FIFA World Cup Formats

Since the first World Cup in 1930, the format for the finals has changed significantly. The first World Cup was the only tournament not to have a qualifying tournament, all the teams that attended were invited.

Once the team has qualified for the finals, they generally play some sort of group stage, with winners progressing into the next stage and subsequently a knockout format to the finals, finishing with a final match to determine the world champions.

1938 World Cup match in France1938 World Cup match in France

Here are the various formats used in previous World Cup tournaments:



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