1 - France - I am sure I will draw criticism for this but they look the in form team to beat. They won the RSA Men's tournament over a strong Winnipeg side and have also added Benno to their team. They will be tough to beat.
2 - Laos - Laos are the same old Laos, always a contender and probably bound to finish 1st or 2nd. Play together really well as a team and use their quickness to exploit match ups.
3 - Canada - Finished 3rd last year so of course that is where I have them ranked. Last year I didn't really think they were a serious contender to win the whole thing but I think that changes this year. Look for them to upset someone big.
4 - Sudan - Sudan revolutionized the tournament with their "ping it long strategy" and I imagine they will continue to use it. However I just think a lot of stars aligned in order for them to win. A few breaks here and there as well as some spectacular goal keeping. I am not sure they can keep that up.
5 - ROI - Suffered some significant hits this year but are always among the best at recruiting. Expect them to field one very strong lineup with some fill ins to give them breathers. Would be much stronger if they found a keeper or Alfie pulled the trigger and cut his son.
6 - Poland - I would have Poland higher if I was certain Jay would be fully recovered and if they could figure out how to use him. Also waiting to find out if Brett Levis makes the smart decision and skips these games before skipping town.
7 - Nigeria - Played Nigeria recently and must say I was fairly surprised. They are still a very fast team but they look to have added some skill. If they can put it all together consistently look for them to make a run.
8 - El Salvador - Yes I have heard of the big 3 of Rolfe, Jerson and Cesar but I think of them more as the little 3. Let's face it this tournament is not built for the smaller guys. It's ugly. It's about pushing and heading and taking your chances. I can't see them getting out of their group.
9 - Germany - Germany are always better than people anticipate. They may not have the star power that some other teams but they are at least solid everywhere. there is a good chance they make it out of their group.
10 - Colombia - As I have said before Colombia are my sleeper team. They seem to just be able to keep hanging around and hanging around and when a bounce goes their way they are able to capitalize. Not sure how they do it.
11 - Afghanistan - Afghanistan were already a really decent team this year and now they have done some recruiting to try and take their team to another level. Not sure they will make it out of their group but I can guarantee Soheil coaches the hell out of them.
12 - Jamaica - Yes Jamaica has made additions but I am not sure it will be enough. There is not much depth and there is little to know defending as a unit or at all for that matter. Will need to score a lot in order to get out of their group.
13 - Hungary - Played against Hungary and was not overly impressed but I have heard they are bringing in a few university players. I trust that rumor and this ranking reflects that.
14 - Norway - Norway continues to be the same team they have been since 2007. Though I can appreciate that sort of ability it might be time for an update. They still have some soccer players though and could cause some upsets.
15 - Italy - Surprised a few last year with some strong results but they always seem to get into a tough group. Don't expect them to make it out this year.
16 - Greece - Greece have some real quality players but they are another teamwho's failures can be attributed to their loyalty for heritage oplayers. Some of them just don't make the grade. I do absolutely love watching Greece games though so I am hoping they do better than this.
17 - Serbia - Until Serbia finds away to bring in their Winnipeg players this is where they will sit. They have some great players (ie. Darko) and that will allow them to score some goals but I am very worried about their goalkeeping situation. Not sure they have one as of now so that could mean trouble.
18 - Northern Ireland - I think I somehow managed to watch 10 minutes of one of their games in the RSA tournament and it was not pretty. There was a lot of work put in but very little quality substance came out.
19 - Portugal - Another team I have played against and I can't help but be worried for them. If you lose 6-1 to Jamaica I think you are in for a tough go. Many of the same faces we have all seen before. They won't get out of their group.
20 - Scotland - The only people who think Scotland have a chance of doing well are the Scotland players and I have no idea why. They haven't submitted a team that has even bordered on mediocrity in years and I don't know why this year would be any different. At least they are getting younger.
21 - Somalia - It seems that some of Somalia's players have moved over to Djibouti which may be the best thing that could happen to their team. Based on previous years results I do not have a lot of faith in them.
22 - Djibouti - Here is what I know about Djibouti. 1) They are not anywhere close to a contender. 2)They tackle studs up and then they get really angry when you retaliate. 3)They are coming for me.
23 - South Korea - Last year they were bad. I mean really bad. I haven't seen them play at all this year but I am hoping for more. Step it up.