So, you’re fired up about the World Cup, but you’re not sure how all of this works. Here are three things to know:
1. How the tournament is structured: There are eight four-team groups, and the four teams in each group play each other round-robin style. The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage, essentially a 16-team, single-elimination tournament much like March Madness. It’s win or go home.
2. How does a team advance out of its group? In group stage matches, a team receives three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. At the end of group play, the two teams in each group with the most points will advance to the knockout stage.
3. When the U.S. plays: The United States is in Group G. It will play Ghana at 5 p.m. Monday on ESPN; Portugal at 5 p.m., June 22 on ESPN; and Germany at 11 a.m. June 26 on ESPN.