Soccer

South Korea lost, but they’re still playing. How do World Cup eliminations work?

Get to know the field in the 2019 World Cup

Here are the teams competing in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.
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Here are the teams competing in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

Team South Korea lost its first game against France, 4-0, and on Wednesday, they played Nigeria (ultimately falling 2-0). They’ll play Norway on Monday. Why weren’t they eliminated after their first game?

The answer: Women’s World Cup elimination rules.

Many of us are familiar with single-elimination tournaments or 5-7 game series against the same team, but the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup works a little differently.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup comprises 24 teams, separated into six groups, Group A - Group F, with four teams in each group. In what’s called the “group stage,” a team plays every other team in its group, three matches total.

A team is awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. The two teams with the most points at the end of the group stage advance to the “knockout rounds,” or “the round of 16.”

From there, it’s good old-fashioned single-elimination. Since knockout games can’t end in draws, FIFA rules state that if a game is tied at the end of regulation, they’ll play two more 15-minute periods. If it’s still tied, the game goes into a penalty shoot-out.

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