FIFA World Cup guide for U.S. Soccer fan dummies

Do you love your stripes and stars, but don't understand World Cup soccer? Here is an explanation of the process


Winning a Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup every four years is not meant to be easy, so the process can be confusing even for those who like soccer. 

While only 11 percent of Americans were excited about the June 12 - July 13 event in Brazil, the U.S. national team has been gaining new fans in South Florida.

Many who have never really cared for soccer were supporting their national team Thursday out of patriotism. After the U.S. vs. Germany game, some were confused.

The U.S. soccer team had not scored one goal, but when the game ended everyone cheered. That was because the team qualified to move forward in the multilayer tournament due to points that were accumulated during the victory over Ghana and the tie with Portugal.

Here is a guide that may help patriots understand their team's journey:

FIRST STAGE (Intra-group competition)

The 32 national teams from around the world that classified to compete were placed in groups of four. FIFA labeled the groups A - H.

The United States was placed in Group G, which some fans nicknamed the Group of Death, because Germany, Portugal and Ghana have a history of being successful in the FIFA World Cup.

A: Brazil, Mexico, Croatia and Cameroon

B: Netherlands, Chile, Spain and Australia

C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan

D: Costa Rica, Uruguay, Italy and England

E: France, Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras

F: Argentina, Nigeria, Bosnia and Iran

G: Germany, United States, Portugal and Ghana

H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia and Korea

For two weeks, the teams in each group competed against each other. The teams that win games score three points. Two teams were selected to qualify to move to the next phase.

The last games of Group G were Thursday. At 12 p.m., the U.S. played against Germany, and Portugal played against Ghana.

Although the U.S. lost against Germany 0-1 Thursday, Portugal did not have enough accumulated points to stand on second place with Germany, which had the most points.

U.S. Soccer team fans were happy, because Portugal and Ghana were out of the FIFA World Cup and they stood firm on second place.

SECOND STAGE (Round of 16)

The FIFA World Cup games of the second stage are among four groups and are meant to knockout opponents. The games are Saturday through Tuesday.

June 28 group: Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay.

June 29 group: Netherlands, Mexico, Croatia and Greece.

June 30 group: France, Nigeria, Germany and the Group H 2nd finalist.

July 1st group: Argentina, Switzerland, the U.S., and  the Group H 1st finalist.

The U.S. will play against Belgium at 4 p.m., Tuesday. If the U.S. beats Belgium then it will move forward in the competition and play again July 5th against the winner of the Argentina vs. Switzerland game.

THIRD STAGE (Quarter-finals and Semi-finals)

If the U.S. wins the quarter final game on July 5th, it will play again on the July 9th semi-final.

The semi-final opponent will be the finalist of the four teams that classified on June 29.

The two finalists from the June 28 and June 30 games will play against each other on the July 4th quarter-finals. The winners of those two games will play again July 8th on the semi-finals.

FOURTH STAGE (Third-place playoff and the final match)

The winner of the July 9th game and the winner of the July 8th game will play in the final at 3 p.m July 13th. The losers of the July 8th and 9th games will compete for third place July 12th.

For the U.S. to get to the final, it would have to win three games on July 1st, July 5th and July 9th. If it loses on July 9th, it can compete for third place.