Ah June. Normally June is the month where we can catch our breath here at Podium Cafe. Cobbles are done, the Giro just finished, the Tour is next month and all we got now are some Tour prep races, a bunch of late in the month National Championship races, and of course the Tour de Suisse, aka the Willj Invitational.
But this is no ordinary June what with the World Cup and all that goes with it. And the Sports Gods and Goddesses are smiling on us too since all the cycling action will happen earlier in any day when World Cup games are played! Why go to work AT ALL????? (That's not a rhetorical question BTW.)
No doubt we'll have some fanposts of World Cup action as the tournament progresses but before it all starts, let's have a little competition! Because as we all know from playing VDS, we are all experts at
careful analysis picking winners by random guess and the color of the kits.
Here's the game: a World Cup Confidence Pool. Very easy to play. Even those of us who have no knowledge of the Beautiful Game and the teams involved this year stand a chance at winning. Here's the rules:
The object of the game is to score the most points by being the best to guess which teams will win the most games throughout the tournament. Simple, eh? To enter this game you email a list of the teams ranked 32-1 with #32 being the team you think will win the most, team #31 the second most and so on down to team #1 which you think will win the least amount of games (probably zero). Your entry should look something like this:
32 (Insert team name here) Let's pick Belgium here because Boonen
24 South Korea
. and so on
Make sense? Just list all 32 teams in order of which team wins the most on top, and the one you think will win the least at the bottom.
Now here comes the fun part-the scoring. Every time there's a winner of a game (and remember in group play there can be ties and so no one wins) that winning team scores the number of points that equal the ranking you have given that team. Everyone who enters this contest scores each time any team wins but the amount you score depends where you rank the team or how confident you are in that team winning a game.
Example: Say you have Brazil as your #32 team. Each win they get you get 32 points. Yea! 32 points! Now say you have Italy as your #1 team. Each game they win scores you just 1 point. Boo! Just one point! So the trick of this game is to order the teams so that those teams at the top of your list score the most points.
This game will run through the group stage and then through the knockout stages all the way til the final game. This it makes sense to make your highest ranked teams those who you think will advance out of the group stage where there are ties and into the knockout stages where each game has a winner.
There's a wrinkle in this though, some stratergy that is totally optional: often there is a team or two that starts out slow in group play, with a tie or two that then peaks in the knockout stages. Such a team (Italy loves to do this) may make the Final without winning the most games. So if you want to think about these things your rankings may get modified by how difficult the group the team is in. Take Group G, the group with Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the US. Where are the wins gonna come here? You may think Germany is the lock to win the group but will they win all three games they play or will they already be qualified for the next round by game three and then play their benchwarmers and maybe settle for a tie? Then who of the other three teams do you pick to advance and will they win one or two games? Lots of subtle factors to consider.
TIE BREAKER: GUESS HOW MANY GOALS THE WINNER OF THE TOURNAMENT WILL MAKE
Okay-make your list from 32 to 1 and email your rankings to:
VERY IMPORTANT: put your PdC user name on your entry!
I'll keep track of how we all are doing.
Deadline is Midnight June 11. Doesn't make any difference to me which time zone you are in-just any Midnight you choose as long as it is before the first game the next day (Brazil-Croatia).
Meanwhile, who you like? Which teams will surprise? Can a Euro team win in South America?