Germany Celebrates, Thanks for Playing and Football Survivor Now Open

Germany celebrates World Cup victory

Germany celebrates their fourth World Cup victory, and we congratulate the winners in our World Cup Pool. On to football! American football, that is, and our annual NFL Football Survivor Pool.

World Cup Pool Review and Winners Announced

That month of international soccer action went fast! The 2014 Brazil World Cup came to a close with Germany celebrating its victory over Argentina. Argentina gave Germany a lot more to handle than I expected they would going into the game, and it was a pretty interesting affair with glorious chances for both sides, especially in the first half.

Just when it seemed it was going to penalties to decide it – penalties no one wants to see to decide a championship, but penalties that keep everyone on the edge of their seats – Germany breaks through with a late goal to seal the deal. Congrats to Germany for the win. Well deserved.

This of course also marked the conclusion of our World Cup Pool, and there are definitely some big congratulations to hand out for this. It was by far the biggest pool in MyOfficePool.ca history. We had 3,177 entries, 291 sub-groups, four rounds of straight up, pick the winner selections, and in the end, one overall champion, and one single second place finisher.

And you guys were worried about there being a bunch of ties at the top of the results table! Okay, there were six tied for third place. All of the top spots were decided by the last game, so it swung completely on the Germany vs. Argentina result.

Congrats to mlevasky finishing 1st place overall with 97 points! mlevasky went perfect in the knockout round, plus picked 7 of 8 Group Stage winners (very few got Costa Rica right). She wins $150, cash and credit towards a future pool. Nicely done!

Second place goes to jerrym64 with 96 points! Jerry wins $75. Third place is a tie at 95 points between the following members: Cheefmont, Dunkley, Jenn_Li, klinsi_18, Saldanha FC and World_Champ.

As the third place prize is only $25, I am randomly drawing one of the six names to award that prize to. And the winner is . . . Cheefmont! Congratulations to all of our winners! I will contact each of you soon to pay out the prizes.

Thank You For Playing!

The numbers for our World Cup Pool blew away my wildest expectations. And, I can admit this now, I was a little stressed the website was going to slow to a crawl when all of you showed up! Thankfully everything seemed to go pretty smoothly from start to finish.

Thanks everyone for trying out the website. I hope your pool group playing against friends, family and co-workers went well. I appreciate all of the kudos received, and even a few donations or other support of the website for pulling this off.

I can’t wait to do it again – honestly! Four years for the next World Cup to be played in Russia. That seems like a long wait, so in the meantime we’ll have to amuse ourselves with our regular annual pools, which brings me to . . .

Football Survivor Now Open

What is typically our biggest pool every year, except in a World Cup year, is our annual NFL Football Survivor Pool. This is a simple yet challenging, potentially frustrating, but very fun pool concept.

For Week 1 of the NFL season, which starts early September, pick one team to win its game straight up (no point spread). If they win, then you advance to the next week. If they lose, then you are out of the pool. The last person standing is our survivor pool champ. Oh, and you can not pick the same team twice! Last year we had a single winner decided in Week 12 from 212 entries. At $20 per entry, Cacciatorini won just over $4,000.

Similar to the World Cup Pool, and for the first time ever, I am going to offer free do-it-yourself, create your own group options for our Football Survivor Pool. There will also be a pay-to-play pool as I have run in the past.

These are not quite ready yet, but what I need to know is who amongst our now big group of members who played in the World Cup Pool follow the NFL and are interested in our football pools? If you are, then please let me know by joining – for free – the overall Football Survivor Pool.

Simply login, go to the pool page and click Join. Pick a team for Week 1 and submit your pick, and you should see your username in the results page and receive an email confirmation. Don’t worry about making your pick so early, because you can always come back and change it later.

By joining the overall pool, then I know you are interested in NFL football, and I will send updates to you when the new features are ready, plus pick reminders closer to the season. If you are not interested, then thats cool. You likely will not hear from me again until four years time. Please feel free to check back in if you are keen for any of our other annual pools, such as NHL Hockey Playoffs or March Madness Survivor.

If anyone has any questions then please send them to me via email, tweet or Facebook post. Thanks once again for visiting MyOfficePool.ca!

World Cup Pool Update – Semi-Finals Tuesday and Wednesday, Final Sunday

Neymar of Brazil lies on the pitch after picking up an injury next to Marcelo of Brazil and James Rodriguez of Colombia during the FIFA World Cup 2014 quarter-final match soccer between Brazil and Colombia at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, July 4, 2014. Photographer: Marius Becker/DPA/Icon Sportswire

Sometimes it is hard to tell faking from not faking. Neymar is down and reportedly out for Brazil’s semi-final match against Germany on Tuesday with a fractured vertebra suffered against Colombia in the quarter-finals. Photo: Icon Sportswire

I kept waiting for the upsets, and they just didn’t happen. Every quarter-final game was closely contested to the very end, but in the end, none of the lesser ranked than their opponent France, Colombia, Belgium or Costa Rica could knock out Germany, Brazil, Argentina or the Netherlands, respectively.

Although technically Costa Rica was the closest to pulling off an upset, taking their game against the Netherlands to penalty kicks, from what I saw they appeared to be outplayed more than the other three quarter-final losers. The Dutch just couldn’t put one in past the Costa Rica keeper. When the Netherlands took their penalties they were absolutely clinical scoring four straight, not even needing the fifth shot. Props to Costa Rica though, as they were the biggest Cinderella team to make it to the final eight.

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FIFA/Coca-Cola World Soccer Rankings prior to the 2014 World Cup. In every quarter-final match the higher ranked team beat the lower ranked team. Although I’m not sure how these points work, it is a good bet #1 ranked Spain will be moving down in the next update.

Now, final four! The semi-finals are slated for Tuesday, Germany versus Brazil, and Wednesday, Argentina versus Netherlands. Brazil is in potentially deep doo-doo, having lost captain Thiago Silva with his second yellow card of the tournament against Colombia, and star striker Neymar with a fractured vertebra. I’ll admit it, I thought he was faking, wasting time near the end of the game with Brazil trying to hold their one-nil advantage. As for Silva’s yellow card, that was a really dumb play disrupting the keeper’s drop-kick to take his second yellow.

Argentina has a pretty significant injury in their match too, losing Angel Di Maria to a thigh injury that will keep him out against Netherlands. Outside of Lionel Messi, Argentina’s most dangerous player this tournament was Di Maria, having scored the lone goal in their Round of 16 win over Switzerland.

The World Cup Final is set for Sunday at 3:00 Eastern. My rec men’s league was really thinking ahead. We normally play at 4:00 Sundays, but this week we moved all games to 11:00am. Nice. However, my daughter has an out of town soccer festival (they are no longer called tournaments), so that means I miss my game. Boo! Hopefully the festival schedule runs along nicely and we are out of there in time to get home for the big game.

For our World Cup Pool, its unfortunate we didn’t get at least an upset or two the last two rounds, because it therefore became incredibly difficult for players to catch up. Our Group Stage picks ultimately made a huge impact in the pool. In the overall pool standings, delpiero still holds down 1st place on his own with 76 points. OHENRY is in 2nd with 74 points. Then we have four entries tied for 3rd place with 73 points.

This round, the final round of the pool, everyone needs to pick the winners of each semi-final and the final at the same time. The semi-finals are worth 7 points each, and the final, 10 points. Needless to say, it would seem whoever is going to win this pool, and perhaps even finish in the Top 3, is going to need to go perfect on these picks.

Since the teams are so evenly matched, there probably won’t be one team that will dominate the majority of picks. We should have every possible combination of Germany or Brazil, Netherlands or Argentina, and any of the four ultimately hoisting the trophy. Could one of the two remaining European teams finally break the, “never won a World Cup in South America” stat we’ve heard almost daily since June? Lets just hope the referees don’t negatively influence the outcome.

Thanks everyone for playing in the World Cup Pool! I hope it worked out very positively for you and your group. Enjoy the final games before we go into another long four year wait to the next World Cup.

World Cup Pool Update – Quarter-Finals Start Friday

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Which was more unbelievable, the Swiss header off the post versus Argentina, or U.S.A. missing this golden opportunity to win in regulation versus Belgium?

Wow, those Round of 16 games were incredible! Amazing how close so many of them were, including extra time, penalty shootouts, late goals and ridiculous near misses. I’m not sure which was more amazing, in terms of misses, the Swiss header off the post off the leg and wide, which would have tied it up in extra time versus Argentina, or the United States late regulation time, miss-hit, should have tapped or volleyed past the keeper but fired it over the net versus Belgium. If only this website had a poll function.

What is perhaps even more baffling is that this round of games were so close, yet the favourite advanced in every case. The way our World Cup Pool is designed, if you fall behind early, you become almost compelled to make some long shot picks. This was not the round for that, but anyone who took their chances and picked Chile, Mexico, or really any of the underdogs (except perhaps U.S.A. as I believe that was more homerism by our friends south of the border), I commend your bravado. It just didn’t work out this time.

Now, the quarter-finals round is up next! It starts Friday July 4th with two games, and continues Saturday July 5th with two games. Here is the schedule:

  • France vs. Germany, Friday at 12:00pm Eastern
  • Brazil vs. Colombia, Friday at 4:00pm
  • Argentina vs. Belgium, Saturday at 12:00pm
  • Netherlands vs. Costa Rica, Saturday at 4:00pm

These games look a lot tougher to pick than the last round, and those were tougher than they appeared to be. The way the other games went, one can’t help but wonder if the likes of Germany, Brazil, Netherlands are a bit overrated (yeah, I said it). Or are they just building towards a big finish? I wouldn’t count anyone out at this point to hoist the trophy on July 13th.

For the pool, make sure to submit picks for all of the quarter-final games by kickoff of the first game, Friday at noon. After the quarter-finals round, the semi-finals and final are picked together, with picks due prior to kickoff of the first semi-final. That game is on Tuesday July 8th at 4:00pm.

To submit your picks, login and go to the pool results page. Then click on your username and it will take you to your picks page. Remember to hit submit picks! You should receive a pick confirmation email, and absolutely should see your picks on the results page if they submitted properly before the deadline.

Thanks for playing in the pool, and good luck!