World Cup Format


1930: A group phase, followed by an elimination phase with 4 teams (group winners; note that no third-place match was played)
1934–1938: Single-elimination tournament; these are the only tournaments without a group phase
1950: A first group phase, followed by a final group phase with 4 teams (group winners); this is the only tournament without an official final match
1954–1970: A group phase, followed by an elimination phase with 8 teams (group winners and runners-up)
1974–1978: A first group phase, followed by a second group phase with 8 teams (first round group winners and runners-up), followed by the final (second round group winners; second round group runners-up played in the third-place match)
1982: A first group phase, followed by a second group phase with 12 teams (first round group winners and runners-up), followed by an elimination phase with 4 teams (second round group winners)
1986–1994: A group phase, followed by an elimination phase with 16 teams (group winners, runners-up and the four best third-placed teams)
1998–present: A group phase, followed by an elimination phase with 16 teams (group winners and runners-up)

 

 

 

 

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