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.