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Three things new soccer fans should know about the world cup

Millions of soccer fans wait four years to watch the latest world cup. However, if you are new to the sport, there are a few things you should know about soccer’s most popular event:

Pinnacle

Most soccer players spend most of the four years between the World Cup playing for a club. The clubs, like Manchester United, often represent a city or a specific region. However, all this pales in comparison to the World Cup, which is the absolute pinnacle of the sport. Winning the World Cup is the greatest accolade a soccer player could ever earn.

Stages

Due to the massive number of countries taking part, the World Cup is a multi-stage process. There are the group matches, with each team usually playing another three teams. Then, the top two teams from each group enter a 16 team knockout phase. The 16 teams cut down to eight, then four, then two for the finals.

Stakes

Many Americans will find it surprising that, even though the World Cup has a similar stature to the Olympics, winning teams get payouts. The World Cup in Rio paid out $576 million in prize money, with $35 million going to the winning team. Even the teams that get eliminated at the group stage get $8 million. The payouts pale in comparison to the earnings from the games. Although FIFA will spend almost $2 billion to run the tournament, they expect to take in almost double that amount.

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