In my (increasingly rare) spare time, I’ve been using the APBA Soccer 2014 World Cup set to stage a single-elimination tournament with all 32 World Cup squads. Only eight of the thirty-one total games have been completed so far, but it has been a lot of fun to see how the brackets are beginning to take shape.
In the first round, I set up the brackets so that squads that finished first in their group in real-life would face the squads that finished fourth. Second-place finishers would face third. Additionally, I set up the brackets so that if every #1 and #2 won their first round matchup, then the Round of 16 in my tournament would look exactly like the Round of 16 in the real-world tournament held last summer.
Now that all the 1-v-4 games have been completed, the bracket shows that there have been only two upsets: England destroyed Costa Rica by a score of 5-0, and Ghana upset the 2014 World Cup champion Germany side by a score of 2-1.
Before playing the games, I would have picked England over Costa Rica as the most likely upset. The England 2014 cards in this APBA set are very strong – probably over-carded, if you ask me – and Costa Rica, though they played very well in the real-life tournament, doesn’t have any cards nearly as impressive as any of the top FIVE English cards. The 5-0 victory by The Queen’s lads was a bit of a fluke, however, due to lucky dice rolls. Costa Rica had six shots-on-goal but never found the net, despite English GK Joe Hart’s APBA card that has 12 “10s” – translating to a 67% save rate. Odds had Costa Rica converting at least two of those chances.
On the flip side of the luck coin, England had 8 shots-on-goal and FIVE goals to show for them. Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas actually has one of the best keeper cards in the set, with only 7 “10s” – translating to an 81% save rate. Odds were that England shouldn’t have had more than two goals.
Ghana versus Germany may have been more shocking, but it wasn’t as fluky. Germany’s squad in this set is hampered by very poor SOG rates, and it showed in this game. They had 14 shots, but only 5 on frame. Ghana had half as many shots, but hit the target on three of them, and found the back of the net twice on those. Though Germany won the run-of-play, they just couldn’t convert at the opportune moments, and Ghana’s 80th minute goal by captain Assamoah Gyan proved to be the difference.