South Korea lost, but they’re still playing. How do World Cup eliminations work?

Team South Korea lost its first game against France, 4-0, and on Wednesday, they played Nigeria (ultimately falling 2-0). They’ll play Norway on Monday. Why weren’t they eliminated after their first game?

The answer: Women’s World Cup elimination rules.

Many of us are familiar with single-elimination tournaments or 5-7 game series against the same team, but the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup works a little differently.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup comprises 24 teams, separated into six groups, Group A - Group F, with four teams in each group. In what’s called the “group stage,” a team plays every other team in its group, three matches total.

A team is awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. The two teams with the most points at the end of the group stage advance to the “knockout rounds,” or “the round of 16.”

From there, it’s good old-fashioned single-elimination. Since knockout games can’t end in draws, FIFA rules state that if a game is tied at the end of regulation, they’ll play two more 15-minute periods. If it’s still tied, the game goes into a penalty shoot-out.

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Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.