World Cup Group A – Betting Tips and Preview
Everyone was eagerly awaiting the World Cup 2018 group draw, particularly hosts Russia who will be quietly optimistic of progressing. Given the lack of talent in their squad, many expected an early exit for Stanislav Cherchesov’s men, but advancing to the last 16 now looks possible in a group containing Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Of course, it’s by no means easy but they managed to avoid the much-fancied countries that they could’ve faced. Whilst this isn’t the most eye catching of FIFA World Cup 2018 groups, it is a hard one to call, which should make it exciting. With Uruguay’s Luis Suarez and Egypt’s Mo Salah it also boasts two potential stars of the tournament.
The Group A World Cup 2018 will also kick-off the whole tournament, with Russia v Saudi Arabia on June 14 in Moscow a date for the diaries. The World Cup schedule for Group A runs for 11 days, with the final games played on June 25 where we will know who has made it to the knockout rounds. Here at OpenOdds we will give you an in-depth guide into the group and what to look out for.
This is a fairly open group and even though we said it’s one that hosts Russia would’ve been pleased with, you have to acknowledge the class of Uruguay and that should tell.
Their team is littered with quality, particularly down the spine. In goal they have Fernando Muslera who plays for Galatasaray, whilst Diego Godin is one of the standout defenders in La Liga for Atletico Madrid and his club teammate Jose Gimenez will partner him.
Further forward, the tenacious midfield pairing of Matias Vecino and Rodrigo Bentancur, who play for Inter Milan and Juventus respectively will look to control games and provide for the unbelievable strike force.
Uruguay boast arguably the best pairing in world football, with Luis Suarez and PSG’s Edinson Cavani who have both established themselves as two of the top number nine’s in Europe over the years.
They may not be pleasing on the eye but with a resilient and determined defence combined with a lethal front two, Uruguay are the recommended bet to win Group A at 11/10 with Betway.
As mentioned, this is an intriguing group and one that should provide plenty of tight, competitive matches.
Russia will be backed by a noisy, vociferous crowd and that can’t be underestimated. Whilst it will bring added pressure, we’ve seen how it can inspire nations in the past. You only have to look at South Korea in 2002 for how far an average side can go with their own fans behind them.
In Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Golovin, they have two technically superb midfielders who could cause trouble to any team, whilst Fedor Smolov will be the man to score the goals.
One of the most fascinating sides at the competition will be Egypt. They boast a few familiar faces, with Arsenal’s Mo Elneny, West Brom’s defender Ahmed Hegazi and Stoke’s Ramadan Sobhi players that Premier League fans will know.
The one that not only Premier League fans will know is Liverpool’s Mo Salah who has enjoyed an outstanding season and was the man to fire his country to their first World Cup since 1990. His presence makes Egypt a real threat in this group.
Another interesting fact about Egypt is that in goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, they have a man who could be about to set the record for being the oldest player at the finals. Incredibly, the stopper is expected to feature at 45-years old!
Finally, Saudi Arabia are a bit of an unknown quantity to UK fans, but they deserve respect for the way that they qualified. They beat Australia to second place behind Japan from the AFC section, which included beating the Japanese in the final group game.
However, they’ve had a hectic time in the past 12 months, replacing several coaches. Juan Antonio Pizzi, the man who took Chile to the Copa America 2016 title, is in charge and should encourage a fast, attacking style of play.
It’s tough to go against Egypt because in Mo Salah they have a player that can turn games on his own, but we’ll just edge for Russia to take second spot because of home advantage.
It can play a big part, from inspiring the players to creating a hostile environment for the opposition and officials, with everyone in the country sure to be fired up for the tournament.
As well as that, they do have some very good players who can make an impact.
The two standout star men are CSKA Moscow duo Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Golovin. They are very similar players, capable of beating defenders, threading through balls and look to make a real difference in the final third.
Captain Fedor Smolov is another talented player who could be set for a move to the Premier League if he has a good World Cup.
Defensively, the hosts are not great, with a lack of pace one glaring issue. However, they have quality on the ball in the final third and if they play with an intensity and spirit they should be able to fight for second place.
Another aspect in their favour is the way the matches in Group A World Cup 2018 will be played out. Russia begin with the weakest team in the group on paper – Saudi Arabia.
A win there will get them off to a great start and heap the pressure on at least one of Uruguay or Egypt when it comes to playing the hosts.
Given all that, our recommended bet is Russia to finish second at 17/10 with Bet Stars.
Recommended bet:Betway’s Uruguay/Russia straight forecast 9/4
Whilst one bet that is strongly worth considering is Egypt to finish 3rd, our recommended bet will be on a Uruguay/Russia straight forecast, which means the South Americans to top the group with Russia to finish second.
We’ve tipped those individually earlier on but it’s also worth taking advantage of at 9/4 with Betway.
Quite simply, the quality in the Uruguay side should see them through and whilst whoever progresses is likely to play Spain or Portugal, the group winners should avoid Spain which is definitely preferable no matter how good Portugal are.
Therefore, Uruguay will be focused on topping the group to help their path to the latter stages and with the game against Russia the last fixture even if they start badly a win may be enough to see them through as group winners.
Meanwhile, it’s all about qualifying for the hosts and although it will be a battle with Egypt, it’s one we expect them to win for second place.
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