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The 2014 Football World Cup will follow the same format as the previous edition of the tournament. This will be the 5th edition of the tournament to feature 32 national teams, which these teams having qualified for the tournament via five regional qualifying tournaments.
The group stage of the 2014 Football World Cup will run from the 12th of June to the 26th of June 2014. The opening ceremony will take place before the first match of the tournament, which will feature the Brazilian national team.
This stage of the tournament is the only one to feature all the competing teams. The 32 qualifying nations will be divided into eight groups of four teams. Each team in each group will then play the other teams in the group on a round-robin basis.
At the conclusion of the group stage the top two teams in each group will qualify for the first knockout round of the 2014 Football World Cup.
In the event that two or more teams are equal on points at the end of the group stage, the following factors will be used to decide.
The factors determining final rankings between two teams with equal points are listed by order of importance:
• Points scored in group matches between the relevant teams
• Goal difference in matches between the relevant teams
• Number of goals scored in group matches between the relevant teams
• Lots drawn by the FIFA organising committee
At the conclusion of the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, the knockout phase of the tournament will begin. The loser of each match played from this point onwards will be eliminated from the tournament. The exception is the semifinals, with the semifinal losers progressing to a 3rd place playoff.
To ensure that each match in this phase of the tournament produces a result, extra time and penalties will be introduced. In the event that normal time in a match ends with the teams on level scores, the two teams will play two additional periods of 15 minutes.
Should the score remain level after extra time penalty kicks will be used to determine the winner.
The knockout rounds of the tournament will be:
• The round of 16, to be played from the 28th of June to the 1st of July. This stage of the tournament will use a basic seeding system where the top ranked team in one group plays against the second ranked team from another group.
• The 2014 Football World Cup quarterfinals will be played by the eight remaining teams over the 4th and 5th of July.
• The two World Cup semi-finals will be played on the 8th and 9th of July following a two day break.
• The third place playoff will be played on the 12th of July 2014 in Brasilia between the two losing semifinalists
• The 2014 World Cup final is scheduled for the 14th of July and will be played at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The final will be preceded by the 2014 Football World Cup closing ceremony