Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Preview: Group B

The Contenders: This is certainly a more competitive group than Group A, but I think it's a stretch to say there are more than two legitimate playoff hopefuls. Canada and Laos made the playoffs in 2011 and I'm guessing it will be pretty much a sure thing for them to make it again. Laos made the final again last year because the team refuses to lose when the stakes are high. Canada faltered in the quarterfinals against Ireland, but after watching them in exhibition matches I think they've got a better overall team than last year.

The Challengers: This is where the group starts to get interesting. Jamaica always has a good team, but it's also a team that somehow manages to lose one or two head-scratchers every year. They get hype because Kevin plays for them, but too often this is a one-dimensional team that can't adjust to a good opponent's strategy. Afghanistan is exactly the type of squad that can cause Jamaica nightmares. Fast and good on the ball with at least one player capable of puting the team on his back. Jamaica is stronger overall, but Afghanistan will find away to exploit the small weaknesses. Colombia is barely a challenger, but they managed to beat Sudan last year so its tough to really count them out. Colombia has just enough offensive strength and just enough defensive know-how that an upset against Jamaica or Afghanistan is possible.

The Pretenders: Only one team qualifies this year and Northern Ireland won't be the worst bottom-feeder in the tournament. The team brings a lot of heart to every game and an OK amount of skill. Unfortunately, tactics and team shape matter significantly in the WCP Cup and in those two areas the Northern Irish are seriously lacking.

Predicted Order of Finish
1. Laos
2. Canada
3. Afghanistan
4. Jamaica
5. Colombia
6. Northern Ireland

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Still confused why Afgans are getting like a 400% boost from one decent player going to the team, If Jamaicas D can figure out there foot eye coordination they could give Canada and Laos a run for those 2 spots with the Afgahnies crazy selfish style getting the better of them

Playmaker said...

Except that Jamaica shows every year it can't get its defence to work together. And while there are a couple of exceptional players, Jamaica doesn't have much going for it on offense either. You focus on the main guys and nobody else is really a threat.

Anonymous said...

I think all four teams in this group are capable of making the playoffs I hope to see some good games and most of them will be really tight

Anonymous said...

Before i leave this comment, I do not play for N.Ireland and am not playing on any team in the WCP Cup...but after watching them play in the MENs tournament,at Provincials in saskatoon and through the regular season, i think N.Ireland will surprise some teams this year and upset a couple teams in there pool. They have some decent mid fielders and defence and a goalie that has known to keep them in a lot of games during the season...expect them to be a spoiler