Group A appears to be the easiest group to pick. After ROI and Sudan there is a major drop off. I may be the greatest ever at drawing my pool because we seem to end up with the easiest pools ever every year. Should be a walk through for the top 2.
ROIHaving won the tournament multiple times ROI will look to continue their success. A lot of turnover on their roster, ROI have brought in some new names and faces but will likely make a strong push for the final.
Strengths:ROI are probably the deepest team in the tournament. Most of their backups would be starters on any other team. They have a lot of very skilled players and a sound keeper. Physically they are one of larger teams as well and won't be afraid to getting into a pushing match.
Weaknesses:This is not the powerhouse ROI team of last year. They have lost a lot of firepower from last year especially up front. It remains to be seen where their goals will come from. With so much turnover you can expect a bit of a learning curve.
What David Thinks:ROI will make it through the group with ease. Although losing Brett and Tomchuk to Poland and myself to injury there are other guys on the roster that score goals. What separates ROI from any other team in WCP is the depth of the squad. I do not see ROI getting tested to much in this group.
Mike - 1st
Projected Finish Within Pool:
Projected Finish Within Pool:
David - 1st
Sudan was the Cinderella story of last year's tournament. No one knew anything about them but they quickly became a fan favorite playing Laos closely and beating El Salvador. Had it not been for a loss against Colombia (nailed that spelling) they would have made it to the knock out stage.
Strengths:This is one of the most physically gifted teams in the tournament. Extremely athletic, they rely on speed and the ability to seemingly score rippers from anywhere on the pitch. They have shown that they have a deadly counter attack as we all learned in watching them play ES last year.
Weaknesses:I think anyone could answer this one: Goalkeeping. It was horrendous at best. Some really poor goals allowed especially the one against Colombia. They also are slightly reliant on several key players (Tong Tong). Not sure if that will be the case this year.
What David Thinks:Last year I unfortunately didn't get to watch a Sudan game. From what I've heard they are fast, strong and exciting to watch. I think they will be the toughest opponent that ROI face but don't see them upsetting last years champs.
Projected Finish Within PoolMike - 2nd
David - 2nd
Botswana are another favorite among the fans. They play with the enjoyment and enthusiasm that the game is meant to be played with. They also seem to improve every year I would expect that to continue.
Strengths:This is a hard working team. They pressure all over the field and that can result in turnovers as it did in their recent exhibition game against Jamaica. They are a sound tackling team who can win games if they can bury their chances.
Weaknesses:That being said they don't always finish their chances which is heartbreaking for Botswana fans. Pressuring full field can leave their team a little exposed at the back and that leads to goals. Sometimes they get running around and seem a little bit out of control.
What David Thinks:Another team I do not know too much about. I think I played against them 2 years ago in round robin. They seem to lack technique and organization. But there strengths are they don't let you have too much time on the ball and are definitely not afraid to throw in some tough tackles.
Projected Finish Within PoolMike - 4th
David - 4th
This is a team I literally know nothing about except for one persons scouting report so I will run off that.
Strengths:I heard them described as a "less skilled Sudan" so if they have 1/5th of the athleticism of Sudan they should be alright.
Weaknesses:Being described as a less skilled Sudan is hardly a compliment. I wouldn't say Sudan is exactly known for their ball skills so they could be a bit all over the place. New teams tend to have trouble getting accustomed to this tournament. I would expect some struggles.
What David Thinks:Ive heard nothing about this team at all. Therefore, 6th place.
Projected Finish Within PoolMike - 6th
David - 6th
Scotland have become the perennial whipping boys of this tournament. I think their closest game might have been about 10-0 last year. Frankly, I am surprised they are still around. Sorry.
Strengths:Youth. This team has gotten much much younger and though I don't expect to see huge strides this year it bodes well for their future. At least they are making strides at heading in the right direction.
Weaknesses:Sorry to be blunt here but being Scotland. Until I see major improvements all over the park I am not going to single out one particular weakness.
What David Thinks:Scotland have WCP experience, that is why I have placed them above Somalia. They seem young and always keen to improve there squad but so far haven't proved too much.
Projected Finish Within PoolMike - 5th
David - 5th
I think the thing people deem most note worthy about Serbia is the rumor they will bring in players from Winnipeg every year and they their failure to do so. They are usually a middle of the pack team and I don't expect that too change.
Strengths:Serbia really does have a couple nice players especially in the middle of the park. That alone will be enough to get them by half the teams in this pool. They will be able to score some goals. They also should have solid goal keeping which is a big help.
Weaknesses:Defensively they are not as solid as they need to be. They are an aging squad and much of that age lies in their back line. They don't have much depth after their top guys either and will tire out as the games go on.
What David Thinks:Serbia have a couple of good players that score goals and run the middle of the park for them. There weakness last year was goalkeeping and there defense. I don't think Serbia can cope with the attack of ROI or Sudan but I don't expect them to lose to anyone else in the group.
Mike - 3rd
Projected Finish Within Pool
Projected Finish Within Pool
David - 3rd