Animal Planet unveils "World Pup" bracket

Animal Planet
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Fan of puppies, but not so big into soccer? The creators of the "Puppy Bowl" have you covered for the next month.

Animal Planet unveiled the bracket for their first "World Pup" competition Thursday, to coincide with the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil.

Dogs with ties to 16 participating soccer nations have been paired up in the online contest. Viewers can vote for each match-up, with winners advancing to next week's second round.

"The World Cup is so exciting because tens of millions of people from around the world watch in anticipation of their country's performance and pin their hopes and dreams to the outcome," Miguel Monteverde, Vice President of Digital Media for Animal Planet, told "We thought 'Why just soccer? Why not puppies?'"

Team USA is represented by an Alaskan Malamute and faces off with Team France's French Bulldog in Round 1. (And as of Thursday night, it held a commanding 73-27 lead in vote percentage over the French representative.)

On the pitch, Brazil opened World Cup play with controversial 3-1 win over Croatia Thursday afternoon.

See the World Pup bracket and vote