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World Cup, NCAA Style

What if FIFA replicated the NCAA basketball model and expanded the World Cup finals to 64 teams -- well, 65 if you'd like a play-in game in Dayton or, say, Dortmund -- and essentially seeded the entire field instead of relying on imbalanced groups? We're talking about one match at a neutral site, winner advances, loser goes home.

We've got power conferences (Europe and South America) and mid-majors (Africa, CONCACAF and Asia). Sorry Oceania, but with Australia playing in Asia, you are going to the NIT. Seeds are based on FIFA rankings -- flawed, I know, but the NCAA selection committee isn't perfect either. I've also taken the liberty of moving Brazil into the top four seeds to avoid European domination. So your regional favorites are: Spain (South), Germany (East), Netherlands (Midwest) and Brazil (West).

The first round will play out with eight games per day, today through Thursday. The second round, sweet 16, regional finals and final four will be held next week.

Teams advance based on your votes. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your co-workers! Jump to the continuation of this thread to make your first four South Region picks. (The other four will be available later today.)

By Steve Goff  |  March 16, 2009; 11:44 AM ET
Categories:  FIFA , Poll  
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Next: D.C. United's Annapolis Showdown

Comments

Five/twelve matchups are the equivalent of the group of death.

Posted by: sitruc | March 16, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Where are these games being played? ;)

Posted by: Reignking | March 16, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

AAA! my sports worlds are colliding! Call the final the the World Series and i'm through.

Posted by: JB252 | March 16, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Spain and Algeria will be played at the *neutral* site of Bilboa,

Australia will play in Africa

The US will get their game in Japan

Cameroon - Dubai.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | March 16, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Goff that's just a silly idea. Especially for US soccer fans.

Posted by: Conservativemindsareinshackles | March 16, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I love this game! Which song do we play at the end of the tournament?

Posted by: hardcoco | March 16, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

so USA plays Cameroon next? hard to say who would win that one

Posted by: koolcaio | March 16, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Go ahead and have the play-in ERRRR opening round game at Dayton. Oh, wait, never mind...Welcome Stadium is fake turf.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 16, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Spain and Algeria will be played at the *neutral* site of Bilboa,

Australia will play in Africa

The US will get their game in Japan

Cameroon - Dubai.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | March 16, 2009 12:30 PM
__________________________________
If you didn't wish to extend the NCAA analogy that far, there's no reason why a single country couldn't host this format. There are fewer games (64, including a consellation game) in a single-elimination, 64-team tourney than in a 32-team, groups & slimination set up. Of course, FIFA would never go for it, because there's too much uncertainty for the big (read: money-making) teams.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | March 16, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Reignking | March 16, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the thing that makes March Madness so much fun would make this thing great to watch, but it would also kill the idea for FIFA. Namely, the fact that it makes for underdogs winning some big upsets.

But no matter how you slice it, the big dogs usually end up in the final four.

I like it. Never happen, but I like it.

Posted by: Matte | March 16, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Freaky story Reignking...A buddy of mine who just finished his second tour had pictures on his facebook of a tournament they played in vs the locals in December in the same area. The security check points were most intriguing with tons of armed dudes screening folks coming in. Also interesting was the Army team played in Revs kits...

Posted by: DadRyan | March 16, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't the Army players been in Crew kits? :)

Posted by: Reignking | March 16, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Spain v. Algeria

Torres puts two past Camus as Spain cruises to a 4-0 victory.

Posted by: edgeonyou | March 16, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"We are the Gonzaga of the World Cup, the nasty mid-major no one wants to face."

Dan Wetzel in 2005 on the US men's team. (http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=dw-worldcup120905&prov=yhoo&type=lgns)

Posted by: ChristopherJohnBrennan | March 16, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"We are the Gonzaga of the World Cup, the nasty mid-major no one wants to face."

Posted by: ChristopherJohnBrennan | March 16, 2009 4:03 PM
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Double points for being a) timely b) funny and c) pretty funny. If I remember correctly, Ghana was shaking in its collective boots

Posted by: churtmah | March 17, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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