Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Underdog... Bueller... Bueller...

I wanted to post something about which teams could possibly come from nowhere and surprise people this year. I really, really wanted to write something interesting. Then I looked at the teams and the groups again. It's pretty vanilla as far as excitement and intrigue goes.

Group A: You're looking at possibly decent teams of Columbia and Northern Ireland. In 2010 Columbia was OK, and showed the ability to beat weaker teams, so maybe if they can get lucky against Laos or El Salvador it will make things interesting. Northern Ireland usually plays one really good game each year, but from what I've seen, they're going to be the same as always.

Group B: Sierra Leone is the only team that has a chance to surprise and I'm only saying that because I have no idea who the players are. If they're good, then maybe they have a chance. If not, then its a four-way battle for third place. Portugal, England and Serbia are same as ever.

Group C: This is where I cross my fingers and hope that Botswana or Afghanistan can really come up with an inspired effort. France is going to be untouchable in this group, but maybe there's an upset to be had against Nigeria. The Nigerian's can be incredibly inconsistent so maybe they can be caught on a bad day for a big loss. Afghanistan vs Botswana on April 10 - I'm actually looking forward to this game and I'll be extremely disappointed if it ends in a tie and kills both teams' chances.

Group D: I'm not sure any team but Scotland qualifies as an underdog, and there's no way the Scots are getting out of the pool. Of the other teams, I'll say that Ukraine would be the big surprise, and if they manage to get some early wins I'll be watching them intently. Still, the intrigue from this pool comes more from which team will play poorly, rather than which team will play surprisingly well.

18 comments:

Chris said...

Considering Northern Ireland lost to a watered down Scotland team a little while back, and tying the Afghan's and Canada (Who was missing their starting GK and several other key players) I see them suprising anyone in this group.

If the Afghan's play their best team game they might suprise some teams. I watched a little of their Div 4 game the other night and they pieced together some nice runs for crossing header goals and moved the ball really well. Obviously this tournament is a step up from Div 4 Men's, but if they can manage to keep that up they might give Nigeria a run for the other playoff spot in their pool.

You're right about Group D and having Scotland as the only real underdog. This group will be more about mistakes costing a playoff spot than top notch plays moving a team forward...the other 5 could easily be considered contenders for a top 10 finish.

Chris said...

About N. Ireland, that last line should be "I DON'T see them suprising anyone"

Anonymous said...

Laos 3-3 Jamaica. Last night.

Anonymous said...

You have to remember,these games are exhibtion and dont count for anything. Most teams never have their full roster for the games. The N. Ireland game vs Scotland, they were up 3-1 and decided to play players at other positions to change it up..and as for Afghan--it was there 1st get together since last year. And N. Ireland was also missing players for the Canada game...I wouldnt count them out as I can see them being a surprise team this year. Remember, 2 years ago they did beat ROI and make it to the quarters...

Chris said...

Of course these are exhibition games and don't mean anything, but I still can't see how changing things up against Scotland had anything to do with it. Scotland had about 30 guys on the bench (tough for a team to stay focused and in the game with that many sub) and some guys that played that game would get cut from a Div. 5 men's team. And as for their 3-1 lead, Scotland let in a couple of REALLY soft goals while they were trying to figure things out on the field as well. Those goals are not going to happen against a reasonable team. And NI beating ROI? You mean the last game of the round robin that was completely meaningless to ROI and it didn't matter if they lost it???? NI has also lost some of it's stronger players since then! I would put Scotland on par with N. Ireland this year...Scotland's improved to be ok if they were in another pool and N. Ireland is the same previous years...average at best.

Anonymous said...

are there any games tonite? anyone pls post them up

peter said...

So does that mean Greece is below the underdog status.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGOxD-HhbKg

Playmaker said...

I'm thinking yes, below underdog status. I have another quote for the video:

"Greece should be thankful they're in Italy's Group again. It gives Greece a chance to win a game for the first time in two years."

Chris said...

@anon 1:57pm - The next game that I've heard about is tomorrow at 10PM (Poland vs. Laos)

Anonymous said...

Last game of the round robin or not, I watched the game and ROI played there asses off and had most of there top players in there so not sure what that has anything to do with it. And as for the exhibition games, I think anyteam can win and any day as teams are just getting all their ducks in a row....but to put Scotland at the same level as N.Ireland, I wouldnt go that far....I am not saying N.Ireland is close to being a top team..cause they arent....but last year was a rebuilding team for them and i think them playing Laos and El Salv for the first 2 games is going to make them play better....but stranger things have happened in this tourny....I just hope all teams come out to play and most of the games are close...makes it for better games

antonio said...

who cares about exhibitions games and the scores most of the teams like laos are missing half of their players anyways, so the score doesnt even matter.

Jonah said...

Do not sleep on Afghanistan coming out of their group.

Julio said...

I must say that this may be the only time I support a Playmaker comment, but I also saw that Greece video and had a solid laugh at the quotes that they got from this site... I was abit upset that none of my great Greece references made the video... but I guess you win some, and you lose some.

Kirk O'Dooley said...

Now I don't think by any means that Greece have a good shot at winning the WCP Cup, but I don't think we can count them out from ruining the tournament for a team or two. Greece doesn't really give up, and they play because they love playing the game. A group of guys that love the game and want to win can do a lot of damage to any team.

Anonymous said...

anyone interested in playing Nigeria this sunday at 11 PM?

Anonymous said...

great article, i think Norther Ireland can surprise ppl cos they have the same team from last yr and they play hard game in game out, sierra Leon from that one game Ive seen them playing, i don't think they have any chance, Portugal on the other side can do some damage, Afghanistan have a chance in this group only that Nigeria doesn't have a reliable goalie while Afghans do, that's the only way they have a shot coming out this group, Scotland have no chance this yr may be next yr, i don't know why ppl think Ukraine is an under dog, they have a very strong team and a reliable goalie, so to me they are contenders to win the group

Kirk O'Dooley said...

I never thought Ukraine to be an underdog. I think it is because they are getting less attention then previous years. They are strong, and will be a tough opponent to play. Every game they play will be a good one to watch.

Anonymous said...

every game in group D is going to be exciting to watch... even scotland, because we all know when anyone plays scotland, everyone will be cheering for an upset