Meaning of “group stage” in the English Dictionary

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"group stage" in British English

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group stagenoun [ C ]

/ˈɡruːp ˌsteɪdʒ/ /ˈɡruːp ˌsteɪdʒ/

in football and some other sports, the first part of a cup competition when teams are divided into groups and the teams in each group play against each other. The winner or winners of each group then move onto the next part of the competition:

the group stage of the Champions League

(Definition of “group stage” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)