7:30 Laos vs GreeceThe defending champs take on this years Cinderella story Greece. Greece have proven they can hang with the big boys having tied France in the round robin. However, Laos poses a much different threat than France. What makes this match-up so interesting is Greece's and Laos' completely contrasting styles. Greece is a very physical team that will sit back and soak up pressure well getting stuck in on every opportunity. Laos is very attacking minded and will carry the play while moving the ball quick in hopes that it will eliminate Greece's physical game.
What to Watch:
A couple things to keep an eye on in this game. First is the battle on the wings. This is where the most space can be found and I imagine what Laos will try to expose against Greece. Greece, on the other hand, has done a great job of double teaming players down the wing and has been able to cancel out those attacks. If Greece does commit men to doubling on the wings, as they often have will that leave shooters, such as Bryan Murrell, with clear lanes to the net? Finally, you have to wonder if Greece can continue to score on every opportunity they get? Their finishing has been clinical to say the least and it will have to continue if they want a chance in this game.
3-1 Laos. I would love to see Greece win this game I just think that Laos has too much fire power for Greece to deal with. Then again, I said the same things when Greece played France and boy was I wrong. Besides Greece loves being the underdog so hopefully this just fuels that fire.
8:30 ROI vs CanadaLast years runners up against last years forth place finishers in what should be a better battle than most think. Skill-wise there is not really a question as too who is the better team. ROI is likely technically superior in almost every position. That doesn't necessarily translate into a win though. In a game which takes place on such a small field with so many large bodies, tactics and stamina can play a huge part in the result. I would expect to see Canada sit back, get bodies behind the ball and let ROI carry the game while trying to counter attack at every opportunity.
What to Watch:
The biggest thing to watch in this game is who scores first. If its ROI, watch out. We all saw what happened to poor Norway when they conceded early. However, if it happens to be Canada. Game on! Canada is a team that loves playing from in front. It really suits their style. Something else to monitor is where Canada plays Jarvis. Do they move him to the back to deal with Brown and try someone else in the middle or do they keep him where he has been all tournament, in the midfield. I really think this game will come down to set pieces, specifically who gives up more. Both teams has been deadly on them and I will look for that trend to continue.
4-2 ROI. Obviously this is incredibly biased. I am not going to pick against my own team. I do definitely think Canada will make a game of this I just think ROI will be too much for them eventually. ROI on top, I hope!
9:30 France vs El SalvadorIn what many expect to be the best and whiniest game of the night are the top team France and and a very, very good team in El Salvador. I actually had El Salvador winning their group going into the tournament but a loss to Sudan changed things. France had their own setback in the Greece game but had a very strong showing against Afghanistan so they will be riding high. These are two great teams so I expect this to be an amazing, and close game.
What to Watch:
I have a feeling that these two teams midfields will cross each other out. There is a lot of skill in there but also a lot of bodies. The key for me in this match will be hold up play by the strikers. Jerson, Alvaro for ES and Scholan, Rory for France. Who will better link the play for their team? Jerson and Rory will also be the guys pulling the trigger for their respective teams. Who will have their shooting boots on?
4-3 France. I have France easily wining the whole thing so I have to continue to go with them. This could be an OT game. I haven't quite decided yet. I see this one being a very back and forth, tight game. Teams will spend the early goings feeling each other out but the goals will come. This should be an epic one!
10:30 Poland vs NorwayPoland is a team I did not even pick to make it out of their group but here they are undefeated. Norway on the other team comes into this game very defeated. Killed by ROI in their last game, a game in which I really expected a lot more from them, Norway was not impressive. This will be a physical game played at a million miles per hour. If you want to see the ball get knocked around the pitch this isn't going to be your cup of tea. These are two of the hardest working teams in the tournament and that should make this an extremely fast paced game.
What to Watch:
Like I said before this will be a fast paced game but that's not what it will come down too. What it will come down too is the skilled players. That's Reis, Stefan, and Sawka for Norway and Bart, Sarazen and Meschke for Poland. Someone will have to step up and be the deciding factor in this game and I expect it to be one of these six. This game will be decided on a moment or two of individual brilliance. Just wait for it.
3-1 Poland. After Norway's last showing I really don't see them beating anyone good. I know they like to say they are a big game team but 1 big game win does not cross out their overall bod of work. Expect this to go down to the wire but Poland to pull it out.