The FIFA World Cup money round

money

PRETORIA, South Africa Everyone wants desperately to achieve second-round grace here in South Africa. It’s only natural. Advancement out of the first round puts you in the top half of the field, it extends the stay and gives your contingent a sweet lick off the lollipop of knockout-round soccer.

It’s the “third base” of World Cup; it ain’t exactly “going all the way,” but it sure gives you something to tell your friends about.

But in terms of cold, hard FIFA cash, getting into the quarterfinals is where it’s at.

Sixteen teams here receive $8 million for showing up and playing in the first round. So let’s just pick a team at random. Say, uh … France. For showing up and making a freakin’ cartoon of themselves, they get $8 million US. Well done, you bunch of French banana slugs.

But here’s the kick in the head. For making the second round, teams receive only an additional $1 million. So the eight second-round losers will get $9 million for their stay in South Africa.

But the quarterfinalist really begin raking it in. Teams finishing 5-8 receive $14 million. (Those would be the quarterfinal losers.) From there, fourth place receives $18 million, third place gets $20 million, runner-up receives $24 million.

The king lion here at SA 2010 takes home a cool $30 million. And like they say where I’m from about such a sum: pretty soon, you’re talking about real money.

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