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?

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  and there may be an online item on the main 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


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.


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:

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.