* Keep in mind that these are my own opinions. If you are offended by them or feel like I have done your team wrong, please leave a comment or contact me in PM.
After almost waiting a year, NDC 2015 will be hosted by ESL during the coming months. This year sees 11 countries battling it out in the Dirt arena.
ESL also decided to change the format into a 3v3 – competition about which has been said more than enough. The fact is that this year sees 3 more European countries joining the fray compared to NDC 2014, which is a bonus while sadly Brazil and ‘Australia & New Zealand (ANZAC)’ will not attend this year.
Also noteworthy is that Czech Republic has formed a ‘new’ team that will drive under the name ‘CZ/SK’.
Last year, France was able to take the win with Sweden and Belgium taken second and third. Because of their performance, they were split up so that they would not face each other in the group stages. After that the other teams were seeded in.
After the group stages only the first and second of each group will advance to the play-offs. This way we’ll have only 6 teams facing each other in the remainder of the competition.
Below you can find the teams and their respective line-up with an extra opinion on the team as always.
I will also point out the matches that I think you should definitely see in ‘Watch this!’
Group A sees last year’s winner France take on Portugal, Hungary and The Baltics. While France is probably going to take first place in this group, the second place will give a very nice fight between teams that have a 3v3 line-up able of balancing each other out.
France – The Baltics / Portugal
Portugal – The Baltics.
Chuck, Clem, Fire, Koulis, Neo, Papou, Pilounours, Puma & Space.
France hasn’t lost an NDC since 2012 and has won 4 in total. With that in mind this team can only go for first place this year as well.
For a 3v3 – competition their line-up, like many of the other countries, is rather large. But with holidays in the middle of NDC it might be a good idea. What surprised me the most is the fact that Bepino is not a part of the line-up, but even without him France has the riders to pull of another victory this year.
Captain: Linton82 & Talula
Andrepizza, Ledger, Aspiresa, Icarus, Magic, Nast, Talgarvio, Ventil & Wella.
Portugal was able to get into Quarter-finals last year because of wins against ANZAC and Czech Republic but with those teams not participating or not in their group they can’t really rely on that statistic.
They do however have the individual skills needed to take that second place but will need to rely on great driving by their members. If riders like Nast and Icarus have a good day, this should be no problem but with that southern spice running through their veins they will have to keep their temper in hand and focus on the driving.
I see Portugal as the main contender for that second spot if they can win against the Baltics.
Cami,Csecsemi6, Ember, Garfield, Iceman, Kruzia, Martin19998, Newline, Peti93, SaN & Szogi.
For me Hungary is a bit off the underdog in this group. While their line-up is very big, there isn’t an absolute top 3v3 – line-up that can be best of the world for me. They will have to rely on riders like Ember providing the carry but if he does so, then Hungary has the riders to finish it off.
It’s also their first time on the grand arena that is NDC so hopefully they can keep their nerves under control.
4) The Baltics
Vennike, Arnodelo, B1ts, Cyber-Shot, Kem.
The Baltics start NDC with the smallest line-up and might run in some trouble when not all players have trained or can play. But if they’re trained and ready, the Baltics might take that second place if they manage to win from Portugal. With the likes of Vennike and companions, they have the 3v3 line-up able to beat almost anyone.
We do have to keep in mind that they are new to NDC and some haven’t played TM² for a while taking a break from competitive racing.
Group B sees the runner-up from last year, Sweden, take the fight against CZ/SK, Germany and Norway. This group can go many directions although based on previous results and line-ups Sweden and Germany will probably take the two first spots. But it will be interesting to see how CZ/SK and Norway will do and maybe they can cause an upset.
Sweden – Germany
Gswe81, Wheeler, Birarri, Comhem, Duffarn, KlockreN, LaiLai, Skidracer & Stenbord.
Taking second place last year, Sweden will want to try and do the same but this time going for the win.
Their line-up looks promising with the best of Swedish dirt-drivers attending. I should note that, like the Baltics, many of them haven’t been driving competitive for a while.
Sweden’s main contender for the first spot, in my opinion, will be Germany although they can’t underestimate anyone in this group.
Hopefully captain Vish will be able to put his best 3 players on the pitch every match.
Captain: Jurato & kv
Ameliesachs, Brian, Danekb, Joe Carter & Michelle.
CZ/SK is a partnership that can have an impact on the final standings in this group although seeing their line-up, they are the definite underdog. They will probably not take first or second but might be able to put up a nice fight. It’s the first year for this newly composed team on NDC and hopefully this partnership can take some good motivation and build on expanding their line-up.
Captain: DnB & Speed_U_Need
Didi, Firestorm, Kai, Marius89, Racehans, RayRaven, Riolu, Rwew, Tobias & Tombuilder.
Germany is a main contender for the win this year with a line-up that consists of some well-known dirt drivers (DnB, Speed_u_Need,…), a few big names (Marius89, Racehans & Riolu) who have proven their worth on dirt and the signing of Firestorm who proved to be a very good addition to Dore²Cuo in SLIP V.
I can’t see Germany not going through to the play-offs but if it would be in second or in first place that’s the question.
If DnB and Speed_U_Need can count on their full line-up, expect Germany to go strong and advance far in NDC this year.
Captain: Giro & Spor
Bornis, Flemming, NorRock, Rooby, Vebbo, Ynwa70 & Zp1.
Another first-timer in NDC brings a rather interesting line-up to NDC. Former top-norwegian Zp1 has been driving strong lately and may be a key-player for Norway if he keeps going on like he has in his comeback to TM². It will also be interesting to see how Ynwa70, a time-attack specialist, will fit in and how he performs under the pressure of rounds.
I did expect Hulk in this line-up aswell wich would have provided Norway with some more experience.
But even without him Norway could cause quite the upset in this group if they prepare well and have the team available.
Group C has Belgium, who took third last NDC, take on Italy and Denmark. This group will probably be the most exciting in terms of points but it depends on what Denmark can do. Italy and Belgium can be seen as almost equals but with only three teams, one loss might be enough to not advance through to the play-offs.
Belgium – Italy
Jack, Akidos, Gillou, Landre164, Makonen, Romain & Toad.
Belgium got third last year by defeating Italy in the small finale. But while Italy’s line-up has changed a bit, Belgium still relies on their former line-up to do the job. Their line-up isn’t that big and consists of some NWT – members who had a hard time in SLIP V. Hopefully this won’t affect their performance too much.
They can count on their win against Denmark last year to be hopeful for a good result in this group.
It’s also worth to mention that Ragha isn’t part of the line-up this year. It will be interesting to see how they deal with this.
Angel, Brizz, EndMan, Extreme, Gabry, Kain, Mark, Picci, Talmax88 & Toyz.
Italy took fourth last year and will hope to make it to the play-offs this year as well. Their line-up looks promising to perform well if they are all trained. Last year they only lost against the top 3 teams so, in theory, they should win against Denmark. But as stated above, one loss can be fatal in this group and nothing is certain in NDC.
Chris, Dunste, Fupz, Hibbe, Kiffer, MCLAM, Mtn & Pizza.
The final country in this list is Denmark. Denmark didn’t perform greatly last year but managed to get into the play-offs due to a win against Brazil. But with only two teams advancing this year, they will have to step it up. Arpe has a good line-up to pick from but they will have to be at the top of their game to have a chance.
I wish all teams the best of luck in the Nations Dirt Cup 2015 and may the best team win!
Thanks for reading, leave your feelings/comments below!
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