Monday, March 28, 2011

Preview: Group A

*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: El Salvador and defending-champion Laos are far and away the two favourite teams in this group. Both teams are a bit below the talent they've had in past years, but there still shouldn't be any real challengers from the other four teams. Laos has taken the biggest roster hit between the two teams and they're still not great at the back, so I'm actually giving the advantage to El Salvador for 2010. Their game on April 16th at 10 p.m. will decide the group.

The Challengers: Columbia and Northern Ireland are once again fielding teams that are disciplined and skilled, but by no means elite. They play differing styles, with Columbia more of a possession and control team, while NI is run and shoot, but neither will get much of an advantage over El Salvador or Laos. These two match up on April 8th at 9 p.m. and it should be an interesting way to start a weekend of good games. I'm thinking that Columbia manages to do better between the two.

The Pretenders: Austria and newcomer Sudan will have their work cut out for them if they want to finish above the bottom two. Austria has never really shown much in past tournaments and they're playing 2011 without their quality starting keeper from past years. I'm not sure which players make up Sudan, but I'll go out on a limb and say that new teams rarely show well (except France) and so they're likely to run into early trouble. Sunday April 10th at 5 p.m. is the day they square off to avoid group irrelevancy.

Predicted Order of Finish
1. El Salvador
2. Laos
3. Columbia
4. Northern Ireland
5. Sudan
6. Austria


Anonymous said...

I agree with you for once Brayden lol :).

Anonymous said...

yeah i'd say that's a pretty good round up, well done.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone agrees Laos and ES are the top 2

Anonymous said...

Looks pretty much agreeable. I don't think anyone will dispute the fact that Laos and ES are the only legit contenders in this pool. While NI/Columbia aren't the worst teams in the tournament, they are a pretty big step down compared to ES/Laos imo.

Anonymous said...

I think El Savadore can beat out Laos to, so long as they can score, I think their strikers registered 1 or 2 shots all game against Jamaica and they shanked about 10 shots above the mesh so it nails the wall behind then bounces back over the mesh onto the field. pretty hilarious actually but lotsa potential

Anonymous said...

1 or 2 shots on net? What game did you watch? #24 alone had a free kick opportunity that narrowly missed and a half chance inside the 18. #20 had a few wayward volleys, yet a few strikes on net. Adam scored a goal, yet in the second half Jamaica were on the heels the whole time. Still they didn't hit the onion bag more then once which is a negative.

Side bar: How will games be reffed? I was blown away at how the Jamaican back four was allowed to defend #24. Never seen a player fouled so much and still keep going. Dangerous player.

Anonymous said...

haha whats a half chance and a narrow miss? thats no chance to me and I dont know numbers man you gotta use positions and maybe names, sounds like ur an admirer of the ES team anyway, but ya like i said i think they're good enough to make it out on top as long as they finish cuz they could have had 6 against Jam

Anonymous said...

How many chances did Jamaica have against ES?
Final: Jamaica 2 - ES 1
Game over!!!

Anonymous said...

if chances could be registered on the scoreboard, then i guess el salvador won.. but they don't, so they didn't. El salvador is good no question. give jamaica props.

Anonymous said...

I thought friendly matches didn't mean anything?

Julio said...

Let's settle down... one minute friendly matches mean nothing; the next minute they are the biggest win for a team?

It was a friendly match. It was an up and down game. Jamaica was well prepared defensively as they eliminated the middle of the pitch. Their CDM sat infront of their two massive CB's; that penetration through the middle was a challenge. A challenge that ES didn't recognize till the second half, and had one too many shot go way ward.
ES had 3 or 4 shots ring of the iron, with two good chances inside the box that should have been buried but weren't. Jamaica had 1 or 2 shots hit the wood work, but more importantly they capitalized on their chances.

At the end of the day ES lost due to the mere fact that Jamaica scored 1 more goal then they did.... simple as that. Is it the end of the world? Not really in my opinion... does Jamaica have the tools to pose a team like ES problems during the tournament... sure they do. They have size in the back, an intelligent defensive set up; and Hollness is a hell of a technical player... so include a player like Korthius to that and they will be a solid squad.

Chubs said...

I think ES is going to need some special play from rolfe and jerry to get out of this group.

Teams are gonna play ES physical and get inside their heads because its easy. Honestly I think that NI or Austria could stun them.

Laos will win this group despite key player losses, and every team will have a great time beaking Julio as he waddles around the field.

Can't wait!