Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Preview: Group B

*We're in the final week run-up to the 2011 WCP Cup and it's time to get the tournament predictions in order. I'll cover Groups A, B, C and D on a different day throughout the week, and get to the quarterfinals, semifinals and final on Friday. For Saturday, the first day of the tournament, I'll have an interesting surprise post.*

The Contenders: Past WCP Cup champions Norway and Ireland are going to be the class of the group and will by far offer the most enticing match-up. The two teams have a history: the most memorable game between them being the 2007 final in which Norway prevailed 4-3 in overtime. Neither team is afraid of the other, they both play hard (and sometimes a little dirty), and the biggest challenge will see which teams' defense breaks before the other. Ireland has undeniable skill, Norway has undeniable heart and it will be close. I'm guessing the game on April 17th at 5 p.m. will end in a tie, so I'll give Ireland the group based on the goals-for tiebreaker.

The Challengers: Two teams trying to resurrect past success are Serbia and Portugal. While Serbia has never made the playoffs, it has had some memorable games and memorable goals. Portugal has made the playoffs in the past and has even knocked out Norway one year in the round-robin. Don't take that history lightly as memories seem to last forever when the WCP tournament is concerned. In fact, Portgal crushed Serbia 8-2 when the teams faced off in 2010, so there might be a little animosity in this years' version. The game between these two on April 3rd at 5 p.m. will determine which one has a chance to make it through.

The Pretenders: The final two teams have a chance to make things interesting, but my gut is telling me that England and Sierra Leone are going to fall justthisshort. England had some close ones in 2010 - including tying Serbia 3-3 - but ultimately finished a woeful dead last in Group C behind both Portugal and Serbia respectively. Sierra Leone is the wild card as a new entry, but as I said for Group A and Sudan, new teams rarely show well. I'll give Sierra Leone the benefit of the doubt (I have no idea who is on the team) and say it will beat England when the two play on April 9th at 8 p.m.

Predicted Order of Finish
1. Ireland
2. Norway
3. Portugal
4. Serbia
5. Sierra Leone
6. England


Anonymous said...

Lay off the booze...

Anonymous said...

I think your finishing order is correct but i do not think you(Norway), will play good enough to earn a tie against ROI. I am by no means an ROI fan i just think they have to much for you guys to handle. I Predict a 5-1 Ireland win.


Anonymous said...

Is it possible to be able to comment on the polls? I think that would be interesting.

Playmaker said...

I don't think it's possible to comment on the polls. I'll keep chacking but so far I've found no way. If you want, leave a comment in a thread and if it's interesting I'll make it into an actual post.

Julio said...

A Tie with ROI? I only think that feat is possible if Norway scores early and plays the Yorkton shell all day.... that would the lead to some frustration within the ROI goal scorers, but even then the pitch is so compact I don't see how they wouldn't score a long range cracker... especially someone like David or Brett or Nathan Reis.

Player for Player, Norway doesn't come close to matching up with ROI talent. According to Collin's blog, Stefan is Norway go to player... and that says enough right there. If ROI plays like a bunch of individuals and Norway has a spectacular group effort then a tie possible... sadly much of Norway's success comes through their size and physicality which can easily be matched by ROI. Even a little guy like Brett Levis plays hard and isn't afraid of a tough challenge.

I think a scoreline of 5-1 is drastic, Norway will play for full 50 mins or however long the match is... I think a realistic score line is 4-2... with a late Norway goal to make the score line more respectable.

Anonymous said...

So what makes Norway dangerous enough to challenge a team like ROI with a draw heading into this years tournament?

How will Norway make up for the lack of skill entering that game? Will they play all out defense and hope for a counter? Do they have something special planned?

Anonymous said...

Reply to comment at March 29, 2011 10:42 AM

Their special plan is wishful thinking. Good luck Norway bc you will need it

Anonymous said...

Where can we someone get team rosters?

Playmaker said...

Hey all. Can't link to the new blog unfortunately. After the lawyer deals its become an issue and not allowed to be associated. Google is a wonderful thing, use it wisely.

Anonymous said...

ROI has some new 18 yr old kid from Ireland on their roster who I heard was unbelievable. Anyone know him or seen him play?