Six big openers today and it should be a fun time, especially later tonight.
El Salvador vs Italy, 5 p.m. - I don't expect this Group D game to be too competitive. El Salvador has a good midfield and should make quick work of Italy all over the field. Italy has plenty of heart so they'll put in a good effort, but ES was a semifinalist last year and Italy always settles for 4thish. ES wins 6-1.
Northern Ireland vs Canada, 6 p.m. - Canada is the definition of TEAM when it comes to players knowing their roles. Canada has plenty of skill at every position but uses its team discipline to gain the biggest advantage. Against Northern Ireland that discipline will show most prominently in the defensive end so expect some easy goals. Canada wins 5-0.
Sudan vs Botswana, 7 p.m. - Sudan is coming off a tough loss vs Ireland but there's nothing better to cure losing woes than beating up on a weak team. Sudan probably won't put on a great show, but it also won't need to. Botswana has too many holes defensively to get an upset win. Sudan wins 5-2.
Poland vs Nigeria, 8 p.m. - This will be the second-best game of the night so don't miss it. The seasoned and hungry Poles get a challenge right off the bat against a Nigerian team eager to avenge 2011's disappointing showing. Nigeria relies on great speed and strength. Poland is methodical, patient and doesn't get phased about anything. Poland wins a tight one 4-3.
Greece vs Norway, 9 p.m. - Best game of the night and I previewed it already. Going to be a cracker.
Laos vs Afghanistan, 10 p.m. - This will be an interesting match-up for the first game of Group B. Laos may get some ugly wins but they get them consistently and they don't disappoint during the group stage. Afghanistan wants to make a splash with some new players and believes it is ready for the playoffs for the first time ever. I think the spotlight favours Laos and the 2011 bridesmaids win 6-4.