Once again, Group D stands for Death. Ukraine, even though they are a stronger team this year, will definitely be hard-pressed to win their group. Much hyped newcomers France and El Salvador are the most obvious threats, and are joined by Serbia, Austria and Colombia. What it makes this group even more interesting is that Serbia is bringing in players from the Winnipeg team that rolled into Regina and won the men's cash tournament in January. Add in that Serbia recently trounced Ukraine in an exhibition game(definitely not indicative of Ukraine's power, but still), and it's clear this group will be very exciting. Colombia proved to be a fantastic team in last year's tournament, and although they fared poorly in Group D, they still had exciting games. Austria won two games last year and played strongly against Norway and Chile. Austria is a decent team and the top teams will be in trouble if they overlook them too much. Austria and Colombia will hungry for an upset.
Prediction: Ukraine has their team set, ready to rock, and should take this group. We've seen what happens to teams that bring strong players in and expect to do great...they fall hard. France and El Salvador won't have the organization or depth to take Ukraine out of the top spot. Don't get me wrong, all 3 teams are very strong and close to equal, but Ukraine is better established as a team. Serbia will in contention for the second spot, along with France and El Salvador. Serbia, Colombia or Austria WILL beat one of the top 3 teams in here, mark my words. However, it should still come down to France and El Salvador for the second spot, with France's superior goal-keeping giving them the advantage. Finishing order: Ukraine, France, El Salvador, Serbia, Austria, Colombia.
Game To Watch: France vs. El Salvador. Everyone will want a good look at the 2 new, and supposedly great teams. This one is purely of curiosity to watch them in action after so much talk about each team.