It's finally here. The one day of the entire WCP Cup tournament that absolutely positiviely guarantees that every game will be entertaining. It might start late at night, it might end early Thursday morning, but all four games will be good - so get there early and don't miss anything. I took a shot before the tournament began, but here are my actual quarterfinal predictions now:
Game 1 - Laos vs Greece, 7:30 p.m.: Both teams are undefeated. Both teams aren't quite as good as their record might suggest. Laos should've lost to Sudan, but instead won; and Greece somehow managed four wins and a tie while looking like a mediocre Div 3 team the entire time. This will depend on how many of Laos' Saskatoon players participate - and I think it will be all of them. Laos has more skill, has the playoff experience and also is the defending champion. Greece is confident, fearless, and definitely has something to prove. Laos won't make the mistake of playing cautious like France did. Laos wins this 4-2.
Game 2 - Ireland vs Canada, 8:30 p.m.: Ireland has a very, very good team. They can score goals from all positions - plus have the defense to back it up. Canada is a defensive team which hasn't shown much offensively except against a weak Jamaica squad. I believe Canada is good, just not Ireland good and it will show in this matchup. Just like how Ireland tooled Norway, Ireland is going to tool Canada. Goals will come early and often. Ireland wins 6-1.
Game 3 - France vs El Salvador, 9:30 p.m.: Probably the most fun game of the night to watch. Both teams are goal-scoring capable, both have good midfielders and strikers, and both have decent goaltenders. I think what this might come down to - in a game otherwise based on skill - is the strength advantage that France possesses. El Salvador got undeniably muscled when it played a bigger and stronger Sudan team and I can easily envision that happening here to. France can tackle strong and there are too many players on El Salvador who can't match that type of physical play. France wins 3-1.
Game 4 - Poland vs Norway, 10:30 p.m.: Two teams that play the exact same style - defensive and team-first. There are no individual stand-outs on either squad but each operates exceptionally well as a unit. Both have good goaltenders, but everything will depend on how their defenses perform in front of them. I expect hard tackles, few shots and lucky bounces to decide who scores. Norway is due for lucky bounces after experiencing zero in its last game. Norway wins 3-2.