Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2013 WCP Cup Quarterfinals Preview

Historically, the night of the men's quarterfinals has always been the best. Good games, consecutively, and the stakes can't be any higher. Hopefully we're not subjected to any stinkers, but Group D is participating so we'll see.

France vs Nigeria, 7 p.m. - I don't envision any scenario in which France loses this game. France can score almost at will, has an exceptional midfield and its defense and goaltending are stellar. In contrast, Nigeria always seems to be all over the map. It has a fast and athletic squad that can't play in any sort of system and seems to give up plenty of weak goals. I still stare in disbelief when I come across the scoreline of their Canada game. France takes it handily 5-1.

Serbia vs Afghanistan, 8 p.m. - This will be the first game of the tournament that I see Serbia play so maybe they'll shock and awe. I doubt it though. Group D was weak and even that Ireland win kind of screams fluke. Afghanistan came out of the cruel Group B and had solid results against Jamaica, Laos and Germany. Even if all the Saskatoon players aren't there, I still think Afghanistan will prevail. Afghanistan wins 3-2.

Jamacia vs Ireland, 9 p.m. - Biggest upgrade for Jamaica this year was on the defensive and goalkeeping side of things. It helps to have a very strong midfield, but in past years Jamaica could never resist the urge to let the opponent score terrible goals all the time. I haven't seen Ireland play, but their roster is still a strong one and I can't imagine they would bring anything less than their A game for a quarterfinal. I'm predicting upset. ROI wins 4-3 with high potential for OT and PKs.

Sudan vs Poland, 10 p.m. - Saved the best game for last and I just hope kick-off isn't actually something like 10:45 or 11:00. That would be the worst. These two teams met in a great quarterfinal a year ago which I honestly thought Poland would win before Sudan started their roll to the championship. Poland has arguably the best defense of any team in the tournament while Sudan has by far the most electrifying attacking options. I think this game will come down to goalkeeper play and for that I'm going with Poland to avenge their 2012 defeat. Poland wins 3-2, also with high potential for OT and PKs.

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