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World Cup, NCAA Style (East Region)

Let's wrap up the first round of our mock World Cup using NCAA-style seeding and pairings with the East Region, anchored by Germany. Four matchups to vote on in this thread, four more in a bit.

By Steve Goff  |  March 19, 2009; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  FIFA , Poll  
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Weak bracket!

Posted by: Reignking | March 19, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Egypt vs Ghana is a good 8 v 9 matchup. Ghana has more famous players at the big Euro level but Egyptians are starting to show up on those rosters now, too and they do very well at the African Cup of Nations.

Paraguay is dominating South American WC qualifying, already 6 points ahead of 2nd place Brazil:

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | March 19, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: joedoc1 | March 19, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The people picking Ghana over Egypt clearly didn't watch last year's African Cup of Nations. Ghana was pretty underwhelming in the knockout stage, while Egypt just picked apart its much more heralded opponents, including pretty much total domination of the Ivory Coast. Yes, Ghana has some seriously top-tier individual players, but the Egyptian _team_ played exceedingly well together.

Posted by: edgeonyou | March 19, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Egyptian players are finally getting their due in Europe. I guess soccer fans here haven't caught up, yet.

Now then -- who is the wise guy that picked Gabon?

Posted by: fischy | March 19, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised of the lead Ghana has. It should be much closer. Egypt is two time champs in Africa. Solid team. My analysis came down to a friendly they both played in February in Cairo. 2-2 tie. So I imagine in neutral site Ghana would win.

Posted by: silentbat | March 19, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

RE Egypt-Ghana: N African teams have historically focused more on that tournament and on wining the continental title (esp Egypt and Tunisia), while sub-Saharan teams have tended to put more emphasis on the World Cup (Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal). One interesting exception is Mali, which has done well against N African teams over the past few ACNs.

So, here we're talking WC so I would go with Ghana on that subjective basis.

Posted by: Modibo | March 19, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Its interesting to catch when people don't keep up with what's been going on. Colombia's been a non-entity for more than a decade, a few years ago i convinced myself they were having bad luck (stronger +/- in GD, unfortunate close losses)but in the case of Israel. Come on people. Colombia has two wins in 10 qualifyers so far, they're in seventh place in a confed in which only 4 teams get straight tickets. Israel, coming off a campaign in '05 in which they finished tied for second, but missed the world cup on goal differential, and registered not a single loss in a group that included France, Ireland and Switzerland (the Swiss had the strongest D in the cup in '06, the French finished runer up, and Ireland isn't bad either), now Israel is again, 2nd in their group in qualifying, and no defeats again (they haven't lost a world cup qualifyer since 2001) and yet 73% of the people voting expect Colombia to win, a Colombia that hasn't done anything of note in more than a decade.

Israel isn't all that noticeable, but they would be if they could qualify out of Asia, instead of being forced to qualify out of UEFA due to anti-semitism.

Also picking Ghana over Egypt? It's something I'd typically do as well, but with Egypt owning back to back nations cup crowns, and well on its way to qualifying for their first world cup in forever, i really think Egypt should get the love. They've done it head to head for a while.

No issues with the other games, but come on people, I'm not demanding agreement with me, but I'd at least like to see what kind of justification there is to view Colombia as superior to Israel at this point. It's not 1993, it's 2009, and Israel has gone 18 straight world cup qualifyers since they've been defeated in UEFA (amazing stat), they've failed to qualify strictly because of ties.

Posted by: graywolfe81 | March 19, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Israel can't beat Hamas in Lebanon, so how could they possibly beat Colombia?

Posted by: WorldCup | March 19, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm always suspicious of Egypt, because they repeatedly fail to make it to the World Cup despite being able to do so well every time out in the Cup of Nations. If they don't make it out of their very weak group this time, they should consider hanging it up and focusing on some other sport. Since this is an international tournament, I took Ghana.

Israel has done well recently and has some pretty good players, but I wonder how they would cope with a faster, more technical opponent. They overachieve in Europe against the more physical teams, because I think it suits their style more. It would be a very good clash of styles.

Paraguay would be a strong sleeper pick. No superstars, not much flash, but there are few teams in the world that I'd want to play less.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 19, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

no pk winners so far

Posted by: douglasquaid | March 19, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

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