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It won't be much longer before the eyes of the soccer world will be zeroing in on the United States and the World Cup. After an extensive elimination process involving 141 countries, 24 will play off for the holy grail of soccer this summer.
The 1994 World Cup should be one of the more memorable happenings of the '90s, particularly since it will introduce several intriguing new rules designed to enhance scoring - namely, the Back-Pass rule and the brand new "Three Points for a Win" first-round rule.
The Back - Pass rule has already proven its worth by eliminating the stalling that defensive-minded teams have been doing for years. The change has caused many teams to revamp their tactics and formations to intensify their pressure on the defenders and goalkeepers. The rule has encouraged a better game flow and, most importantly, produced more scoring chances.
The "Three Points for a Win" rule has long been overdue and will be of major import in the first round.
Up until the 1994 World Cup, first-round teams were awarded two points for a win and one point for a tie. The 24 teams, divided into six groups of four each, are guaranteed three matches via a round-robin in its group.
The two top teams in each group advance to the second round, along with the four third-place finishers with the most points. The second and succeeding rounds become a single-elimination competition.
In the past, all of the 24 teams …