The World Cup, possibly the most popular international sporting event, starts this week in Brazil. The world is abuzz as many of soccer’s best players, representing 32 countries, seek to dethrone Spain, the reigning champion.
The World Cup is held every four years in a different country. National teams qualify through a series of regional games; the host country gets an automatic bid. The actual tournament, unfolding over the course of a month, includes a group stage and a knockout stage. In the group stage, each team plays the other three teams in its group. The top two finishers from each group move on to the knockout stage, which eventually determines the champion.
The United States men’s national soccer team has qualified for every World Cup since 1990. Not a traditional powerhouse, the U.S. enters this tournament ranked thirteenth in the world. The team is not expected to make it…
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