*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: The games for Group D are going to mirror playoff games in terms of quality, and only the teams that are toughest mentally and physically will get through. Germany, Poland and Canada all fit that mold and it will be a battle between these three for overall supremacy. Germany and Poland will get to go early as they face each other on April 3rd at 8 p.m., while Canada faces Poland a weak later on the 10th at 6 p.m. Canada vs. Germany on April 17th at 8 p.m. should decide the group. Except...... Germany gets one more game. The very next day, on the 18th, Germany gets to face Scotland. And just like in 2010 when Germany pummeled the weak Scots 12-1, the Germans can ensure they have the best goals-for at the end of two weeks. (Poland's final game is the 16th against Jamaica, so Germany plays TWICE after Poland is done).
The Challengers: Five teams in this group are good, but Jamaica and Ukraine aren't quite on the same level as the first three. Jamaica hasn't made the playoffs since its semifinal appearance in 2007 and the defense and keeper will ensure that stays the same. Plenty of goals in every game means tons of excitement though so make sure Jamaica's contests are in your calendar. Ukraine is going to succumb to being a good team, but not a very good or great team. While they have many Yorkton players, they don't have Benno, and that really makes all the difference in the world.
The Pretenders: If you're keeping score at home then you already know that the only team remaining is Scotland. I feel bad for the Scots because this is a rebuilding year and getting continuously destroyed is not a good way to build optimism or team morale. I sincerely hope that the young players can somehow find a way to stay motivated and can put in a good, quality effort against Germany in the final game. That would be a good way to go out on a high note.
Predicted Order of Finish