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?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

WCP Cup Final

Ireland vs. Laos: 3-0 Ireland. A dominant performance all-around. It doesn't really need to be gone into detail. And with the cabaret last night, this thing is all wrapped up. Good show everybody! I'll get some details on next year for you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Semi Final Recap

Ireland vs. El Salvador: 2-1(PKs) Ireland. Great game to watch. El Salvador did very well getting up for their second big game in 2 days, and despite missing a couple key players, they managed to take Ireland to a penalty shoot-out. El Salvador knew what it would take to beat Ireland, and they executed it perfectly. They did much the same thing they did against France, which was to sit back and defend, and hope to take advantage of an opportunity if it came up. Criticize it, but that strategy had to be employed against Ireland if El Salvador wanted to have a chance at winning. Ireland controlled most of the game, but El Salvador wouldn't let them finish their chances.

Laos vs. Poland: Laos 4-3. Another overtime game. Both teams were aggressive and creative, and it was a great game to watch. Much more back and forth than the Ireland vs. ES game. It was a shame that one team had to lose, because they both were deserving of a spot in the final. Poland, uncharacteristically, made too many defensive errors this time. A red card put even more pressure on Poland, and Laos eventually capitalized. Laos knows how to win the big games, and they proved it again last night.

So we come to another Ireland vs. Laos final, something we've seen twice already before. The series is who will win the matchup this time around? Stay tuned! 5:00 on Saturday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quarter Finals Recap

Laos vs. Greece: 3-1 Laos. The Greeks showed why they were able to go undefeated in Group C with a strong effort against Laos. Scoring the first goal, Greece really started to worry Laos. Laos kept it together though, tieing it before half. Laos kept up the pressure in the second, and managed to finally break through and take the lead off a low shot beating the keeper. They added a third before the game was over. Pretty good game to watch, and it was great seeing Greece contend in the game.

Canada vs. Ireland: Ireland 7-2. Canada gave up a couple more goals than I thought they would, but the result was still the same. David Brown scored 5 goals, which is testament to his talent, but he was left open constantly to take those shots. He's the tournament's leading scorer, shadow the guy. I was very surprised Canada couldn't figure that out. No way a team should let a guy score 5 on them. Anyway, it's clear that Ireland is absolutely dominating the tournament. They'll likely coast through the rest of the playoffs.

France vs. El Salvador: 1-0 El Salvador. El Salvador won on essentially the last play of the game in the second overtime. It was well under the 2:00 minute mark when they got a free kick at the top of the box, and Riggs picked the top right corner with the shot. Needless to say, it was heartbreaking for a France team that expected to contend with Ireland in today's semi-final. The game itself started out fairly slow, with both teams getting a feel for their opponent. France started to take control, and they held it for most of the game. El Salvador had a few flashes where they had opportunities, but France were holding them in check for the most part. France covered the El Salvador players close, not allowing them to get up to their tricks. El Salvador hung back defensively, daring France to make something happen. And in the end, France simply weren't able to finish their chances. Simple as that. El Salvador capitalized on one good opportunity at the end. A disappointing end to the tournament. Both teams played very good, and I guess every team but one will be disappointed at the end. El Salvador goes on to take on Ireland tonight, and they have the unenviable task of trying to take down a very strong Ireland team.

Poland vs. Norway: 3-0 Poland. Norway played much better this time around, and showed much more patience with the ball. Neither team was showing much, but then Poland started to wear them down after a 0-0 first half. The second half was all Poland, and the shots came from everywhere. Poland moves on to face Laos tonight.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


France vs. El Salvador

Summary: France is a very strong team. They have proven players, they can completely shut down offensive teams, and they can score from anywhere on the field. Comparably, El Salvador is right up there. They have arguably more pure playmakers than France, and more shooters. France rely on a couple players to get it done, but El Salvador has a range of players that can score easily. France's players play much better working together as a unit, being able to move up and down the field as a team. Both teams are good, and this is a pretty even matchup. France's key to winning will be making sure El Salvador doesn't get time with the ball in space. El Salvador will have to play better as team and avoid costly breakdowns to win this one.

Prediction: 2 very exciting teams, and a great matchup. If France can play the way they did against every team but Greece, they'll win. Give El Salvador the time that France gave Greece, and they'll punish France. France should have the players to shut down El Salvador's playmakers, and then quickly counterattack while everyone's still up the field. France 3-2.

Norway vs. Poland

Summary: Norway was put into a fairly easy pool. Ireland was the top team by a large margin, and they proved that with an 8-2 victory over Norway. Norway hasn't shown anything to prove they'll be able to get by another very good team. Still, they will be better against Poland with addition of a couple players. Poland, on the other hand, played very tough games in a tough pool. By now, they're accustomed to playing close games against tough teams.

Prediction: The large majority of us haven't been treated to Norway's full-strength roster, nor have we seen them play with their lives on the line. Well, tonight we get both hopefully. Will they be able to match Poland? Doubtful. Poland knows exactly what to do and how to do it. They swept Group D for a reason, and I can't pick against such a hot team right now. They'll have the support of the crowd as well, and I'll say Poland 4-1.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Laos vs. Greece

Summary: The defending champs versus the surprise Greece. Not too many people saw this one coming, but it could be a good one. Greece moves fast, and they tackle hard. Laos is better known for their ball control, quickness, and solid teamwork. Both teams hustle hard to every ball. Laos were surprised by Sudan at the start, but still managed to win. They've looked strong so far, and haven't shown any real weaknesses. They don't have the same attacking flair, but they're still a very dangerous team. Greece won't impress you with their ball skills, but they'll outwork you until the end. They specialize in set pieces and hard tackling. Make no mistake, Greece is a difficult team to play against.

Prediction: Greece will punish a smaller Laos team physically. Laos will have to play smart and get that ball moving quickly to catch the Greeks out of position. This is pretty much Laos' specialty, and I think they'll execute it. The Greeks are good shot blockers, but Laos should be able to some shots by. I don't see Greece being able to keep up to Laos' scoring. Laos 3-1.

Ireland vs. Canada

Summary: Ireland is very strong, there's no denying it. Can anyone beat them? Maybe, but it'll take one great game to do it. Canada can be that team. There are few teams better suited to take on Ireland. Canada has a solid defence, they cover players tight, and can score 2-3 quality goals on any team. They'll definitely need some luck to beat this Ireland team though. Ireland has quality at every position, but they haven't faced a team that's given them a real challenge yet. Ireland has to be forced to pass the ball around, and they'll need patience to beat Canada. Hopefully Canada can give them a good game.

Prediction: Ireland hasn't faced a quality team yet, so they could be surprised by Canada. All the pressure is on Ireland, as they're expected to win easily. Canada can come out and play their game, with no real worries. The longer Canada can keep Ireland from scoring, the more panicked they'll get, and the more Canada's confidence builds. However, Ireland is still a top-notch squad. Canada is good, no question, but they didn't exactly win convincingly against Ukraine, they tied Germany, and lost to Poland. Ireland is better than all those teams, and they'll show up to play. Everyone is cheering for the upset, but I just don't think it'll happen. Ireland 5-2.

Monday, April 18, 2011

WCP Cup Weekend Recap

I'll keep this short because I want to get to some playoff previews. Most games ended up being irrelevant, so let's go over the ones that actually meant something.


The most meaningful day for some of the best teams...

Canada vs. Ukraine: 2-1 Canada. Another extremely close Canada victory. Ukraine played very good, and were in control for most of the game, but Canada got 2 quick goals near the end and came away with the win. That makes 2 close games in which Ukraine was in control and gave away in the end. Unfortunate way to go out.

Jamaica vs. Poland: 5-1 Poland, In a must-win game for Jamaica, they came out very flat. In a meaningless game for Poland, they came out flying. Poland sweeps Group D, and they have to be extremely proud of themselves no matter how this tournament ends. Back to the drawing board for Jamaica, as this is the 3rd or 4th year in a row where they've been expected to contend and have fallen hard. Poland goes through in 1st place.

Afghanistan vs. Nigeria: 6-3 Afghanistan. Nigeria, after being hyped all pre-tournament, fell flat again. They were strong in exhibition games, but that didn't translate at all to the tournament. Beatings by Greece, France and Afghanistan made the tournament a disaster for them. That just goes to show there's no point in even coming to this blog until the tournament starts.

Laos vs. El Salvador: 1-1 tie. In the game to decide Group A, both teams came out ready to fight hard for first. Laos struck first fairly early, and El Salvador responded immediately. Everyone thought we'd be in for a high-scoring game from then on, but it never happened. Neither team applied intense pressure, because El Salvador was simply trying not to lose, and Laos still would win the group with a tie. Still, a good game though. Both teams looked strong.


Essentially the big wrap-up day for the Group stages. This day decided the final playoff positions, even with a couple games on Monday.

Women's Poland vs. Women's Canada:
2-1 Canada. Intense game. That is all.

England note: They salvaged some pride this weekend, I think. They tied Portugal 4-4 and lost to Serbia 4-3. Close games, and likely gives them reason to come back next year.

Women's El Salvador vs. Women's Chile: 2-0 Chile. Another win-or-you're-out game, Chile edged El Salvador for the final playoff spot in their group as well. They'll take on Ukraine.

Ireland vs. Norway: 8-2 Ireland. The battle for top spot in Group B was a battle in the same way that a broom can be considered a fruit.

Canada vs. Germany: 1-1 tie. A must-win game for Germany, but they just couldn't pull it out in the end. Both teams missed capitalizing on some very good chances. Injuries and suspensions took their toll on Germany, but overall they had a good showing. Rough start, but very strong recovery. Unfortunately for them and Ukraine, it was inevitable for the Group D teams.

Ukraine vs. Jamaica: 5-2 Ukraine.

France vs. Afghanistan: 8-2 France. The final win-or-you're-out game of the tournament, France took it to Afghanistan. After much hullabaloo over their possible demise, they finish as expected.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

WCP Friday Recap

Women's England vs. Women's Italy: 2-0 England. Unexpected test for England, but they're still rolling.

Poland vs. Scotland: 7-1 Poland.

Austria vs. Northern Ireland:
Tied 2-2.

France vs. Nigeria:
2-0. France came through in a game they absolutely had to win. Not the prettiest, but a win nonetheless. France now faces another must-win against Afghanistan to go through on Sunday night.

Friday, April 15, 2011

WCP Cup Thursday Recap

YG Brazil vs. El Salvador: Brazil 6-0

Women's Germany vs. Women's Austria: 9-1 Austria.

El Salvador vs. Colombia: 4-0 El Salvador. Colombia has taken some great strides in the tournament, and this game was another good one for them. They missed a lot of opportunities, and they definitely had a chance to upset El Salvador. The scoreline doesn't show it, but a great game by Colombia. The tournament has to considered a success for Colombia, and look for them to improve on it next year. El Salvador vs. Laos will decide the group tomorrow.

Greece vs. Afghanistan: Greece 4-1. Greece finished their group games, and in the process, they moved into sole possession of first place in Group C. What does this mean for the rest of Group C? Greece has 4 wins and a tie, and they'll be going through. The rest is wide open. The France vs. Nigeria game is a must-win for both teams. The loser will likely be out, assuming both France and Nigeria beat Afghanistan...and that's not a guarantee either. This weekend will be very interesting for Group C. Massive game tonight for France and Nigeria.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WCP Cup Monday to Wednesday Recap


YG Canada vs. Germany: 3-3 tie.

YB Italy vs. Ukraine: 6-5 Italy.

Greece vs. Italy: 3-0 Greece. Greece continues rolling. Undefeated in the group.

Jamaica vs. Scotland: 5-0 Jamaica. Scotland played very hard once again, but again, they just aren't on par with the rest of their group.


YB England vs. Germany: 9-4 Germany.

YG Brazil vs. England: 5-0 Brazil.

Ireland vs. Serbia: 10-2 Ireland. What did you expect?

Italy vs. Nigeria: 5-2 Nigeria. Nigeria is back on form, and Italy faces Botswana for personal pride in their last game. Nigeria takes on France on Friday night in a huge game for both teams.


YB Canada vs. Scotland: 4-2 Scotland.

YB England vs. Ukraine: 10-1 Ukraine.

Austria vs. El Salvador: 4-1 El Salvador.

Laos vs. Colombia
: 6-2 Laos. The stage is set for the Laos vs. El Salvador showdown on Saturday. It will determine the top 3 positions in the group. Will we get to see Sudan in the playoffs? Can El Salvador wrestle first place away from Laos? Saturday night, be there.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WCP Cup Weekend Recap: Sunday

Sunday Recap

Women's Poland vs. Women's Italy: 2-2 tie.

Youth Girls Brazil vs. Youth Girls Italy: 2-2 tie.

Women's Germany vs. Women's El Salvador: 5-2 Germany. Germany took it to El Salvador. It was a dose of reality for ES after thrashing Austria 10-0, and it's clear they still have work to do in order to be mentioned in the top teams.

Women's Ukraine vs. Women's Canada: 5-2 Ukraine. Ukraine continues to roll towards the playoffs, and look unbeatable right now. Their biggest test is yet to come though, when they face England on Saturday.

Youth Boys Germany vs. Youth Boys Italy: 5-4 Germany. If you haven't been able to catch a Youth Boys game, go check one out. The soccer is exciting, intense, and generally just fun to watch. Scout a couple kids for the future.

Austria vs. Sudan: 5-2 Sudan. Sudan got back on track against Austria, showing off the abilities that made so dangerous against Laos and El Salvador. Sudan was up 3-0, and it looked like they might put the game out of reach, but Austria scored 2 quick goals to make it 3-2. They put the pressure on Sudan, but a couple more breakdowns led to a Sudan victory.

Canada vs. Poland: 3-1 Poland. The main draw of the night. Canada and Poland were the top two teams in the toughest group, and a victory would go a long way towards securing first, not to mention a playoff spot. Canada looked to be in control early on, and they scored the first goal. Poland gradually figured out Canada's gameplan, answering back before half, and then it looked to be Poland's game from there on in. Canada was controlling the ball well at the back, but Poland was completely closing down any legitimate chances on goal. Poland eventually got their 2nd goal, and Canada still weren't able to put any pressure on Poland. The Poles added a third as the game closed out. Poland has emerged as the clear front-runner in the group, and have a firm grip on first. The fight for second will be a dogfight.

Norway vs. Sierra Leone: 5-1 Norway. Norway improved to 4-0, assuring themselves a playoff spot. They've improved as the games have gone on, and even though their pool is fairly easy, it's still a notable accomplishment. The battle for first with Ireland takes place on Sunday.

Ukraine vs. Germany: 3-2 Germany. The other big Group D on the schedule didn't disappoint. A back and forth affair saw Germany come through with the victory. It was a physical, hard-fought game, finally coming to a peak with two red cards at the end of the game. Germany has improved with every game, and they're really starting to show the skill that made them an early group favorite. Solid play all-around. Ukraine had a tough weekend with two losses. Still, they played quite well. In both games Ukraine has shown they have the skills to be a top contender, but it's just not coming together for them. They're not out yet, but the road through the group is tough.

France vs. Greece: 4-4 tie. The most shocking result of the night belonged to this game. France, touted as a top contender, was put to the test by an undefeated Greek team. It became clear France wouldn't have another easy game on their hands after Greece managed to block all of France's shots in the opening minutes, and it wasn't long until a long free kick found it's way into the net to make it 1-0. France answered back very soon after, and that seemed to be the story of the game. Greece would score, and France would score right back. Greece seemingly won it when they blasted one home in the last minute, only to have France score on a long header on the last play of the game. Both teams played tough and exciting soccer, and this group just got a lot more interesting. With Nigeria looking back on form and a good Afghanistan team looming, France and Greece will have their work cut out for them. Keep a close eye on this group.

Afghanistan vs. Botswana: 9-2 Afghanistan. Afghanistan dominated Botswana, and it's clear Botswana isn't the same upset-ready team they once were. Afghanistan looked good, and they'll give France, Greece and Nigeria some good games.

Monday, April 11, 2011

WCP Cup Weekend Recap: Saturday

The weekend was filled with excitement, so let's get to the recaps. Sunday's recaps will follow later.

Youth Boys Canada vs. Youth Boys Germany: 3-3 tie.

Women's Canada vs. Women's Italy: 2-1 Italy.

Youth Boys Scotland vs. Youth Boys Ukraine: 6-3 Ukraine.

Norway vs. Portugal: Norway 4-1. Norway is playing better. They're controlling the game a lot better, and good thing too, because their final game is against Ireland next Sunday.

Youth Girls Canada vs. Youth Girls England: 5-3 England.

Women's Poland vs. Women's England: 8-2 England.

Colombia vs. Sudan: 2-1 Colombia. UPSET SPECIAL! Colombia pulled off the upset against the most talked-about team in a crazy game. Sudan had chance after chance, but the resilient Colombia team stepped up to keep the ball out of the net. By the end of the game it was chance after chance for Sudan, and Colombia always managing to get in the way and block or clear it. Another great game to watch.

Jamaica vs. Germany: 5-3 Jamaica. Germany came out firing Saturday, but Jamaica was able to capitalize on almost every single German mistake. A back and forth game, Jamaica always seemed to get a goal only to have Germany come right back with their own. Only at the very end, when the entire German team rushed forwardSome beautiful goals, great passing, and exciting soccer. Both teams opened the tournament with bad games, and this was a statement game for both. The level of play was much higher this time, and all the teams are still in it. I'll elaborate on that in the Sunday recap. Great game by two good teams.

England vs. Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone 3-1. England was looking for redemption, but they wouldn't find it against a good Sierra Leone team. Still, a much better game.

Laos vs. Austria: Laos 5-1. Laos is looking ready for a strong playoff run. After their Sudan surprise, they've looked fairly solid. Next real test is against El Salvador next Saturday.

Botswana vs. Nigeria: Nigeria 3-1. Nigeria was able to bounce back after their Greek defeat to beat Botswana. They've got a good chance to make it out if they can produce a result against Afghanistan and France.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Who had fun watching Ireland blowout England?

No one likes being part of a blowout. Last night, you know who felt good after Ireland's 14-0 thrashing of England? Not the WCP Cup Organizers. Not the fans. Not England. Not anyone who's considering coming to watch exciting soccer. Not Ireland(well...they probably felt alright). It hurts the tournament to see results like this.

WCP needs to do something about the disparity between teams. This is the background on it: People want to play in this tournament, and people want to win this tournament. Some people have the luxury of being able to recruit people from around the province to help them win. Some don't. Ireland picks up the best players they can to help them win. They don't need all the best players, because they're pretty good anyway, but they recruit hard nonetheless. Players will come play for them, and why not? They have a good chance at winning. You can't fault Ireland players for being skilled. England is a group of players who play hard, but simply aren't as skilled as Ireland. It's obvious there's a large gap in talent, but England doesn't go around trying to get the best players on their team. They can't. I'm not trashing Ireland, and I'm not trashing England. NOBODY WANTS TO BE A PART OF A BLOWOUT. It's a fault that has naturally occurred in this tournament. So what can be done about this?

OPTIONS: 1. There's been talk of instituting a rule that a team can only have a certain amount of out-of-town players. It makes teams take on more Regina players, and since fans are all from Regina, it creates a bigger draw to the tournament. The Saskatoon players could still come down, but they would play on different teams. Not that big of a deal. This is really just an Ireland rule. But it's been talked about.

2. A qualifying tournament. Each year, anyone can submit a team. There's no boundaries. You want to submit a team? Go ahead, you just need to find enough players. So how about a qualifying tournament for say...the bottom 12 teams? The problem with that is cost. What teams would be willing to pay essentially the same fee to compete just to participate in the WCP Cup? It's a tough call.

3. More pools. Pools are at 6 teams a pool. The World Cup has 4 teams in each pool. More pools would mean that each game is extremely critical. If a good team gets upset in WCP Cup, they can hammer on 3-4 other teams to gain that advantage back. Lots of teams have no chance of making it out of their pools now. But say you have a pool with Laos, Colombia, Austria, and Nigeria. Sure Laos will probably come out, but second place is lot more uncertain. It can come down to the last game of the group, whereas in the current format, you know who's out of the tournament long before all the games are finished. This option makes it more exciting for the weaker teams.


As a player, you don't want to blowout a team. You want to provide excitement for the people who come to watch, and you want to play good soccer. But what are you supposed to do if you're on a good team? Score on yourself? Play a man down?

Teams are getting better, make no mistake. I'd say there are 12-13 quality teams in the tournament, and it gets better every year. Look at how exciting Group D is. Group A too. We've seen good games in Group B and C as well. The tournament is still as good as it's ever been.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it an overreaction to a couple blowouts, ex. Ireland vs. England and France vs. Italy? Does something need to be done?

WCP Cup Friday Recap

Poland vs. Ukraine: 2-1 Poland. Ukraine was up 1-0 for the better part of the game, and it looked they were on the verge of a second before Poland got two quick goals with about 4 minutes left. A good game to watch, and Poland has managed to take an early lead for the group favorite. Canada is next up for Poland on Sunday, and Ukraine takes on Germany an hour after that. Group D features Germany and Jamaica today, where the loser is likely done in the group.

Ireland vs. England: 14-0. All-around embarrassment for everyone involved.

Colombia vs. Northern Ireland: 3-2 Colombia. Colombia gets their first win of the tournament. Next up, Colombia gets to take on Sudan today.

Friday, April 8, 2011

WCP Cup Thursday Recap

Youth Girls England vs. Youth Girls Germany: 4-3 England.

Women's Chile vs. Women's Ireland: 3-1 Chile. Chile is proving they belong back in the conversation with Ukraine, Germany, and England.

Canada vs. Scotland: 7-0 Canada. An expected scoreline, and it doesn't look like Scotland will be able to pull off any upsets in this group.

France vs. Italy: 11-1 France. I was really hoping Italy would give them a game. It was over within the first 10 minutes.

Overall, a fairly boring night. Fans were great for the Women's Chile and Ireland game, but that's to be expected out of Chile fans. Also, if anyone is interested in joining a USA team next year, please contact Chad Isaac at He's looking to start up the team, and would like to know ASAP if people are interested.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

WCP Cup Wednesday Recap

Youth Girls El Salvador vs. Youth Girls Canada: 4-1 Canada.

Women's El Salvador vs. Women's Austria: 11-0 El Salvador. Honestly, no matter how much better the other team is, you should never lose by that much. Especially when El Salvador isn't even a top team themselves.

Norway vs. Serbia: Norway 3-2. Serbia went up early 2-0 off of Norway mistakes, but Norway eventually clawed their way back to win 3-2. Serbia played pretty good, but Norway has to start showing more than this. If they want to be considered a top team, they have to win these games comfortably. No more critical mistakes, and start controlling the pace of the game. Norway has a history of playing down to their competition, so they better be careful. Luckily for them, they'll likely be in the playoffs due to a fairly easy group.

Sudan vs. El Salvador: Sudan 6-3. You want to watch exciting soccer? Go watch a Sudan game. They are, by far, the most exciting team in the tournament. No team has more passion for the game. When you've got players that truly believe they can rifle a shot top corner from half, you've got a team to watch. When you've got players that will backheel it to their centerback, regardless of who's around, you've got a team to watch. After their Laos game, in which they barely shot, they came out firing the ball. Tied 1-1, El Salvador started to come together, making it 3-1. But Sudan is at their best when they're all-out attacking, and they roared back with 5 unanswered goals. Sudan has been nothing but excitement, and you add in some great ball skills, a couple players with reach like Dhalsim from Street Fighter, and they're now the team to beat in Group A.
This makes the game between El Salvador and Laos mean everything. If Laos wins, it will be Laos in first and Sudan in second. If El Salvador wins, it'll be a toss-up between the three teams, with Sudan leading the way on Goals For. This is all assuming those three teams win the rest of their games in the group. Either way, get set to see much more of Sudan.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WCP Cup Tuesday Recap

Youth Girls Germany vs. Youth Girls El Salvador: Tie 1-1.

Women's Ukraine vs. Women's Italy: Ukraine 8-1. There's a clear disparity between some women's teams, and Ukraine is at the head of the class.

Austria vs. Columbia: 2-1 Austria.

Greece vs. Botswana: 2-1 Greece. Greece is looking like the early favorite to take second place in the group. Can they challenge France for first? We'll see. The matchup between Greece and Afghanistan will likely decide second place.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Monday Recap

Youth Boys England vs. Youth Boys Italy: 4-3 Italy.

Afghanistan vs. Italy: Afghanistan 4-2. Keep an eye out for Aghanistan. They've got a couple goal-scorers, and could be dangerous in this group. They played together all indoor, going undefeated in Div.4. It's Div.4, but that still takes skill. They play well together.

Portugal vs. Ireland: Ireland 10-3.

Laos vs. Northern Ireland: Laos 7-2. Nice bounce-back game for Laos.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday Recap

Saturday Recap Below

Youth Girls Brazil vs. Youth Girls Canada: Canada 5-2.

Youth Boys Canada vs. Youth Boys England. Canada 10-0.

Women’s Canada vs. Women’s England: England 8-2. England starts their tournament off with a bang. The top Women’s teams are becoming clearer by the day. England is clearly gunning for Ukraine.

Women’s Austria vs. Women’s Chile: Chile 7-0. Chile is back after a disappointing showing last year, and they’re in the mix with Ukraine, England and Germany as contenders.

Portugal vs. Serbia: 3-2 Portugal. Portugal held off Serbia for a 3-2 win. Not the most still-filled game of the tournament, but nonetheless entertaining.

Ukraine vs. Scotland : 5-0 Ukraine. I’ll say this. Scotland is trying hard. They’re a young team, they run hard, hustle, don’t give up, but they are in for a very rough tournament. This isn’t anything new. They’ve been placed in the toughest group, and it’s extremely likely that all their games end up this way. Ukraine will be tough to take down in this group.

Norway vs. England: Norway 4-1. Although you wouldn’t necessarily see it from the scoreline, Norway did not look like a team that’s expected to challenge Ireland in the group. Far too many mistakes, poor touches and a lack of discipline. Neither team was able to really gain control in the game, and it looked as though it could go either way for the most part. Norway eventuall potted a couple more goals to seal it. However, it has to be noted that Norway were missing a couple key players and that it was the first game of the tournament. I expect a better showing at their next game. England is a decent team though, they played well.

Poland vs. Germany: Poland 4-2. The third shocking result of the weekend. Poland went up early on Germany, and never looked back. It was 3-0 by the time Germany finally scored, and Poland scored one more to seal it before the Germans scored in the last 10 seconds of the game. Germany was expected to be an offensive force, but none of this was seen during their game against Poland. The reason became quite apparent as the game wore on, which was that Germany completely took their own midfield out of the game. The word “possession” is a word that the Germans have to learn if they want to win this group. The long ball is a great way to catch a team off-guard once in awhile, but it can’t be used every single time. Poland knew it was coming every time and simply clogged it up and retook possession. While the German defence ball-watched, Polish players ran into space and punished them. Germany is one of the most talented teams in the tournament, but they blew this one. It was disappointing to watch a team as good as Germany stumble like that. This was their first game together since last year, and you can bank on them being better than that in their next game. And Poland? Great game by every player. They knew Germany is very tough to handle, and they made a real statement with that victory. Hard work, solid defence, good goalkeeping, and goal-scoring from everywhere makes them a very real threat to make it out of the group. Look out for Poland.

Nigeria vs. Greece: Greece 4-2. This game was a shocker, but for all the wrong reasons. Sloppy play from both teams, and Greece just ended up overwhelming Nigeria. Nigeria was supposed to have top notch team play, and we saw that in the RSA tournament. Yesterday? Non-existent. Turnover after turnover killed them. Greece took full advantage of every turnover. Nigeria has to get their act together, and they’ve got an uphill battle to make it out of this group. I’m looking to Afghanistan as the next team in line to take second place in the group, and their game against Greece should be interesting. Congratulations to Greece, as they held together against Nigeria. Not an easy task.

Saturday Recap

Sunday Recap to Follow

Opening Ceremonies: Great work by the OC for keeping it short and sweet. They understood that no one wanted to listen to a whole bunch of speeches, and we got right to some great soccer.

So, by now you've probably heard of the big story of the weekend. Laos vs. Sudan.

It started right after Opening Ceremonies. The entire Sudan team came out ready to go, warming up in a very organized fashion. There was still quite a bit of time before kick-off, but Sudan just kept warming up. And apparently they needed to be as warmed-up as possible, because they ran Laos ragged. We saw a glimpse of last year’s Laos team at the start of the game, but Sudan soon took the game over. No one was getting by Sudan’s #2 at the back and no one could stop Sudan’s wingers or strikers from zipping by, but Sudan’s downfall came from a lack of shots. They have to shoot more if they want to make it to the playoffs. Laos didn’t have the depth or raw talent to compete with Sudan, but they did have organization. They held off a very good Sudan team, and came out with the 2-1 win off of an own goal. Sudan’s goal-keeping is also lacking, and I think that will cost them against a very accurate shooting team like El Salvador.

Women’s Ukraine vs. Women’s Poland: 5-1 Ukraine. Ukraine starts off their title defence strong, but the scoreline is a tad deceiving. Poland’s critical mistakes cost them every time.

Youth Boys Scotland vs. Youth Boys Germany: 5-3 Scotland.

Youth Girls England vs. Youth Girls El Salvador: 3-1 England.

Ireland vs. Sierra Leone: Ireland 9-1. Ireland continued their usual domination of every team. Sierra Leone isn’t that bad, it’s just that Ireland contains all the best soccer players. What else is new?

Women’s Germany vs. Women’s Ireland: 4-0 Germany. Germany will be challenging Ukraine and England for the championship this year. Count on it.

France vs. Botswana: France 7-0. France cruised in this one. Botswana never put up much of a fight, but France certainly wasn't going to let them. They likely won’t face a real challenge until playoffs.

Jamaica vs. Canada: 5-0 Canada. In the 2nd of 3 major stories from the weekend, Canada destroyed Jamaica. Jamaica, going through their usual pre-tournament hype, was expected to at least put up a fight. That wasn’t the case. 10 minutes into the game and it was apparent where this one was going. Canada, true to their Enter club team roots, shut down all Jamaican strikers. They blanketed Jamaica’s midfield, so they didn’t even have chance to get the strikers in play.
With the midfield covered, the strikers non-existent, it became a free-for-all on Canada to feast on Jamaica’s defence. This game was a statement game for Canada, and it’s apparent that they are the team to beat in this group. However, expect closer games from Canada in the coming weeks. Solid all-around team. As for Jamaica, they have to figure out a way to stop the bleeding. Teams can exploit them, and they’re doomed if they don’t shore up a bad defence.

El Salvador vs. Northern Ireland: ES 7-3. An expected result, but give Northern Ireland credit. They played quite well, but El Salvador can put goals away much too easily.