World Cup: Knockout Stage


The group stages qualified 16 teams for the knockout stage, and eliminated 8 teams. The knockout stage, as the name implies, consists of a series of (15) games in which the winner advances in the tournament, and the loser is eliminated. The first round of eight games will determine which 8 teams advance to the Quarterfinals, which determine the 4 teams in the Semifinals, and those games (of course) determine the 2 teams to meet in the World Cup Final.

In the event that a match is tied at the end of regulation and stoppage time, there will be two 15-minute periods of extra time will be played, in their entirety. There is no longer a “golden goal” (a.k.a., “sudden death”) rule, which has not been used in World Cup since 2003. If the match is still (or again) tied at the end of extra time, the winner shall be determined via penalty shoot-out.


The initial match pairings are as follows, with the victor at each stage paired with the winner of the match immediately above or below (i.e., a standard single elimination bracket) for the next round. The (2) losing teams in the Semifinals will play in the Third place play-off match.

  • Norway
  • Australia
  • England
  • Cameroon
  • France
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • United States
  • Italy
  • China
  • Netherlands
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Nigeria
  • Sweden
  • Canada

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019

The World Cup tournament begins today.

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is a quadrennial international football (soccer) tournament. This year, the tournament takes place in France, and runs from June 7 through July 7, over which time there will be 52 matches played in 9 different venues among the 24 qualified national teams.

The host nation (France, this year) automatically qualifies, and the remaining teams are selected based on performance in 6 regional groups, in order to assure participation (albeit, slightly imbalanced) from teams around the world. There are 9 teams (including the host) from Europe, 5 teams from Asia/Australia, 3 from Africa, 3 from North America, 3 from South America, and 1 from Oceania.

The tournament takes place in two stages, starting with the Group Stage, in which all teams play 3 games each against other teams in their group, followed by the Knockout Stage, in which 16 qualifying teams (based on Group Stage performance) play games in a single-elimination bracket, leading to the Final on July 7, 2019.

For the Group Stage, the 24 teams are divided into 6 groups, A through F, with 4 teams in each group, as follows:

Group A:

  • France
  • Norway
  • South Korea
  • Nigeria

Group B:

  • Germany
  • Spain
  • China
  • South Africa

Group C:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Italy
  • Jamaica

Group D:

  • England
  • Japan
  • Scotland
  • Argentina

Group E:

  • Canada
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Cameroon

Group F:

  • United States
  • Sweden
  • Thailand
  • Chile

The Group Stage is played in three rounds, with every team playing exactly once in each round. The first round runs June 7-11, the second round runs June 12-16, and the third round runs June 17-20; this accounts for the first 36 matches. Note that both third round games in each group are played simultaneously, in an attempt to prevent match manipulation (in particular, teams deliberately playing for a tie).

Rankings in the group stage are based on points, where a win is worth 3 points, a tie is worth 1 point for each team, and a loss is worth nothing. Rankings are further determined (when teams have the same number of points) by goal differential in group play, number of goals in group play, result(s) of game(s) between the teams in question, then “fair play points” (essentially, fewest red and yellow cards). If the teams are still tied at that point, the higher team is determined randomly.

The Knockout Stage involves 16 teams selected based on performance in the Group Stage, specifically, the top 2 teams in each group, plus the four best third placed teams among all of the groups (which means that all last placed teams and the two worst third placed teams are eliminated after the Group Stage). The Round of 16 runs June 22-25, the Quarterfinals run June 27-29, the Semifinals are on July 2-3, with the Third place playoff on July 6, and the Final on July 7 to determine the championship.

This is the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup; the first tournament was in 1991. Every previous Champion qualified this year: United States (1991, 1999, 2015), Germany (2003, 2007), Norway (1995), and Japan (2015). Each of these teams has qualified for every tournament, along with 3 others: Brazil , Nigeria , and Sweden . The United States comes into this tournament not only as the defending Champions, but also as the #1 ranked team in the world.

On the other side of the experience scale, there are 4 teams which have never been to the tournament before: Chile , Jamaica , Scotland , and South Africa . Of teams that have qualified before, Spain did not win a game in its one previous appearance, New Zealand has never won a game in 4 appearances, and Argentina has lost every game it has played in 2 appearances.

This will be the first FIFA Women’s World Cup to use the VAR (video assistant referee) system, which reviews decisions made (or not) by a head referee using video replays, including whether or not a goal was (legally) scored, potential penalties, and errors such as misidentification of a penalized player.

10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… [whistle]

New Olympic Events at Sochi 2014

There will be 12 brand new events in this Winter Games.

XXII Olympic Winter GamesSochi 2014 will introduce a dozen new Olympic events this year, spread among 6 different disciplines: Biathlon, Luge, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Ski Jumping, and Snowboard.

Biathlon has one new event, the Biathlon Mixed Relay (a.k.a., “2x6km Women + 2×7.5 Men Mixed Relay”).  As the name suggests, this event consists of both men and women competing on one biathlon relay team.  The opening two 6km [3.73 mile] legs are skied by women, with two bouts of shooting (2K-prone-2K-standing-2K), then the two 7.5km [4.66 mile] legs are skied by men, in the same fashion (2.5K-prone-2.5K-standing-2.5K).  The first skiers all start simultaneously, so the first team to complete all four legs and cross the finish line (barring penalties) is the winner.

Luge has one new event, the Luge Mixed Team Relay, which consists of one Singles woman run, one Singles man run, and one Doubles team run, consecutively.  At the end of each Singles run, the slider must touch a pad in the exchange zone, which will allow the next run to start, and a slider from the Doubles team must touch the pad to stop the clock and determine total time, measured from the start of the first run.  The lowest elapsed time wins.  Since the relay is the last Luge event, and there is only one attempt per team (unlike other Luge events), this should be quite exciting.

Figure Skating has one new event, Figure Skating Mixed Team, which consists of a Short Program and Free Program (each) for one Individual man skater, one Individual woman skater, and one Mixed Pairs team, as well as a Short Dance and Free Dance from one Ice Dancing team.  Each program/dance is a judged competition, and the team with the highest total score for all skates is the winner.  There does not appear to be any provision for dropping scores, so one bad performance could be disastrous.  This is the very first Skating event this year, with the Team Men Short Program and Team Pairs Short Program taking place the night before the Opening Ceremony.

The bulk (9) of the new events are in 3 different Skiing disciplines: Freestyle Skiing, Ski Jumping, and Snowboard.

Freestyle Skiing has four new Freestyle events, Halfpipe Men, Slopestyle Men, Halfpipe Women, and Slopestyle Women.  The Freestyle Halfpipe events are similar to Snowboard Halfpipe events, but performed on skis, which makes it obvious when a skier is traveling backwards.  The Freestyle Slopestyle events consist of runs down a slope populated with obstacles such as rails, jibs, and kickers.  Halfpipe and Slopestyle events are judged based on tricks performed in each of two passes in a round; the first round qualifies a fixed number of skiers for the final (medals) round, where the highest qualifier skis last.

Ski Jumping has one new event: Ski Jumping K90 Individual (70m) Women (a.k.a., “Ladies’ Normal Hill Individual”).  This event is simply ski jumping on the normal (smaller) hill for women, but it is the very first time women have ski jumped in the Olympic Games.  It is the equivalent event to Ski Jumping K90 Individual (70m) Men, which has been contested in every Winter Games (since 1924).

Snowboard has four new Snowboard events: Parallel Slalom Men, Slopestyle Men, Parallel Slalom Women, and Slopestyle Women.  Parallel Slalom events consist of side-by-side races between two skiers on a slalom course, and the faster of the two advances to the next round, while the slower is eliminated.  Snowboard Slopestyle events (like Freestyle Slopestyle) consist of a pair of runs per round down a slope populated with obstacles, with the highest total judged score being best; there are qualification and semifinal rounds to determine the final participants and skiing order for the final (medals) round.

For balance, here are three events that were considered but will not be contested at Sochi 2014:  Ski Mountaineering, Ski Orienteering, and Winter Triathlon.

XXII Olympic Winter Games

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are only 10 days away.

Sochi 2014The Sochi 2014 Winter Games will officially run from February 7 through February 23, 2014 (although a few events will begin a day earlier).  These XXII Olympic Winter Games were awarded to Sochi, Russia by the International Olympic Committee, and the result of years of planning and construction will finally be on display next week.

In and Digital Gamecraft are presenting information and live results and updates about Sochi 2014 via Twitter @DGOlympics and on the DGOlympics Facebook page.  I encourage you to like/follow both pages for complete and accurate coverage of the sports in these Winter Games.

Here is some of the Olympics information already posted:

  • Sochi 2014 takes place in the Moscow Time Zone (UTC+04:00), so it is 9 hours ahead of Eastern Time (and 12 hours ahead of Pacific Time).
  • Events in Sochi 2014 run from 02/06 through 02/23, starting as early as 09:00 (Curling) and as late as 23:35 (Freestyle).
  • The DGOlympics “broadcast day” will run from around 12:00am (midnight) through 3:00pm Eastern Time each day during the Winter Olympics.
  • The longest day of coverage for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be Monday, February 10; the shortest will be Thursday, February 20.
  • No athletic events are scheduled on February 7, 2014, allowing all Olympic participants to attend the Opening Ceremony.
  • The Opening Ceremony for Sochi 2014 is scheduled to begin at 20:14 local time. (See what they did there?)
  • The first Gold Medal awarded in Sochi 2014 will be for the new event Snowboard men Slopestyle (on Saturday, February 8).
  • The final athletic event will be the Ice Hockey men Gold Medal game; puck drops only 4 hours before the Closing Ceremony begins [02/23].
  • The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will have a total of exactly 100 events, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
  • There will be 98 different athletic/medal Events, in 15 Disciplines, within 7 primary Sports.
  • The 7 Olympic sports this year are Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, Luge, Skating, and Skiing.
  • Of the 98 competitive events, 12 will be contested at a Winter Olympics for the very first time (in 4 sports).
  • There will actually be 102 medal contests, as Curling and Ice Hockey each have two Bronze Medal games (men and women).
  • The smallest sports in Sochi 2014 (by number of events) are Ice Hockey and Curling with only 2 events (men and women) each.
  • The largest sport in Sochi 2014 is Skiing, which has 49 events (50% of all athletic events) in 6 different disciplines.
  • The Skiing disciplines are Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Nordic Combined, Ski Jumping, and Snowboard.
  • Specialty disciplines in other sports are Bobsleigh Skeleton, Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating, and Speed Skating.
  • The smallest discipline (by number of events) is Bobsleigh Skeleton, which has only 2 events (women Individual and men Individual).
  • The largest disciplines (by number of events) are Speed Skating and Cross Country Skiing, each of which has 12 events.

Update: Only 9 days to Sochi 2014!

  • Sochi 2014 is officially the XXII Olympic Winter Games, awarded by the IOC on July 4, 2007 (6.5 years ago).
  • This will be the very first time Russia has hosted the Winter Olympics, though Moscow hosted the Summer Games in 1980.
  • Interestingly, Russia is hosting the 22nd Winter Games, and Moscow 1980 was the Games of the XXII Olympiad.
  • The first Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix (France) in 1924, 90 years ago, and there have now been 21 held (prior to Sochi 2014).
  • 13 events (of 98) from 2014 were also contested back in 1924, though only 10 of those have been contested in every Winter Games.

Update: Only 8 days to Sochi 2014!

  • Sochi is located in southwest Russia, where the Caucasus Mountains meet the Black Sea, about 1000 miles south of Moscow.
  • The greater Sochi area has a population of around 400,000 people and is near the border with Georgia.
  • Georgia hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics, but it was an entirely different Georgia. 🙂
  • With average February high temperatures of 50° F (10° C) and lows of 38° F (3° C), Sochi is the warmest location ever for a Winter Games.
  • There are 11 new venues for Sochi 2014 in two “clusters”, the Coastal Cluster (6 venues) and the Mountain Cluster (5 venues).
  • The Coastal Cluster is in Sochi, where all 6 indoor venues for Curling, Ice Hockey, and Skating are within walking distance of each other.
  • The Mountain Cluster is up in the Caucasus Mountains, with 5 outdoor venues hosting Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Luge, and Skiing.
  • Sochi 2014 claims to be the most compact Winter Games in the history of the Olympic Movement, with the two clusters only 30 miles apart.
  • Quick Sochi 2014 fact: Ice Hockey and Nordic Combined are the only two disciplines to be held in two different venues.
  • Coastal Cluster: Adler Arena, Ice Cube Skating Centre, Shayba Arena, Bolshoi Ice Dome, Iceberg Skating Palace, and Fisht Olympic Stadium.
  • Adler Arena is the venue for all Speed Skating events; it is shaped to resemble an “ice fault” (or iceberg).
  • Ice Cube Skating Centre is the venue for all Curling matches; it is shaped, appropriately, like a curling stone (not an ice cube).
  • Shayba Arena is the smaller of the two venues for Ice Hockey; it is shaped like a hockey puck.  (‘Shayba’ means “puck” in Russian.)
  • Bolshoi (or Bolshoy) Ice Dome is the larger of the Ice Hockey venues; it is shaped like a frozen water droplet.
  • Iceberg Skating Palace is the venue for Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating, designed after a figure skating jump (or an iceberg).
  • Fisht Olympic Stadium is the venue for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies (but no athletics), with a seating capacity of 40,000.
  • The Coastal Cluster also includes a Formula One race track, scheduled to host the first ever Grand Prix of Russia on October 12, 2014.
  • The Sochi/Fisht Olympic Stadium (a.k.a., Central Stadium) will also be one of the venues for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
  • Mountain Cluster: RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre, Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Centre, Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, Sanki Sliding Centre
  • RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre is the venue for all Ski Jumping events, as well as the Ski Jumping portions of Nordic Combined.
  • Rosa Khutor Extreme Park is the venue for all Snowboard and Freestyle Skiing events, named for its geographical location.
  • Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Centre is the venue for Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon, and Skiing portions of Nordic Combined.
  • Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre is the venue for all Alpine Skiing events, with more than 12 miles of competition tracks.
  • Sanki Sliding Centre is the venue for all Bobsleigh and Luge events, having a 1.5km (almost 1 mile) long track with 18 corners.
  • RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre: “The venue’s name plays on the abbreviation of Russia to ‘Rus’ and the work ‘Ski’.”  Yup.
  • Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Centre is named after a nearby turbulent mountain river with lots of waterfalls.

Update: Only 7 days to Sochi 2014!

  • The 3 Olympic villages opened today: Coastal Olympic Village, Mountain Olympic Village, and Endurance Olympic Village.  #Sochi 2014
  • Endurance Olympic Village will house around 1,100 athletes, coaches, and officials for Biathlon and Cross Country.
  • Coastal Olympic Village will house about 2,000 people for Curling, Ice Hockey, Figure Skating, Short Track, and Speed Skating.
  • Mountain Olympic Village will house 3,000 for Alpine, Bobsleigh, Freestyle, Luge, Nordic, Skeleton, Ski Jumping, and Snowboard.
  • In Sochi 2014, there will be approximately 2800 athletes participating (2867 qualified) representing 88 different countries.
  • * The 3 athletes from India will be officially competing as Independent Olympic Participants under the IOC flag, after India was excluded.
  • The largest contingents will be from the United States (230), Russia (225), Canada (221), Switzerland (168), and Germany (152).
  • There will be 18 countries (20%) sending only a single athlete to these games (plus 3 more athletes/countries who stayed home entirely).
  • There are 7 countries that are competing in their very first Winter Olympic Games, each with either 1 or 2 athletes.
  • New participants: Dominica (DMA), Malta (MLT), Paraguay (PAR), Timor-Leste (TLS), Togo (TOG), Tonga (TGA), and Zimbabwe (ZIM).
  • 53 countries (60%) will be sending fewer than 10 athletes to Sochi 2014, while 12 (14%) will be sending more than 100 athletes.
  • The United States (USA), Russia (RUS), Canada (CAN), and Switzerland (SUI) are all sending record athletic contingents to Sochi 2014.
  • Jamaica is sending just 2 athletes, Winston Watt and Marvin Dixon, a.k.a., “Jamaica 1”, the Jamaican Bobsled Team.  #Bobsleigh
  • The United States (USA), Germany (GER), and Russia (RUS)[*] are the only countries competing in every single discipline.
  • * The Sochi 2014 information lists only USA and GER, but Russia (as host) appears to have athletes listed for every discipline as well.
  • There will also be more than 25,000 volunteers in Sochi 2014, but that is only about one third of the number for Vancouver 2010.
  • At 230 athletes, the USA contingent is the largest delegation for any nation in the history of the Olympic Winter Games.  #TeamUSA
  • The 2014 US Olympic Team has athletes representing 38 states, led by California (20), Colorado (19), Minnesota (19), and New York (18).
  • There are 13 athletes from Michigan, including Ryan Miller, Ice Hockey Goalie from East Lansing, where DGOlympics is based.
  • The average age of the 2014 US Olympic Team is 26 years old, ranging in age from 15 years (Maggie Voison) to 45 (Ann Swissheim).
  • Team USA athletes include 22 parents and 7 pairs of siblings, including twins Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux.
  • The NHL (National Hockey League) had 150 players chosen for Sochi 2014 Ice Hockey, with at least one on each of the 12 competing men teams.
  • Unfortunately, Johan Franzen (of the Detroit Red Wings) will be unable to compete for Sweden (SWE) in Sochi 2014 due to concussion.

Update: Only 6 days to Sochi 2014!

  • Sochi 2014 will have 12 brand new Olympic events, spread among 4 sports: Biathlon, Luge, Skating, and (mostly) Skiing.
  • The 12 new events are in 6 disciplines: Biathlon, Luge, Figure Skating, Freestyle, Ski Jumping, and Snowboard.
  • In Biathlon, there is one new event: Biathlon Mixed Relay, a.k.a., “2x6km Women + 2×7.5km Men Mixed Relay”.
  • Biathlon Mixed Relay has two women (6km) legs and then two men (7.5km) legs, with all athletes shooting two bouts each.
  • In Luge, there is one new event: Luge Mixed Team Relay, which will compete after all other Luge events are finished.
  • Luge Mixed Team Relay has a team of a woman single run, a man single run, and a doubles run, with one finish triggering the next start.
  • In Figure Skating, there is one new event: Figure Skating Mixed Team, which competes prior to all individual and pair events.
  • Figure Skating Mixed Team has teams of one individual man, one individual woman, one mixed pair, and one ice dance pair.
  • In Freestyle Skiing, there are 4 new Freestyle events: Halfpipe Men, Slopestyle Men, Halfpipe Women, and Slopestyle Women.
  • Freestyle Halfpipe events for both men and women are similar to Snowboard Halfpipe events, only performed on skis.
  • Freestyle Slopestyle events for both men and women are conducted on a slope with obstacles (rails, quarterpipes, and jumps).
  • In Ski Jumping, there is one new event: Ski Jumping K90 Individual (70m) Women, a.k.a., “Ladies’ Normal Hill Individual”.
  • Ski Jumping women K90 Individual (70m) is, quite simply, the very first time women have ski jumped in the Olympic Games.
  • By contrast, Ski Jumping men K90 Individual (70m) has been contested in every Winter Games (since 1924).
  • In Snowboard, there are 4 new Snowboard events: Parallel Slalom Men, Slopestyle Men, Parallel Slalom Women, and Slopestyle Women.
  • Snowboard Parallel Slalom events for both men and women have side-by-side races between two individual athletes.
  • Snowboard Slopestyle events for both men and women are conducted on a slope with obstacles (like Freestyle Slopestyle).

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As GameKeeper, I hereby declare this blog live and open for comments! is an online resource that allows people to learn about various games, including board games, table games, card games, and sports (dexterity games).

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This blog is launching at full speed in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games, so expect to see many related updates in the coming days, as well as news and results from the events.