World Cup Groups 2014: What Are They And Why Do They Matter?

The 2014 FIFA World Cup came to a rolling start in Brazil on Thursday, June 12. This year’s games will contain two stages — the groups stage and the knockout stage. The groups stage is slated to last until Thursday, June 26, after which it will be followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals, etc. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will then commence on Sunday, July 13, when the final two teams battle each other at the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.

What Is The World Cup?

The World Cup is a quadrennial (celebrated every 4 years) international football (as in soccer) competition that pits the senior 32 members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) against each other. It started in 1930 and has been held consecutively ever since, save for in 1942 and 1946 as per World War II.

What The Heck Are The World Cup Groups?

The groups stage functions as a round-robin competition, meaning all competitors play in turn against one another. This savvy setup is accomplished by breaking the 32 qualifying FIFA members into eight groups of four. Each group features one “seed” team and three random teams. The ‘seed’ is basically one of the top seven FIFA members in the world, excluding the host, which is designated a ‘seed’ by default.

According to Business Insider, the determination of whether or not a FIFA member deserves to be a “seed” is based on the following complex (and potentially inaccurate) formula:

This designation must be made so that the best FIFA teams can be separated into different groups for the following very intelligent reason, courtesy Business Insider:

“To keep the best teams from landing in the same group and eliminating each other right off the bat, FIFA puts the top seven teams in the world (plus the host nation) in separate groups.”

Furthermore, the World Cup groups are configured in a way that ensures no group features more than two European members or more than one member from one of the six FIFA continental zones. According to FIFA, the zones include Africa, North and Central America and Caribbean, South American, Oceania, and Europe.

Who Are This Year’s World Cup ‘Seeds’?

The “seeds” for the 2014 World Cup match include Brazil (host team), Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uraguay, and Switzerland.

The remaining teams are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Cameroon
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Ecuador
  • England
  • France
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Honduras
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Ivory Coast
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Nigeria
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • United States

All the aforementioned countries (including the seeds) have been divided into the following eight groups for the 2014 World Cup: Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E, Group F, Group G, Group H.

How Do The Groups Matches Function?

The groups stage features six competitions held in a round-robin format. This ensures that everyone plays a minimum of three matches. Each match offers the opportunity to earn three points for winning or one pointing for achieving a draw. Zero points are earned if a team loses. After the six competitions finish, the top two teams then advance to the knockout stage.

Where Can I View A Schedule Of The World Cup Groups Competitions?

If you would like to review a schedule of the 2014 World Cup games, please log in to FIFA.

Image via [Google Images]