In the summer of 1998, my wife Sharleen, her brother Arlan and I had a contest to see who could pick the best teams in that year’s World Cup. For the prize of an ice cream cone, we each picked 8 teams and kept track of their progress. Sharleen won the ice cream and France won the World Cup. In 2002, when the World Cup rolled around again, Sharleen and I had moved to Morocco. Brazil won their record fifth World Cup that year and Sharleen won another scoop of ice cream. In 2006, we had a decent internet connection, so the game went global. A staggering 8 relatives played. Of course, any event that big needs a name. BISERGS was the best I could come up with and it has stuck ever since. Even with the added competition, Sharleen won yet again. In the 2010 edition of the BISERGS, the field was expanded to 24 relatives. There were nephews, nieces, parents, children, stepsiblings, and in-laws all vying for the coveted prize of being called the BISERGS for four years. We also had a real prize, Lionel Messi’s Argentina jersey (well, not really his, of course). In the end, when Spain lifted the Cup in South Africa, it wasn’t Sharleen, but her mom, Carol Barrera wearing the Messi shirt. It was also the first time we had a website for the BISERGS. If you played last time, you may want to click back there for nostalgia’s sake.
World Cup Basics
32 nations will be competing in the World Cup this summer. The field of 32 teams has been divided into 8 groups of 4 teams each. During the first two weeks of the tournament, each team will play three matches against the other teams in their group. The top two teams from each group advance to the knock-out stage of the tournament. In this stage, teams are paired off and the winning team of each match advances and the losing team is eliminated. There is a round of 16, a quarter-final round, a semi-final round and the championship match.
On May 10th, all 35 BISERGS participants had their name placed into a hat. One by one, names were be drawn out and put into their draft order. Matt Snyder was picked first and receives the first pick of the first round, the second pick goes to Rick Samuelson. To keep things fair, the draft order for the second round is flipped. So, the Cookie Snyer, who has the last pick of the first round, gets the first pick of the second round. Conversely, Matt Snyder has to wait until the last pick of the second round. The third and fourth rounds will mirror the first and second rounds. To well in the BISERGS, you have to select the teams that are most successful in the World Cup.
Teams in the Draft
Since 35 people are competing in the BISERGS and they each get four teams, each World Cup team will be available to be picked by 5 BISERGSers. The following formula was used to determine how many Brazils, Spains, Argentinas and Germanys will be available in the BISERGS draft.
[(Number of Participants +1) x 4] ÷ 32
The result of this formula were rounded up. 35 people signed up to play the BISERGS [(35+1)x4] ÷ 32 = 4.5 This result was rounded up to 5, meaning that there will be 5 of every team available in the draft. Each participant is only allowed to “own” a team once, so you cannot select the same team in both the first and second rounds.
Picking the Teams
On May 30th, when every BISERGS participant has submitted their preferred draft order, the teams will be picked. Each World Cup team will be available to be selected 5 times. When it is your turn to pick, you will be given the highest remaining available team on your list. The draft will continue until each participant has four teams.
Your teams will earn you points throughout the World Cup. In the group stage of the tournament, wins are worth 3 points, draws are worth 1 point and losses get you nothing. Each goal your team scores is worth ½ a point and goals your team allows lose you a ¼ point. As stated above, each World Cup team is guaranteed three matches in the group stages, but the best 16 teams advance to the knock-out stage. The points are the same in the round of 16. In the quarter-final, matches are worth 1.5 times the group stage matches. The semi-final is worth double points and the championship match is worth triple points. In addition to points, a victory for your team earns them the right to play another round and gain you even more points. There is a third place match that will be valued the same as the group stage matches.
Points and leader boards will be updated on the website every day throughout the tournament, so you can always see how you are doing.
*In the knock-out stages of the World Cup, there can be no draws, so some matches go to penalty shootouts. In those cases, goals scored in the shootout don’t count as goals (1/2 a point) or goals against (-1/4 point). The losing team earns one point for a draw because they finished a full match, plus 30 minutes of extra time tied, and the winning team earns three points for a victory.