The Top 4
Republic of Ireland- Ireland will be dealing with losing 3 of their top playmakers this year, with their main striker, center defender, and main keeper leaving(Brett Bachelu, Benno Looft, Tristan Manz respectively). This is a severe blow to the team, but Ireland is still a force to be reckoned with. They will be able to fill those positions, and though they won't be as dominant as before, anyone underestimating Ireland will be in for a major surprise. Ireland has big, strong, and skilled players at every position. Ireland may have lost some guys, but don't be surprised to see them making a run at the final once again.
Laos- After finishing second place last year, Laos will be making another run at the WCP Cup. The team remains completely intact from last year, meaning you can consider Laos a top contender. With the addition of perhaps a couple players, including Josh Northey on the wing, they look to be even better. A quick and tricky team, Laos works out of the midfield in a variety of ways. They can score from anywhere. They can be exploited, but for a team to beat Laos, they will have to play solid team soccer for the entire game. You give Laos a chance, and they will bury your team.
Scotland- Scotland is another team very much unchanged, with the exception of their keeper, J.D. Blakley, who might not be back from SFU in time for the tournament. Scotland's reputation is as a team that won't give up goals, but has a bit of trouble scoring. However, their team will be in contention in every game they play. They will be hard-pressed to repeat their bronze medal performance, but they are certainly more than capable. Scotland dares you to underestimate them.
Ukraine- Ukraine has picked up a couple solid players to help solidify their line-up. The most notable of these is Benno Looft, who looks to be playing center back. Although they have lost offensive players Danny Marchinko and Paul Scollan, Ukraine has picked up some very good replacements for them that have the ability to push them over the top. They retain dominant wings and strikers with a solid midfield. Look for Ukraine to be a very dominant force this tournament.