Ireland vs. Laos

Will they meet again? Or is there a new challenger for the WCP Cup?

Who Are The Sleeper Teams This Year?

No Ukraine this year...could it be Germany's time? Sudan? France? What about Colombia? There are plenty of good teams this year that could step up.

Ukraine: On Top, But For How Long?

Ukraine has been a real force to be reckoned with these last two years, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Polish Fan Power!

Team Poland was pushed through to the Semi-Finals largely on the power of their excellent fan support. With a more experienced team, can this be their year?

Opening Ceremonies

Everything begins on March 30th with opening ceremonies. Is your team ready?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Semifinal Preview

Well, I was close on my predictions. I’m fairly certain Poland would have won had it gone to shoot-outs, and the game itself wasn’t as high-scoring as I thought. France should have had the advantage on PK’s as well, but nothing is certain, APPARENTLY. Anyway, since I predicted the group stage correctly, and was extremely close on the Quarterfinals, let’s do the Semifinals.

Ireland vs. Laos – 7:30
The last thing anyone wants is to see is Ireland in another final. To see Ireland win another WCP Cup is like watching Kim Jong Il initiate himself in as dictator again and again. It’s the matchup we’ve seen in this tournament time and time again, but let’s look at the teams. Ireland is bigger, faster, and more skilled. If you argue this, you’re wrong. Does that mean Ireland will win? No. Laos counters with a strong work ethic, which counts for everything in this tournament. The field size and player count mean that goals come at a premium, and there will be no easy goals in this game. Laos should have the determination to knock Ireland off, and they’ll have motivation from the crowd support as well. This is sure to be an entertaining game. If I was betting, I’d say Ireland, but given that I’m close to Nostradamus, I’ll predict a 2-2 tie (Laos in overtime).

Canada vs. Sudan – 9:30
This game baffles me, because I don’t know what to make of Sudan. Poland should have been able to put them away if not for some great saves and a little luck. Their defence is still lacking, but in the end they did manage to only allow Poland to score one goal. Canada doesn’t give up many goals, and they rely on turnovers for the most part, simply waiting teams out to make a mistake. Sudan is the kind of team that will give up those turnovers. But I think Sudan will give them a real challenge, because they move the ball so quickly. Canada has beaten both Laos and France, but those teams are methodical with the ball and like to work it up the field more so than try long-range shots and chip balls in. Canada is certainly tough, but I don’t know if they’ll be able to handle Sudan’s play. Prediction 3-2 Sudan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quarterfinal Preview

6:30 - Ireland vs. Germany
Ireland has been in the final for the last 5 years. They really haven’t changed, and don’t kid yourself, they’re eyeing another trip to the Final. First, they’ll have to get by a strong Germany squad. Germany beat Nigeria on the weekend, in a game that seemed to be the typical Germany flame-out of years past until some last-second heroics. Could that mean they’re finally real deal? I think that just means that for once, a bit of luck fell Germany’s way. However, this game really can go either way. Ireland haven’t had a real test since the Sudan game, but they’ve played long enough to know what they’re up against. Germany has had some close games, and they’ll be ready as well. Ireland is the better team, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be the better team every day. Ireland is the team under pressure to win here, not Germany. This should allow Germany to be more aggressive, but they’ll have to be careful, because Ireland can capitalize on any bad giveaway. Germany’s strikers like to hold the ball, but they’ll have to distribute it around and beat Ireland’s defence with quickness, not positioning. Expect Ireland’s goals to come off free kicks and headers. I really hope I’m wrong with this prediction: Ireland 4-2.

7:30 – Laos vs. El Salvador
Fairly simple gameplan for both teams. Laos needs to work the ball around, as they’re better skill-wise than El Salvador. The tic-tac-toe passes they’re so good at will be how they beat El Salvador. Hard work at both ends is how these passes happen, and how Laos can win. El Salvador will have to play tight. They aren’t as skilled as Laos, but they can beat them if they play with the right strategy. It’ll take quick counter attacks that allow them to get shots off quickly before Laos can close in, and they’ll have to isolate their strikers against Laos’ defence. The key for El Salvador is to simply get time to shoot. If Laos denies them that time, then this game is Laos. I expect Laos to be able to shut them down, but not easily. Laos 3-2.

8:30 – France vs. Canada
Neither team will be surprised with any player on either team. Strengths and weaknesses are apparent to everyone, and it’s just a matter of who can exploit them. Expect a close and hard-fought game. The thing with both teams is that their victory depends solely on possession. These two teams are completely dependent upon dominating the gameplay, more so than any other team. Once that tide turns to one of the teams, it’ll be tough to turn it around. Tie 1-1 (shoot-out winner to France).

9:30 – Sudan vs. Poland
Sudan has made the playoffs, and what a road they took. No matter the opponent, Sudan made every game exciting. It’s become clear that while they are extremely dangerous, they can be exploited. Defensively, they are making too many mistakes. Poland plays tight and works hard, and they’ll make Sudan pay for lazy defending. Sudan will make the same mistakes that cost them their game against Ireland, but they might be able to score enough to keep up. Tie 3-3 (shoot-out winner to Poland).

No matter how the games go, it's sure to be the most exciting night you've seen yet. See you there.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Food Bracket Quarters


The Quarter Finals are here not only for the WCP Cup, but for the Food Bracket. Crepes managed to beat out Curry Chicken by 1 vote! Make your pick, because the polls will only last for a couple days now. The real Quarter Final previews will be up soon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend Update

First up, congratulations to Ireland, Sudan, Canada, Laos, Poland, Germany, El Salvador and France. You’re all through to the quarterfinals! Congrats to me as well for picking the exact 1st and 2nd seeds in every group way back before the tournament. I am a psychic. Saturday night was the most exciting night of the tournament thus far. The last 3 games were extremely close and hard-fought. By now you know the scores, so let’s do some farewells.


FAREWELLS

Goodbye Norway, you put in a valiant against El Salvador, and it looked like you might tie them for awhile, but it was not to be. Never the most skilled team, but at least you put in some hard work and made the group interesting. Have fun beating up on South Korea tonight.

Afghanistan…what is there to say about you? They hype appeared out of nowhere right before the tournament started. The schedule was already done up before anyone knew you’d be good at all. In a tough group, you had to be damn near perfect, and missing all your good players for the first game made it extremely difficult for you right from the get-go. It was great to watch though, and you had a good fan base. The game against Canada was critical, and you played well, but Canada was prepared. The game could have gone either way, and unfortunately for you, that was Canada’s way 4-3. Don’t be disappointed, because you did good considering what you had to face. See you next year.

Nigeria was excellent in their game against Poland, and turned even the most faithful Poland supporters into speculators about Poland even making it out of their group. Nigeria was a part of some of the most memorable games of the tournament, the 2-2 draw vs. Poland, the 4-3 win over Hungary, and the 3-2 loss to Germany. Thank you for that. You seemed to be a lot better than the last two years, and would have been a difficult game for anyone in the quarterfinals. You may be out, but you won’t be forgotten. Congrats on a good tournament.

Vietnam, congratulations on being the worst team in WCP Cup history. Your goal differential was -61 through the 5 games. That’s actually impressive. On the plus side, you can only get better…right? RIGHT?

Scotland finished an impressive 3rd place in Group A, and showed that they are legitimately getting better, and could be one of those fringe teams like Colombia, Jamaica or Norway next year. Always good to see. Get a bit better, and we look forward to seeing some entertaining games from you in the future.

Hungary was another brand-new team, and came in the way you’d hope a new team would. They battled every game (except Portugal) and didn’t make it easy at all for Poland, Germany or Nigeria. That’s all you can ask. They should leave the tournament proud, and it’ll be great seeing them upset a good team next year.

Quarterfinal previews coming soon...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Food Bracket Update and Farewells

Because I'm slow, we're going to hammer through the final stages of the Food Bracket in order to get the winner settled by next Sunday.

Food Bracket update - Sticky Rice was upset by Langos, though it was a close matchup to begin with. Tough to argue with deep-fried food. All other matchups went as expected. Next up, we've got Perogies vs. Naan (I expect Perogies to crush). The other matchups are closer than you think, with Curry Chicken taking on Crepes. Crepes are so simple, so versatile, and delicious...but Curry Chicken is Curry Chicken. Tough call. Fettucine Alfredo gets Cinderella Story Khlav Kalash (just don't eat it with Mountain Dew). I'm really pulling for Khlav Kalash here, but it's in tough against the famed Italian dish. Irish Stew gets Spring Rolls in the final matchup, and I have no idea who will win that one. Real tough call.

FAREWELLS

Jamaica - All the games went according to plan last night, but I really thought Jamaica would give Laos a better game than that. I suppose it shouldn't be terribly surprising considering Jamaica tied Northern Ireland, but still. Props to Jamaica for what should be considered a decently successful tournament. They exceeded pre-tournament expectations, and provided some good entertainment.

Greece - Though they still have one game left against South Korea, I don't really consider that a game. Greece will easily dominate them and win easily. Greece's game against France last night was their last chance to regain the glory from last year, and show that they it was simply bad luck this year. Unfortunately, France took care of business. Though it was close for awhile, Greece never truly looked like the better team. Here's to hoping they come back next year looking like the squad from 2011.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Decisive Weekend

There's some very good games on the slate this weekend, and looks like the scheduling worked out perfectly.

First up on Friday,

Jamaica vs. Laos - 9:30
Jamaica has exceeded expectations this tournament. They’ve come out and proved that they’re a legitimate contender. If not for the slip-up vs. Northern Ireland, Jamaica wouldn’t necessarily be in this position right now. We looked at the scenarios in which Jamaica can make it out, and though their fate isn’t really in their hands, they have to win this game to have a chance at the top 2. This will be Laos’ first legitimate test after facing a depleted Afghanistan team. Jamaica’s resiliency will be key to winning this game, and they have to be ready to fight to the very end. But can they beat Laos, who have played exactly like all the top Laos teams of years past? Tough to say. In the interest of making this group even more exciting, I hope Jamaica beat Laos. Prediction? Laos 4-3.


France vs. Greece -10:30
With Italy beating Greece, that means Greece is officially eliminated. Does that mean tonight’s matchup won’t be entertaining? Not by any stretch. Greece is playing for pride now, and there’d be no better send-off for them(South Korea doesn’t count) than beating the top team in their group. France still has work to do, if Greece beats them, they’ll play El Salvador Saturday, and that will not be an easy game. France has to bring it and show they should be considered a top team. Prediction? France 4-2.

Saturday

Afghanistan vs. Canada – 8:00
This game will decide the fate of Afghanistan and Canada. The loser is effectively done, while the winner will likely move on. Sure to be a great game. Afghanistan is rolling, but they haven’t played a top team yet besides Laos (and they didn’t have their full team). Canada will be a real test to judge exactly how good Afghanistan is. Both teams have a lot to prove. Prediction? Afghanistan 3-2.

Germany vs. Nigeria – 9:00
This game decides 2nd place in Group C. Winner is in, loser is out. Clear as that. Sure to be a good one. Prediction? Germany 3-1.

France vs. El Salvador – 10:00
This game will likely decide the top team in the group. If ES can knock off France, they’ll still have to beat Norway, but if they beat France it’s likely they’ll beat Norway too. That would be an interesting twist to what people think is fairly straight-forward group. It’s a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal overtime victory for ES, and it promises to be a good one. Prediction? 1-1 tie.

Sunday

Laos vs. Canada - 8:00
If everything works out the way most people expect it to, Sunday is the day that all the groups are decided. Laos and Canada are two of the top teams in this tournament regardless of how they place in the group, and you can bank on this being one of the top group stage games. Prediction? 2-1 Laos.

El Salvador vs. Norway - 9:00
Another decider. Keeping it simple again, the winner is in, loser is out. El Salvador’s key players will be free to roam in Norway’s backfield, and Norway will have to play very solid to get a win here. They haven’t been placed in a do-or-die situation for the last couple years (minus the playoffs), so this will be a great game to watch. Prediction? 3-1 El Salvador.

This will likely be the single most action packed weekend in WCP Cup history. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Group C Outlook


Poland
Poland has two games left, against Hungary and Vietnam. Poland will win both of those games, but the real question for them is where they end up finishing. If Nigeria can beat Germany, Nigeria will be tied with Poland in points. The group then goes to the differential, which is where Poland could get into trouble. Nigeria currently hold a 7 goal advantage over Poland, each team with 2 remaining games left. The advantage Poland holds here is that their games are against Vietnam and Portugal, while Nigeria plays Germany and Portugal. Let’s say both teams get similar results against Portugal. We’ve already established that Nigeria would have to beat Germany to even be in this scenario, so their goal differential will increase by at least 1, putting them +8 on Poland. Poland will have to beat Vietnam by 9 in this case. There’s still some work left to do for Poland to ensure 1st place in the pool.

Germany
Germany’s outlook is simple. Win and they’re in, lose and they’re out. With a winnable game against Hungary, Germany’s concern lies with Nigeria. All they have to do is beat them (and Hungary) to go through in 2nd. 1st place is out of the question with the loss to Poland. But what if they tie Nigeria? This is a scenario that Germany does not want to face (next to losing, obviously). A tie means Nigeria goes through based on a better record. A win here is critical for Germany.
Nigeria
They’re in an interesting position. Their scenario is the same as Germany’s, win and they’re in. Nigeria advantage is if the game goes to a tie (definitely possible) or if Poland slips up. The 13-0 drubbing of Vietnam pushed their goal differential to tops in the group.

This group may seem pretty straightforward, but there’s still some interesting things that could happen. Hungary should have tied Nigeria, they could potentially do the same thing to Germany even if Germany beats Nigeria. That would make things very interesting. Portugal looks much better than they did the first couple games, and they could put up a good fight against Poland AND Nigeria. Keep a close eye on the group.


Group D later...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 Things A Casual Soccer Fan Should Experience at the WCP Cup

1. Plop yourself right near the Laos or Poland section for a Men’s game. No matter what the matchup, the fans show up. They cheer loud, they’re passionate, they help fuel the players, and they love their team. It’s tough to beat the atmosphere they create.

2. Quarterfinal Night. Next Wednesday, you’ll be treated to 4 hours of non-stop action, in which you’ll see all the best the WCP Cup has to offer. Upsets, overtime,  and shootouts are the norm here, and the place is packed. Don’t miss it.

3. Say hello to Kevin Holness, the organizer of the tournament and player on Team Jamaica. Kevin has given so much back to soccer in Regina, and is a great guy to talk to as well. Ask him to autograph body parts, he’ll gladly oblige.

4. Grab a good spot on the railing upstairs, grab some beers, and enjoy the games from a higher vantage point. You get a better view of the action, better sense of how the teams are going, who’s really contributing to the game, etc. There’s no drinking downstairs, but you can still have a good time doing it upstairs if you want.

5. Watch Sudan play a game. Regardless of your opinion on how good they actually are, they’re still a treat to watch. They work hard, play passionately, and more often than not, they try shots that you’ll only see in professional soccer. Bicycle kicks, rocket shots from half, diving headers…definitely not a team you want to miss.

6. Watch free kick specialists from top teams, like Bryan Murrell or Jaden Wong on Laos, Mike Collins on Ireland, Jordian Farahani on Afghanistan, Tavis Workman on Canada, or Paco Brown on Colombia. Sitting either behind the net or at an angle that allows you watch the ball bend into their selected spot is a great thing to watch, as few players have the ability to take free kicks like that.

7. Laugh at the kids wearing tight pants, colorful skater shoes, and baseball hats real high on their head. I can imagine this is a preview of what a Justin Bieber concert looks like. And all the pre-teen girls walking around look the exact same as the boys, but with hair wooshed to the side. Few of us get the opportunity to see kids anymore, so take the time to laugh at the fashion styles nowadays. Perhaps remember back to when you thought frosted tips were cool…

8. Admire the Greece team. Everyone on their team is Greek. Check out the roster. There’s no other team that comes close to them heritage-wise, and can actually play with the best of teams. They entire community gets behind the Greek team to play and root for the team.

9. Send an email to Evraz telling them about how they should have the kitchen besides Tim Horton’s working, to have another beer vendor upstairs, and to add just one row of benches to the upper level so people could stand behind the people on the railing. These are fun activities that all should partake in!

10. Take a look at the older (sometimes bigger too) players, and watch how they can still contribute to their team. They may not be fast, but some have the awareness and positioning to beat or hold off even the quickest little superstar. Few things are more enjoyable than watching a hotshot try to embarrass a player like that, and get embarrassed themselves. Some guys (and girls) are nearing 40, and going up against 18 year-olds that train most of the week. Few of us will be playing competitively at that age.

Anything I missed?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Update - Group A and B

We took a look at the Groups before Saturday's games, but how do they look now? What do teams have to do to make it out? There's exactly one week left for Men's games, and it's getting down to the wire.

Group A
Ireland is still on track for 1st, and Sudan is still on track for 2nd. No group is settled yet, but you can bet the house on seeing that placement at the end of the group stage. Ireland's demolishment of Serbia and Somalia sets the stage for Sudan to do the same thing in their final two games. Scotland currently sits in 3rd, and would claim third place with a win over Botswana on April 10 at 8:30. Quite the accomplishment for a team that hasn't won a game for 2 years.

Group B
Now Group B is the most interesting. For argument's sake, let's assume Laos wins all their games. Do I think they will? No, but this won't work otherwise. Laos has to be considered the top team in the group considering what we've seen. So who makes it out with them? Jamaica only has 1 game left, against Laos. With a Laos win, Jamaica ends up with 7 points. Canada and Afghanistan are currently tied with 6 points, Canada holding the edge in goal differential by 3.

To get through...

Jamaica Scenarios - 

1. A win vs Laos. A win against Laos gives them 10 points, and no matter what happens in the rest of the group, Jamaica would be through.
2. A tie vs. Laos. They'd have to hope for Afghanistan and Canada to tie their game, PLUS Canada to lose to Laos, PLUS Afghanistan to lose to Colombia. The only other outcome possible is to hope Canada beats Laos by a large margin, over 5 goals. This is where Jamaica gets hurt, is in goal differential. Any points tie at the end will go to either Canada or Afghanistan, since their point margin is higher.
3. Loss vs. Laos- Jamaica will be out.
In any case, Jamaica is in control of its destiny. They'll have to be at their best against Laos. This rest after playing 3 games in 4 days will help them, and I expect Jamaica to bring it against Laos.

Afghanistan Scenarios -
1.Win vs. Canada. This would give them 12 points assuming they get a victory over Colombia. This would be enough to put them ahead of Jamaica and through to the playoffs. Laos' results would impact the exact spot, but Afghanistan would be through.
2. Tie vs. Canada. Likely would push the point total to 10 assuming they beat Colombia. If Jamaica were to beat Laos, they'd be tied with Jamaica, but go through on head-to-head result. A tie vs. Canada means that the group standings would turn to the Canada-Laos game, with the Afghans hoping for Laos to win. A win there for Canada would send them through, as they'd be tied with Afghanistan, and Canada holds the edge in goal differential. However, if Afghanistan blows Colombia out of the water, the tiebreaker goes to Afghanistan instead. So if Afghanistan beats Colombia by 4 goals, the Canada-Laos game doesn't matter if it's 1-0 Canada. The more goals Afghanistan scores vs. Colombia, the better position they'll be to go through.
3. Loss to Canada. Afghanistan is out.

Afghanistan's game vs. Colombia will be very meaningful, and goals here will integral to Afghanistan's success. They need to have a better margin than Canada in the end, and they're at -3 right now compared to Canada. Not only will they have to beat Colombia, they'll have to beat them bad, and that's tough. Add on to that having to get a victory vs. Canada, and Afghanistan is going to have to work some magic to make it through.

Canada Scenarios -
1.Win vs. Afghanistan, Win vs. Laos. Canada will be through if they can beat both these teams.
2. Win vs. Afghanistan, Loss vs. Laos. A win vs. Afghanistan will put them at 9 points, meaning Canada's fate would depend on Laos having to beat Jamaica. Canada will go through if Laos wins out in this scenario.
3. Win vs. Afghanistan, tie vs. Laos. Canada would be through, and if Jamaica beat Laos, Canada would be through in first.
4. Tie vs. Afghanistan, tie vs. Laos. Canada would be out.
5. Tie vs. Afghanistan, Win vs. Laos. Canada would have to hope for Jamaica to tie Laos, and they'd have to be ahead in goal differential. A Jamaica win means that, in this scenario, Jamaica would have 10 points, Canada would have 10 points, and Afghanistan would have 10 points. Goal differential would obviously be the deciding factor, and it's likely Canada and Afghanistan would go through. Laos would have 9 points and be out.
6. Loss vs. Afghanistan, tie vs. Laos. Canada would be out.
7. Loss vs. Afghanistan, Loss vs. Laos. Guess.
8. Loss vs. Afghanistan, win vs. Laos. I don't see how Canada makes it out in this scenario. They'd have 9 points, but so would Afghanistan (likely 12 if they beat Colombia, plus the head-head vs. Canada). Laos would only have 9 if Jamaica beats them, and Jamaica would be through with Afghanistan in that case.

Laos Scenarios - 
1. Win vs. Jamaica, Win vs. Canada. This would push Laos to 15 points, giving them top spot.
2. Win vs. Jamaica, Tie vs. Canada. Still would have 13 points, and top spot.
3. Win vs. Jamaica, Loss vs. Canada. Would give them 12 points, good enough to go through, likely in first barring Canada being very good in their last 2 games.
4. Tie vs. Jamaica, Win vs. Canada. Go through, likely in first.
5.Tie vs. Jamaica, Tie vs. Canada. This is interesting. Laos would end with 11 points, Jamaica with 8, Canada with 10 if they beat Afghanistan, or Afghanistan with 12 if they beat Canada.
6. Tie vs. Jamaica, Loss vs. Canada. Laos would end with 10 points, creating a 3 way tie between Canada and Afghanistan if Canada-Afghanistan is a tie. A Canada win there would send Canada through with Laos in second, and an Afghanistan win would send them through in first with Laos in second again.
7. Loss vs. Jamaica, Win vs. Canada. Laos is through.
8. Loss vs. Jamaica, Tie vs. Canada. Laos would have 10 points again, relying on the Afghanistan-Canada result to determine placement.


That's all for now. My head hurts. I'm sure I missed something there, but let's hear your thoughts on Group B.



WCP Cup Youth and Women Update

-New link to the Serbian website on the right.

The weekend brought some interesting results, and will make the last week of the 2012 WCP Cup quite interesting. We've got one week to go. Let's take a look at all the categories.

Youth Girls
Canada and USA seem to be the class of the Youth Girls side. El Salvador and Brazil aren't far behind, and Germany and England are the weaker teams. Unfortunately, Canada already beat USA 3-2, so the battle for first has already been decided.

Youth Boys
Results are all over the place here, but Pakistan looks to be the top team. Canada isn't bad either, but they were trounced 5-2 by Pakistan. Scotland tied Pakistan, but were then trounced by Canada! I just don't know what to believe anymore.

U18 Boys
You'll notice some of the boys playing in the Men's Side as well, which is allowed. You'll be sure to see these players out there on most Men's teams in the future, so it's not bad to go out and recruit them if you can. Scotland is tops in this side, followed by Germany, Canada and Ukraine. There's only one game left on this side, featuring Scotland vs. Ukraine, so this is the last chance you'll get to see the U-18's before Scotland takes on Germany in the final.

Women
The Women's side features two groups. Ukraine has been rolling through the group, and even though they still have 2 games left, look to be a lock to go through. Netherlands is officially out barring a complete collapse by Ukraine. April 12, at 7:30, Ukraine takes on Poland to decide who will finish 1st or 2nd. Very important considering the other group.

Germany and England are tops in the other group, and they've been showing their muscle by blowing every other team out of the water so far. Chile still has a shot to go through, but they'll have to beat a very strong England side. You can expect the final game, April 14 at 5:00 between Germany and England, to not only decide the group, but to be the best women's game of the group stage.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Food Bracket Update

We're into the round of 16, and getting down to what are sure to be some scintillating battles. I am extremely happy to report that there were two upsets. Ajiaco over Sambuusas, and my pre-tournament pick to win it all, Khlav Kalash (which goes great with crab juice) over Kimchi. Thank you for voting.

Now, it's time for the favorites to get into this thing. Here's a quick preview.

First round of voting features Back Bacon taking on  Ajiaco. Bacon should have no trouble dealing with Ajiaco. But you know, it is made of chicken, corn and potatoes. That's a pretty solid team.

Pupusas take on Sheperd's Pie in the second part. I mentioned Ajiaco's team of chicken, corn and potatoes, but here are two ultimate teams going head to head. Sheperd's Pie substitutes chicken for beef, but the real topper for them is that it's in pie form. Having your food in the form of a pie is like having good goalkeeper. I'll compare it having Mario Boudreau on Team Norway. I'm not a huge fan of apples, but apple pie? Yes, a million times over.

Sticky Rice takes on Langos in the third part. This is tough, because when you get down to it, it's simple and delicious vs. simple and delicious DEEP FRIED. I think Sticky Rice will have a tough time with Langos. Could be an upset?

Wiener Schnitzel draws Souvlaki, and I expect a blowout here in favour of Souvlaki. Lock of the week.


Note: For the thousands of comments about lack of posting since Thursday, it's because I don't go near computers on my birthday. RELAX.

Update

Been a little busy lately, but I'll try and keep up here. In the past, I used to have to do this entire score update thing myself, but thanks to Braden's good summaries of major games, Mike's constant updates and analysis, and CBC's posting of all the scores, I can relax a bit. No need for the same things to appear on every blog. I'm extremely happy that WCP's web presence is finally so elaborate. Original goal completed. GREAT SUCCESS.

Let's take a look at the groups so far.

Group A
Ireland and Sudan battled it out for the top spot in the group on Opening Friday, and now it's just a matter of how the rest of the group plays out. You can expect Ireland and Sudan to win out, placing 1st and 2nd respectively. Third place is still up in the air, but it looks as though an improved Scotland team will be battling with Botswana. Still quite a few games to go here though. Anyone remember Sudan losing to Colombia last year and failing to make it out? Could that happen again?

Group B
Easily the most entertaining group so far. There was some debate over which group would be the Group of Death, and it's fairly clear by now that it's Group B will come down to the very last game, and likely go to point totals. Jamaica has played the most games now, with 2-0-1 record. The impressive part is last night's game vs. Canada. Jamaica dominated the game, plain and simple. They were easily the better team, and if Canada plays like that again, you won't be seeing Canada in the playoffs. The tie with Northern Ireland will likely end up haunting Jamaica. Colombia has lost their 2 games, but they are playing hard, and I don't see this tournament ending with Colombia having no wins or ties. They're going to upset a team in the group, but it's just a matter of who. Colombia is too good not to get a result against someone here. Northern Ireland has already tied Jamaica, can they do it to another group favorite? And everyone seems to have forgotten about Afghanistan already. If Aghanistan shows up at full strength, they can beat any team in the group. Laos is the only team that's lived up to expectations so far, but they've still got a long road as well.

Since Laos has played fairly solid so far and is unlikely to collapse, I'll put Laos at the top of Group B. As for second, I honestly can't even make a prediction. Jamaica has looked far better than I thought, and if they get a win vs. Afghanistan, I'll put them in second. Don't count out Canada yet though.

Group C
Poland hasn't been the dominant team I thought they would be, and if Germany had been able to step on their throat last night after going up 2-0, then Poland could have been in danger of not going through, as crazy as that sounds. Nigeria escaped utter collapse at Hungary's hands last night, and it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Nigeria lose to a lesser team, as it's happened in every tournament in years past. With Poland's victory over Germany, that puts Poland in the driver's seat. Germany vs. Nigeria should end up deciding second barring a loss to the other teams. Look for Portugal and Hungary to really make a mess of things though.


Group D
This group is starting to get interesting. France has beaten the two worst teams in the group so far, and haven't been really tested. El Salvador's loss to Italy means that they'll have to beat France or Norway just to have a shot of making it out of the group. Greece will be out, unless they can beat France. You might recall them tying France 4-4 last year, in a game they arguably deserved to win. Don't expect Italy or South Korea to upset any of the other 4 anymore, especially after Italy beat ES. Teams will take them seriously and realize the points in that game are critical. France should go through in first if they play strong and consistent, but nothing is for sure. Stay tuned.



































Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wednesday Results

Canada 5 - 2 Scotland - Youth Boys

Germany 2 - 1 Ukraine -U18 Boys

Jamaica 4 - 4 N. Ireland - Men's
By far the most entertaining game of the night. Northern Ireland went up 2-0 early on, despite Jamaica controlling the game. Jamaica would miss the net, hit the crossbar, lose the ball at the top of the box, etc. It just wasn’t going their way. The first half ended 2-0. The Jamaicans brought it in the second half, scoring 2 goals after again controlling the play. The 3rd goal from Jamaica would have seemed to be the one that would finally doom Northern Ireland. Instead, Northern Ireland went right back on the offensive, scoring the tying goal. Jamaica had to press hard for the final five minutes, and finally got the 4th goal. That had to be it, right? Nope. Northern Ireland, with seconds remaining, launched the ball into the box, and slotted it past the keeper to tie it at 4. Excellent game.


 Laos 3 - 1 Colombia - Men's
Colombia, fresh off a disappointing loss to Jamaica, really had to bring it against Laos if they wanted to go through. Laos was leading 1-0 at half on a hard-working goal, but to be completely honest, Colombia had more chances. If not for a disallowed goal, Colombia would have been right there in contention with Laos. The second and third goals from Laos sealed Colombia’s fate, and a consolation goal at the end made it 3-1.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Schedule Update

There will be U-11 Girls games on the 14th, 15th and 21st at NOON. Japan will take on Canada in all three matches.

If you thought watching South Korea or Vietnam was exciting, then these matches are right up your alley.
I think I would be legitimately interested in seeing South Korea play Vietnam. It would actually be a close game. The losing team would have all its players banned from the WCP Cup forever, and the winning team would just be denied entry to all other WCP Cup events. Seems fair.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Food Bracket Update

See Food Bracket teams here.

Time to do the other side of the bracket before we get to Round 2. Results were as expected, with the top seeds winning out. The 17th seed, Ajiaco, managed to beat out the 16th seed, Sambuusa, by one vote!

Next, we've got Naan vs. Chorba, Curry Chicken vs. Seswaa, Kimchi vs. Khlav Kalash, and Irish Stew vs. Farikal. Voting will last until Thursday this time, and then we'll get into Round 2 on Friday.


Note: To make it easier to see the schedule, I've posted a link with the other links on the right.


No, I'm Not Dead. Weekend Recap.

Opening Night

Women – Ukraine vs. Netherlands – Ukraine 3-2.
I had my doubts about Ukraine. After losing 2 of the top players in the tournament, I didn’t know how they’d recover. And with Netherlands being a new team and having Alberta players, I thought this might the end of their reign, but it was not to be. Ukraine still looks good, and the title is still theirs to lose.

YG – Canada vs. El Salvador - Canada 5-0
YB – Germany vs. El Salvador – Germany 7-0.

Not a good day to be a youth El Salvador player. Unfortunate these two games had to be before the Ireland-Sudan game.

Ireland vs. Sudan – Ireland 3-2
If there’s one thing to take away from the game, it’s that Sudan is a scary, scary team to play. Besides being skillful, tall, fast and having very good ball control, they play like it’s the last game they’ll ever play. I wouldn’t call it reckless, but they play very hard. If you’re playing Sudan, you have to be ready to go hard mentally and physically the entire game. Ireland may have beat Sudan, but the last thing Ireland (or anyone else) wants is to see Sudan again.

I’ll only be going through the important ones from now on. If you want your team in there, e-mail me and complain. I’ll give in to peer pressure.

El Salvador vs. Italy – 4-3 Italy
Didn’t see that coming. El Salvador may have lost players in the off-season, and been missing their best players on the weekend, but that’s no excuse for losing to Italy. El Salvador will have a tough time making it through the group dropping a result like that.

Poland vs. Nigeria – 2-2 tie
Uh oh. Poland had their hands full with Nigeria, and Nigeria arguably played better. A poor game against Germany on Friday will have Poland on the outside of the group. Keep a close eye on the other results, because I have a feeling this will be coming down to goals for and against.

Norway vs. Greece – 1-0 Norway
Not the most exciting game, but neither is extremely exciting to begin with. They both have their styles, and they stuck to them for the most part. A close game was expected, and with El Salvador losing to Italy, Norway has to be the front-runner along with France to go through. Still very early though.

Laos vs. Afghanistan – Laos 6-2
I was hoping Afghanistan would put up more of a fight. Laos looks like they always do (nice kits too), fast and skillful, but the Afghans need to be stronger at the back. They were missing some key players, which could have made all the difference, but each game is so critical in this tournament, and to lose 6-2 to one of the top teams in the group means Aghanistan will need to be brilliant to go through.


Germany vs. Portugal – Germany 4-1
Good result for Germany. They were able to put away a decent team, and didn’t let them hang around.

Colombia vs. Jamaica – Jamaica – 4-2
I thought this was the best game of the tournament so far, next to Ireland vs. Sudan. Hard tackles, fast pace, nice goals. Both teams looked pretty good. It’s pretty clear that Group B is going to be one entertaining group, and we’ve only just begun this thing.

Stay tuned for the second round of the Food Bracket, voting starts tomorrow!

Friday, March 30, 2012

TONIGHT: Opening Ceremonies

Opening Ceremonies start at 6.00 tonight. Be there!

Guest speaker Costa Maragos will be doing a live hit into CBC News: Saskatchewan at 5, 5:30 & 6. He'll be talking about the upcoming Opening Ceremonies and WCP CUP games.

There will also be a shooter on site who will be capturing segments of the Opening Ceremonies. They may be showcased on CBC News: Saskatchewan Late Night at 10:55 pm. Some of that footage will also be uploaded to the WCP Cup web page at http://www.cbc.ca/sask/features/wcpcup/  and there may be an online item on the main www.cbc.ca/sask web site. Links to the CBC site are on the right.

****Voting on the Food Bracket commences today with one side of the bracket only. The winner will be crowned close to the end of the tournament. See the post below, or check it out here.

Enjoy, and we'll see everyone tonight for the big kickoff!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Food Bracket

UPDATE: BEFORE WE GET STARTED, TICKETS ARE BEING PRE-SOLD TONIGHT AT THE FACILITY FROM 7:30 TO 9. GET YOURS QUICK!

Now, on to business as usual.

Every country has a unique appetite, and have spent years using the ingredients at their disposal to perfect some signature dishes. Let's pit all the WCP Cup countries against each other in a food battle. All the country-specific foods will be seeded from 1-24. I'll rank the food items, and the battle will take place using votes.

Here's the seeding.

1. Back Bacon - Canada
It doesn't get much more Canadian than bacon sizzling in a frying pan. Maple bacon, I suppose. Has to be odds-on favorite to win. Not up to me though.

2. Perogies - Poland
If you've never had perogies, I feel so bad for you. Whatever the kind, always a favorite. I had cottage perogies the other day, and I might never go back.


3. Fettuccine Alfredo - Italy
Tough call with Italy...there's pizza, lasagna, all sorts of delicious dishes. In the end, I went with something a little different than the rest of the dishes. Pasta and creamy alfredo sauce is match made in Italian heaven.


4. Sticky Rice - Laos
Simple, but so good. If you ask Boun Phoummabout, he'll make you a whole pot because he wants everyone to know how good it is.

5. Souvlaki - Greece
Another tough call. Spanakopita, baklava, gyros...the list goes on. In an effort to keep it simple, we'll go with Souvlaki. Tough to beat the combo of Greek spices.


6. Spring Rolls - Vietnam
Spring rolls consist of pork, prawn, herbs, bún (rice vermicelli), and other ingredients wrapped in Vietnamese bánh tráng (rice paper). Absolutely delicious. Yikes, maybe this wasn't a good idea. I'm getting hungry.

7. Crêpes - France
Crepes are very thin pancakes, usually made from wheat flour, and served with a variety of fillings, from the most simple with only sugar to very elaborate savoury fillings. J'aime les crêpes plus qu'une pamplemousse ou les jambes d'une grenouille. That's french.

8. Sheperd's Pie - ROI
This is a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato. Corn makes an appearance in there somewhere.

9. Pupusa - El Salvador
 Pupusas are thick hand-made corn flour or rice flour tortillas stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency) and refried beans. Tell me that ain't good.

10. Curry Chicken - Jamaica
It's what it sounds like. If Kevin Holness has one weakness, it's this. Bring some curry chicken to a Jamaica game, and Kevin won't even pay attention to the game.

11. Irish Stew - Northern Ireland
Traditional stew from lamb or mutton.

12. Wiener Schnitzel - Germany
This dish is made with boneless meat thinned with a hammer, coated in bread crumbs, and fried.

13. Langos - Hungary
Deep fried flat bread made of a dough with flour, yeast, salt and water. If you attend Regina's Mosaic, stop by the Hungarian Pavilion and ask for Langos made specifically by Andrew Baulin. You won't be disappointed.

14. Kimchi - South Korea

Kimchi is fermented vegetable dishes usually made with napa cabbage, Korean radish, or sometimes cucumber, commonly fermented in a brine of ginger, garlic, scallions, and chili pepper.

15. Naan - Afghanistan
Literally "bread." But flavored! It's actually pretty good.

16. Sambuusa - Somalia 
A Somali version of the samosa. The Somali version is a mixture of maize, vegetables, meat, spices, which is then deep fried. All you need to see here is "deep fried."

17. Ajiaco - Colombia
A traditional Andean dish that originated from Bogotá. Basically it’s a chicken, corn, and potato stew with a hint of guasca. Mmmm guasca. Just thinking about it makes me salivate.

18. Chorba - Sudan
Thick soup made with vegetable and (most commonly) sheep parts. That it broadly says just "sheep parts" is my favorite part of the description.

19. Khlav Kalash - Serbia
Serve with crab juice, or Mountain Dew. Was most commonly sold at the World Trade Center. This entire post centers on my ability to included Khlav Kalash. Note: You can't watch the actual video on Youtube. Something something copyrights.

20. Grilled Cod - Portugal
The Portuguese rely heavily on fishing, hence a fish dish. Not many specialty dishes specifically for Portugal.

21. Suya - Nigeria
A meat kebab coated with ground groundnuts (peanuts) and chili pepper and other local spices. It is prepared barbecue style on a stick.

22. Fårikål - Norway
A traditional Norwegian dish, consisting of pieces of mutton with bone, cabbage, whole black pepper and a little wheat flour, cooked for several hours in a casserole, traditionally served with potatoes boiled in their jackets. Near last because of the way it's spelt.


23. Seswaa - Botswana
Traditional meat dish of Botswana, generally made of beef, although sometimes made of goat or lamb. The fatty meat is generally boiled until tender in large cast-iron pots, with large amounts of salt, and shredded or pounded.

24. Haggis - Scotland
Ever wondered what exactly Haggis is? It's a kind of savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Yummy!

There are your 24 teams, each with their specialty dish. Voting will commence tomorrow. Until then, try one of these enticing meals. Except Haggis.

Here's the bracket for the entire food tournament. 





IMPORTANT: Opening Ceremonies

Have been moved to 6:00 so that CBC can get a live broadcast in. All players need to meet no later than 5:30.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tournament Pass Pre-Sale


Head on down to Rochdale Roca House or Galger's Silk Screening to get your tournament pass. Click on the picture to enlarge and see details.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What if WCP Cup Teams were Other Pro SportsTeams? Part 2

Time for Part 2! I'm just going to do these one at a time from now on.


Greece - The A-Team
 For anyone unfamiliar with the A-Team, I'll give you a quick summary. The A-Team is a fictional group of ex-US Army Special Forces personnel who work as soldiers of fortune while on the run from the Army after being branded as war criminals for a "crime they didn't commit". Are you convinced yet? No? Well, allow me to compare...

1. Greece A-Team

2. Don't ask me about that site, I have no idea what that company does. It says Greece, and it says A-Team. What do you want from me?

3. Greece plays extremely tough, they play for each other, they never give up, and if you think you've got them beat, think again, because they'll come back on you in a second. = The A-Team often finds itself in the messiest situation, and against all odds, even though they're outnumbered and outgunned, they battle through it and come out victorious. 

4. The Greek fans come out in droves to support their country and team. They own many Regina restaurants, and if Greece is playing, those restaurants will be short-staffed or closed. One time, team France player Danny Marchinko ate far too much food at the Copper Kettle, and had to take an extended trip to the bathroom. The restaurant closed up shop while he was still in the bathroom stall! = The A-team was in a diner, eating breakfast, and the waitress asked B.A. Baracus(played by Mr. T) if he wanted any coffee. He said yes, and she replied "Well, how would you like it?" B.A.'s response was: "In a cup, fool!" Oh, that B.A. Outrageous!

5. Greece is TOUGH = The A-Team is TOUGH

There you have it. 5 absolutely legitimate reasons why Team Greece is like The A-Team.


Friday, March 16, 2012

What if WCP Cup Teams Were Other Pro Sports Teams? Part 1 of 3.

Hmm. Let's take a look.

Republic of Ireland - New York Yankees

Well, that was easy. Everyone hates them, and for good reason. They simply pick the best players and go win. No one likes a winner. Never comfortable with just being good and competitive, ROI has to blow everyone out of the water. To be specific, ROI is like the Yankees of the late 90's. It's to the point where if they were to miss the final, it wouldn't really feel like the WCP Cup. Let's compare the two:

1. ROI breaks the WCP Cup trophy at the draw = The Yankees' most famous employee,  George Costanza, wrecks the World Series Trophy by dragging it around the parking lot behind his car.

2. ROI have won the WCP Cup 4 of the last 7 years = The Yankees have won 27 World Series Championships, almost 3 times more than the nearest contender.

3. ROI and their few fans are known for being large consumers of beer = Wade Boggs, while playing with the Yankees, once drank 60-70 beers on a cross-country trip to Seattle.

They're pretty much the same team.

Next up...

Laos - Boston Red Sox

If ROI are the Yankees, then Laos is most certainly the Boston Red Sox. They are most fierce rival of the Yankees, but often come up short. Still a great team, and one of the better teams to watch in the WCP Cup.
Let's compare:

1. Laos is the smallest team in the tournament = David Eckstein, a Red Sox player, is currently the shortest player in the MLB at 5'7. The shortest hall-of-famer? Former Boston player Rabbit Maranville (at 5'5).

2. Laos is known for their passionate fan base = Red Sox Nation is one of the most passionate fan base there is in sports, rivalling the passion displayed by Brazilian or Dutch soccer fans.

3. Laos winning the 2010 WCP Cup = 2004 Red Sox winning the World Series, beating the Yankees en route, and breaking a supposed "curse" after 86 years of futility.

4. Laos wears red = Red Sox wear red.

End of story.

Alright, enough with the Baseball comparisons. I'm not even a baseball fan.

Poland - Philadelphia Eagles

Poland is trendy pick to win the tournament this year. Why? Take an already good team, add a couple all-stars, and you should have a recipe for success. This one wasn't easy. There were a lot of other teams I considered comparing them to, such as Chelsea, or the Miami Heat. Much like those teams, Poland just have to gel, and they'll be a major contender for the WCP Cup title. The tools are in place, and with time, it'll happen. Let's compare the two:

Polish fans famously cheered against Laos in the final after they felt slighted in the semi-final = Philadelphia Eagle fans famously booed Santa during an Eagles half-time show, and proceeded to pelt him with snowballs.

Poland has acquired two good attacking players = The Eagles have acquired stars such as Michael Vick and Nnamdi Asomugha, hoping they'll put them over the top to win.

Bill Romanowski and Ron Jaworski, two of the more famous Eagles players, are of Polish descent.

Pizza in Poland does not contain tomato sauce. The waiters bring sauce to the table in a pitcher, and you pour it on top. Sometimes the sauce is just ketchup. = I once saw one of their defenders, let's call him Devin S., eat an entire large Domino's pizza in one sitting.


Face it, they're practically identical.

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Things

-Links to Team Afghanistan's new website are now up, as well as links to Galger's Silk Screening, which you can check out for all your soccer needs.

-Group predictions are finished, and posted below.

-The Social Profiles portion at the top right is now working. You can use the Facebook icon to go to the WCP Cup Facebook Group, the RSS Feed icon to subscribe the site, and the E-mail icon to send me mail by clicking on the corresponding link.

-If you're part of the Women's or Youth portion of the tournament, feel free to help out with previews for them. E-mail is quick and easy.

-If you have an upcoming fundraiser, let me know, and I'll link to the Facebook event or post the details. If you want to raise money, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option that will get you exposure.
France is having a Poutine & Pint night this Thursday, March 8, from 6:00-9:00 at O'Hanlons. $15 gets you a meal-sized poutine and a pint of beer. You can get tickets at the door or from a Team France member.

Thanks!

Premature Predictions - Group C and D

Group C
Out of all the groups, Group C has the most unknowns. Nigeria often has some hype around them, but never seem to live up to it. It's unfortunate, because everyone wants to see them play well. Last year, they submitted their team to play in the RSA Men's Tournament, and they played extremely good, losing a close final 3-2 to an all-star team(a team that would likely be the best team in the WCP Cup). This year's men's tournament didn't fare so well for them, as they didn't even make it out of their group.

SIDENOTE: Columbia, Nigeria, Hungary and Northern Ireland all participated in the Men's Tournament. Columbia was the only one that made the playoffs, losing to Enter (Men's League Powerhouse) in the semi-finals.

Poland will benefit some team continuity, and new attacking additions in Brett Levis and Jay Tomchuk. This will be interesting to watch, because Poland played so good as a team last year. They didn't have any star players. Now you add playmakers, and suddenly everyone feels obligated to get them the ball, even if it isn't the best option at the time. If they can make it work, then you'll see Poland in the final. Germany has always been strong. The team hasn't changed that much from year to year, but the outcome is always the same. The talent and desire is there, but they need something to push them through to the playoffs. This year, they finally get a group in which they have no excuse for not making it through. Portugal has had a young team the last couple years, with the idea they'd mature into a contender. Hasn't happened. They've got some more fresh faces this year, likely the youngest team in the group. If they play hard, it could happen for them. We get to the newcomers, Vietnam and Hungary. While not much is known about their final tournament teams, word is that Vietnam won't be so good. Exhibition game showings haven't looked good, but keep in mind they're only exhibition games. If anything, Vietnam should be thrilled to be overlooked here. Hungary played hard in the Men's tournament, but won't have the skill to compete with the likes of Poland and Germany. Again, it wasn't their complete team, but don't expect Hungary to be a surprise contender here.

Predicted order of finish
1. Poland
2. Germany
3. Portugal
4. Nigeria
5. Hungary
6. Vietnam

Game of the Group: Poland vs. Germany - Friday, April 6, at 9:00.

Group D
Is it D for Death once again? That would seem to be the case, with El Salvador, France, Greece and Norway all being playoff teams last year. With 4 playoff calibre teams, you can be sure that this will be a great group to watch. El Salvador comes in as the favorite, after beating France in Quarters last year and losing to Ireland in penalties. A great showing by a very good team. Will they be able to do the same thing this year? El Salvador was successful due, in large part, to the defensive shell they were able to master in playoffs last year. France and Ireland had the majority of possession, but couldn't break through everyone.  It's not often you see scores of 0-0 and 1-1 at the end of playoff games. However, there's no arguing with results. El Salvador deserved their standing completely. But this year, will their defence be able to do the same thing? Losing key defenders could force them to change up the gameplan. They're capable of doing this though, because their attackers are deadly. France will be interesting to watch, as they've lost their two best defenders and top striker, as well as a couple other players. Don't write them off though, because new additions will make them just as strong as before, and young defenders have stepped up. Norway had an easy go of it last year to make the playoffs, and they only really had two tough games (2 of the top 3 teams in the tournament, unfortunately) in which they weren't really a threat. They'll have to step it up this year to make it out. It would only take a bit more talent to push them in strong contender status.Greece was the ultimate team last year, and really exceed expectations. Lacking the individual talent of other teams, they played hard, and came away with results. Can't fault them for that. They arguably should have beaten France last year, but tied them. They get France again this year. Italy is up next...and we're all familiar with Italy's results. I really hope they can put together a decent team and make some of these games interesting. The newbie in this group is South Korea. No real information about South Korea yet, but apparently they've been training here and will be decent. Don't expect a Sudan-experience with them, but keep an eye on them. To see South Korea come in and steal a playoff spot would be the upset of the tournament.

Predicted order of finish
1. El Salvador
2. France
3. Greece
4. Norway
5. South Korea
6. Italy

Game of the Group: El Salvador vs. France - Saturday, April 14 at 10:00.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Premature Predictions - Group A and B

Group A
It's fairly clear that Ireland and Sudan should be the teams coming out of this group. Anything other than seeing these two teams at the top will be the story of the tournament. Ireland, while losing a couple players, will still be the team to beat in the group. Sudan, although extremely exciting last year, still failed to even make playoffs. A lot of people seem to forget that. Ireland will have the know-how to matchup with them, but at the same time, Sudan will be better prepared this time around. The Ireland-Sudan game on opening night should be a showcase for some outstanding soccer. As for the rest of the group, I wouldn't be surprised to see Botswana and Serbia give one of the top two teams a good game, but maintaining that high level of play would be very difficult for them.

Predicted order of finish:
1.Ireland
2.Sudan
3.Botswana
4.Serbia
5.Scotland
6.Somalia

Game of the Group: Ireland vs. Sudan - Friday, March 30 at 10:30

Group B
I find this group to be the most intriguing out of all of them. The winners aren't as clear cut as it seems. The favorites are Laos and Canada, but you can anticipate some real battles here. Colombia has gotten stronger every year, they play hard and they did knock off Sudan last year. Their team will be ready for this tournament. Afghanistan is another dark horse. Pay no attention to the draw vs. Poland, as Afghanistan were playing with the likes of Mike Collins and company, but they have picked up some impact players. They still have a ways to go to be considered a contender. With Jamaica, it's always interesting to see what they can bring to the table. They have a very good offence, but a weak defence. If they can shore up that defence, Jamaica could get back to being a legitimate team. Lastly, we come to Northern Ireland. They've been the cause of some upsets in years past, and they could pull if off again. I'd recommend following each game in this group fairly closely, because it'll be very close.

Predicted order of finish:
1. Canada
2. Laos
3. Colombia
4. Afghanistan
5. Jamaica
6. Northern Ireland

Game of the Group: Laos vs. Canada - Sunday, April 15 at 8:00
Stay tuned for Groups C and D.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rumblings

What's going on with different teams this year? Let's take a look...

Ireland- Lost top strikers David Brown to a knee injury, Jay Tomchuk and Brett Levis to Poland, and a couple other key cogs...is this finally the year Ireland crumbles? Knowing Ireland, they'll replace the players with some quality players and keep it going. It will be interesting, since they play Sudan right at the beginning, and won't have a difficult challenger until the playoffs.

El Salvador - Could be losing a key defender in Jordian Farahani and striker in Jerson Barandica-Hamilton to teams in the United States where they have tryouts scheduled. Remains to be seen how those tryouts go. Still, this is a team that took Ireland to shootouts last year. They'll still be quite strong.

France -  France is another team that will be missing some key players. Losing striker Brett Bachelu and defendersYianni Harbis and Mason Bulych will hurt the most, but France is replacing them with top players. The Patterson twins were in talks to join France, but it appears they'll remain with Germany this year. Expect France to be a top team and challenge El Salvador for Group D.

Poland -  It's easy to see why Poland is this year's most exciting team. With strong additions at striker and defence, a strong fan base, Poland has to be the most dangerous team in the tournament.

Germany - Assuming they can keep the Pattersons, Germany has added a couple more players from Regina and Saskatoon. They still need to find some consistency, but they're going in the right direction.

Serbia - Serbia is looking to add some former Ukraine players, and could a surprise contender in their group with Ireland and Sudan.

Canada - Look out for Canada this year. They've added a strong midfielder in Ahmed Shirif, and replaced a couple other players with good players. Definitely a strong team.

Colombia, Greece, Nigeria, Hungary and Northern Ireland are all taking part in the RSA Tournament at the end of February, this should be a decent indicator of what each team will bring to the WCP Cup.

Anything else?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Here's your 2012 WCP Cup Schedule.
Check it out in PDF format here.



Thursday, February 9, 2012

WCP Cup Schedule

FYI: Schedule has been delayed until February 12. I'll post the schedule here as soon as it's finished.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Look

Almost done the site updating, still a couple tweaks here and there though...

First, some BREAKING NEWS! Somalia has been added to Group A on the Men's Side. This makes all the groups even.

If your team has a website you'd like to include here, please let me know, and I'll gladly post it. If you have any other ideas, complaints or suggestions, again, let me know. I'll be in direct contact with WCP Cup organizers, so don't hesitate to give me a shout. I can be reached at wcpcupblog@hotmail.com.

Are you trying to schedule any exhibition games with teams? Looking to for someone to play with?
Let me know! 

Stay tuned for more updates.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Changes

Please be patient while the WCP Cup Blog undergoes a makeover.