WUGC starts today so now is the last chance to make predictions. Ravi Vasudevan has filled out a bracket for the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed divisions and is going to talk us through each division briefly. Here is his Men’s bracket.
The name of the game in the Men’s pool phase is to end top 2 in your pool to make it into power pool, and I have many pools going to seed here.
The most interesting upsets I have are Denmark over Sweden, Colombia over Australia and New Zealand over Belgium. Denmark looked way stronger than Sweden at Windmill a couple of weeks ago and I think they will take it quite easily. Colombia bested Australia 15-11 at Torneo Eterna Primavera in Medellin earlier this season and I think they can hold on to that momentum. New Zealand vs Belgium will be a really tough game and it is hard to call but I think that New Zealand have a bit of an edge as I don’t think Belgium really have an answer for Aaron Neal, New Zealand’s NexGen superstar.
The most interesting pools here will be pool E and pool H. In Pool E, I think Japan takes the pool easily but the Austrians only beat the Netherlands by one at EUC last year and India are a huge unknown, so that second spot is wide open for the taking. In pool H, I think New Zealand, Belgium and the Czechs could easily end up in a three way tie and it will come down to the wire there.
Once in power pools, teams have to get top 3 to make the brackets. The top teams in each power pool automatically make quarters but still have to play a crossover for seeding while the second and third of each power pool have to play in a prequarter. My picks for making the bracket are fairly straightforward. I think Australia will come out and get second after their loss to Colombia and aside from that things pretty much go to seed.
In bracket play I do make the boring pick of USA taking it all. My most interesting pick is that I think GB beat Germany in the crossover, but then GB fall to Colombia in Quarters while Germany upsets Japan to move to semis. Colombia impressed me by taking Canada to universe point at Torneo Eterna Primavera and I think that the added steadiness of Mario O’Brien will lead them to defeat a very strong GB team. However, on the other side, Germany really shined at EUC last year and have been building all season. A club team from Germany, Bad Skid, won both Windmill in Amsterdam and Tom’s Tourney in Bruges, taking out many national teams along the way. I think that this is the prime pick for an upset against the ever-strong Japanese. I trust the German coaching squad to figure out the complex Japanese defences and pull out all the right stops to make semis. From semis onward, though, the North Americans will take care of business and we will be treated to one of the most high level games in Ultimate history with USA defeating Canada to take home the gold.