding lines):
In the knockout stage there will be four rounds (round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final), with each eliminating the losers. The two semi-final losers will compete in a third place play-off. A draw in the knockout stages will be followed by two 15 minute periods of extra time to determine a winner. If the teams are still tied, a penalty shoot-out will be held.
The match schedule was announced on 20 October 2011 with the kick-off times being confirmed on 27 September 2012; after the final draw, the kick-off times of seven matches were adjusted by FIFA. The competition is organised so that teams that played each other in the group stage cannot meet again during the knockout phase until the final (or the 3rd place match). The group stage began on 12 June, with the host nation competing in the opening game as has been the format since the 2006 tournament. The opening game was preceded by an opening ceremony that began at 15:15 local time.
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage
See also: List of 2014 FIFA World Cup matches
After the second set of games, six teams had already guaranteed their progress into the knockout stage: Netherlands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Argentina and Belgium. By contrast, teams out early after two losses included defending champions Spain and 1966 champion England, who were eliminated at the group stage for the first time since 1958. The third former champions to be eliminated were Italy, who scored only two goals, its lowest tally since 1966.
Eight of ten teams from the Americas (CONCACAF and CONMEBOL) advanced to the knockout stage, this being the first time CONCACAF had three teams among the last 16. Africa (CAF) got two teams in the knockout stage for the first time. By contrast, teams from Asia (AFC) put up their worst performance since 1990 all finishing at the bottom of their groups without winning any games. Only 6 of the 13 UEFA teams advanced to the knockout stage, the fewest under the present format (equaled in the 2010 World Cup).
Costa Rica overcame a group of three former World Cup Champions to reach their first knockout stage since 1990. Germany won a group made up entirely of knockout stage participants in the 2010 World Cup. Greece and Algeria qualified for the knockout stage for the first time. Nigeria (44th) were the lowest-ranked team in FIFA rankings to advance, while Spain (1st) was the highest-ranked team to be eliminated.
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup Group A
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup Group B
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup Group C
Main article: 2014 FIFA World Cup Group D
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