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Making history at the World Cup

Steven LynchJuly 13, 2014
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The eight group winners all won their last 16 matches to progress to the World Cup quarter-finals. Has this ever happened before? asked Venkatesh via Twitter.

The World Cup was expanded to 32 teams in 1998, and this is the first time since then that the eight group winners have all made it to the last eight.

From 1930 to 1978 there were just 16 teams (except for 1930 and 1950, when the number went down to 13 because of late withdrawals).

In the 1966 World Cup in England, the four group leaders - England, West Germany, Portugal and the USSR - all made it to the semi-finals.

From 1982 to 1994 the finals featured 24 teams: in none of those tournaments did all the six group winners make it out of the next phase.

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