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I hope this is OK to post as after one occurrence of below last year this has been noted in the media - but I haven't seen it written as a puzzle and think it is nice enough to ask.

Mia was watching the world cup quarter-finals and saw these teams on the scoreboards at the start of the matches.

B H U T A N
C Y P R U S
P O L A N D
S W E D E N


Predictably for a puzzle; Bhutan, Cyprus, Poland and Sweden lost. Which four teams qualified for the semi-finals?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think that tag would be slightly more appropriate. Nice puzzle! $\endgroup$ – Shuri2060 May 3 '16 at 10:55
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Mia was watching world cup quarter-finals

This means there were eight teams, not four!

So what Mia really saw was

BHU - TAN
CYP - RUS
POL - AND
SWE - DEN

So if Bhutan, Cyprus, Poland, and Sweden lost, then

Tanzania, Russia, Andorra, and Denmark qualified for the semi-finals

As a kind of a "bonus," here's some of the media coverage mentioned in the question:

There’s A Weird Geographical Quirk About Sweden’s Match Against Denmark This Week

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ completely off-topic, but I imagine that that 3rd match is highly unlikely to ever happen. There is no way that the winning team would ever even qualify themselves for any major tournament, let alone make it to the semi-finals. They have only ever won a single match in a qualifier, and the coach of the losing team resigned after that because it was such a big humiliation. $\endgroup$ – Nzall May 3 '16 at 11:52
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    $\begingroup$ I agree, it'd be unthinkable, like Leicester City winning the 2015-16 Premier League ;-) $\endgroup$ – user56reinstatemonica8 May 3 '16 at 12:23

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