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A group of death in a multi-stage tournament is a group which is unusually competitive, because the number of strong competitors in the group is greater than the number of qualifying places available for the next phase of the tournament. Thus, in the group phase, one or more strong competitors in the "group of death" will necessarily be eliminated, who would otherwise have been expected to progress further in the tournament. The informal term was first used for groups in the FIFA World Cup finals. It is now also used in other association football tournaments and other sports.

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  • A group of death in a multi-stage tournament is a group which is unusually competitive, because the number of strong competitors in the group is greater than the number of qualifying places available for the next phase of the tournament. Thus, in the group phase, one or more strong competitors in the "group of death" will necessarily be eliminated, who would otherwise have been expected to progress further in the tournament. The informal term was first used for groups in the FIFA World Cup finals. It is now also used in other association football tournaments and other sports.
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  • Group of death
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  • A group of death in a multi-stage tournament is a group which is unusually competitive, because the number of strong competitors in the group is greater than the number of qualifying places available for the next phase of the tournament. Thus, in the group phase, one or more strong competitors in the "group of death" will necessarily be eliminated, who would otherwise have been expected to progress further in the tournament. The informal term was first used for groups in the FIFA World Cup finals. It is now also used in other association football tournaments and other sports. After the draw for a tournament has been made, debates often arise about which of the preliminary groups is "the" group of death. This happens for multiple reasons: in part, from more general debates about the relative strengths of the various competitors; but, additionally, because there is no exact definition of the term "group of death". Sometimes, the term simply signifies a group with only the strongest competitors, all of which are potential winners of the tournament, implying there is always precisely one such group; other definitions allow for multiple groups of death or for none at all. The term is sometimes derided as a purely journalistic invention, a cliché or oversimplification based entirely on the unsportsmanlike notion that outcomes of such tournaments are largely predictable and that there are always underdogs, dark horses and top dogs.
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