Wednesday, 23 March 2011

2011 Mens (Group A)

Group A appears to be the second hardest of the four groups. Laos are last years champs and there are rumors abound that El Salvador has strengthened their team. Northern Ireland is a team known to pull off the occasional upset (trust me I know) and Austria gave France a tough battle last year. Columbia and Sudan round off an intriguing group.

Laos:
Last years champs will look to repeat which is not an easy thing to do. It's cliche but they will be getting everyone's best shot.

Strengths:
Tactically they are very strong, I mean any team that actually practices during the tournament better be organized. Laos is as quick of a team as you will come across and play a very high tempo game. Hardworking and technically solid. Would be easy to say they are undersized but do surprisingly well in the aerial battle.

Weaknesses:
If they have lost Northey it is the hardest hit any team will take it the entire tournament. That guy demands loads of attention which can now be distributed elsewhere. Center mid may also have taken a hit.

Player to Watch:
Boun Phoummabout - Winger - If Northey is out Boun will be expected to saddle a lot more of the load. Not sure anyone is capable of doing that but if I had to pick someone out it'd be Boun.

Odds of Winning:
5/1

El Salvador:
Champions the very first year the WCP Cup existed have failed to be able to make it back to the finals. A team that loves to have fun and that is evident in their play. Celebrate on!

Strengths:
Technically one of the best teams, if not the best, in the entire tournament. Don't want to get caught in a 1 v 1 situation with almost anyone on this side. They are an offensive threat every time they get the ball.

Weaknesses:
The cost of all out attack is that you are often prone to the counter. With so much dribbling they sometimes forget to shoot. Not sure about their goalkeeping situation? Something to watch.

Player to Watch:
Josip Coric - Forward - A natural goalscorer who will ripple the twine at least a few times. Will show up in game shape.

Odds of Winning:
4-1

Columbia:
A team that has never really come close to advancing to knockout stages but has played in some very memorable games.

Strengths:
Have a couple solid young players who are willing to run and will shoot from everywhere. Dangerous from set pieces, keepers will be called into action. Driven on by tremendous fan support.

Weaknesses:
Heavily reliant on just a few players who will be gassed by the time this tournament is done. Suspect defense and goalkeeping will mean they will need goals galore to keep up.

Player to Watch:
Paco - Midfielder - A swift footed player who just needs a yard of space to let loose a shot. Their main set piece taker I would assume.

Odds of Winning:
90/1

Austria
Another team which has never made it through to the knockout stages but has played some very good teams into tight games. Not a team to be overlooked.

Strengths:
Bring your shinguards because even if Austria don't beat you, you will certainly know they were out there. A powerful, fast team that can score out of nowhere. Skill is underrated.

Weaknesses:
Sometimes can be too physical and their tempers will flare causing lapses in concentration. Not the deepest squad you will find. Have lost their keeper so that is a major cause for concern.

Player to Watch:
Ben Wolfmueller - Defender/Mid - Not as consistent as he used to be but can still be a dominant player when he wants to. Tough as nails and has a cannon of a left boot.

Odds of Winning:
75-1

Northern Ireland:
Have previously made it to the knock out stages and didn't look out of place. Are in tough to repeat that feat.

Strengths:
This is a team that is going to play whistle to whistle. Willing to sacrifice everything they have for the cause and are defensively sound. Keeper has been known to come up with big saves when called upon.

Weaknesses:
Goals will be few and far between for N. Ireland. Not a real goal scorer or playmaker amongst the bunch. They will be under a lot of pressure as they have some trouble holding the ball.

Player to Watch:
Sascha Franzke - GK - Played against him in an exhibition game this year. Was nearly unbeatable and made several spectacular saves.

Odds of Winning:
45/1

Sudan:
This team is new to the tournament and very little is known about them.

Strengths:
Have heard they are extremely fast and will chase down everything. Nothing is a lost cause. Tough to prepare for since so little is known.

Weaknesses:
Reckless tackling results in fouls and if they don't have a solid keeper that could spell big trouble.

Player to Watch:


Odds of Winning:
200/1

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Josip for ES will be a bust. Played against him during Mens Provincials in outdoor and he was a non-factor and was a supplementary striker for that Chilean kid that plays for ES.

Anonymous said...

jerson?

slaughterrico said...

I think jerry will be busy with school so thats why i think josip. He will challenge for top scorer this year.

Anonymous said...

actually both jerson and jossip will be there for the entire tournament. both up front will be a great duo.

Anonymous said...

es picked up mitch canton, one of the best keepers in the mens league in saskatoon if not the best. All the hype about not having a good keeper is now squashed. as well picked up emman pineda. 17 year old ntc kid from toon town. es has plenty of options up front as well with ronni torres.

Anonymous said...

wow ES used to be a really proud Regina team with lost of skilled Regina players and now it seems like its mostly Stoon with a few Regina guys peppered in, another ROI type of team making its way in there, all these names nobody knows or cares about, kinda gettin dumd, I hope this is last team that does this, Stoon peeps are way to cocky for their own good

Anonymous said...

The last post sounds like someone who is bitter and was left off a roster for better players or a better fit for the team.

The harsh reality for some players is that this tournament is expanding with player talent and growing in popularity. Therefore some players may struggle to make rosters or be in the plans for that specific team. This process goes on in the real world cup as well.