World Cup Group H – Betting Tips and Preview
Of all the FIFA World Cup 2018 groups, Group H may not have been one that jumped out at you immediately, with none of the pre-tournament favourites in it. However, it’s arguably the most competitive and could easily be the one to watch for excitement.
Four teams from four continents will take each other on in what will be a real contrast of styles and exactly what the World Cup is about. Poland, Senegal, Japan and Colombia make up the group, with many observers undecided on who will go through.
The likes of Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane, Shinji Kagawa and James Rodriguez will ensure there’s no shortage of quality on show either, no matter who is playing.
The matches for Group H World Cup 2018 begin on Tuesday 19 June, with the final set of fixtures coming nine days later. It makes for a demanding World Cup schedule for Group H but they will all be in the same position.
Here at OpenOdds we strive to bring you all the information you need to know about this competitive group as well as providing a selection of recommended bets for those of you that will be having a flutter on the World Cup.
Winner Prediction: Colombia
This is the toughest World Cup 2018 group draw to predict, as you could make a decent case for all sides to qualify. However, we will go for Colombia to just pip the rest to top, largely down to the individual quality that they boast in key areas of the pitch.
We’ve mentioned the key men from each side, however, Colombia have plenty who can step up on the big occasion.
And, unlike in previous years, they have a solid defence to build on. Santiago Arias is a title winner in Holland with PSV, whilst Barcelona’s Yerry Mina could also feature in defence.
However the standout player is Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez who has really impressed in the Premier League this season and seems a complete defender.
As usual, in the final third, Colombia have real flair, speed and technique that could combine to make a formidable attack.
James Rodriguez has rediscovered his best form at Bayern Munich this season and you can’t stress how important that is to the national team – he really is their talisman and a class act.
He can be flanked by Juventus’ Juan Caudrado who is quick, direct and a major threat, whilst Edwin Cardona is a supremely talented if inconsistent play-maker from the left.
Up top, Falcao needs no introduction and Sevilla’s Luis Muriel is a lightning fast and powerful option that will trouble any defender.
It may be a tough group, but this Colombia side is very strong. They may not always reach the heights they are capable of, however if they do they will make an impact not only on this group but the whole tournament.
Detailed overview of Group H
Poland will be very hopeful of challenging for top spot in Group H World Cup 2018 and when you have Lewandowski leading the line it’s easy to see why.
The Bayern Munich man has proven himself to be one of the best number nine’s in world football and will relish the responsibility that rests on his shoulders in delivering for the team.
However, there’s a lot more to enjoy about this Poland team than just the star striker.
In goal, Wojciech Szczęsny and Lukasz Fabianski are two keepers fighting it out of a very good quality, whilst Kamil Glik is an inspirational leader at the back who plays for Monaco.
Further up the pitch, Napoli pair, midfielder Piotr Zieliński and forward Arkadiusz Milik are both very good players.
The latter built up a very good partnership with Lewandowski at Euro 2016 but he has suffered with two serious injuries since. However, he is back playing for the Italians now and could be one to watch in Russia.
Next up, Senegal are a major danger to all sides in this group as they too boast a host of quality players in what will be only their second ever World Cup. They shocked everyone on their only other appearance back in 2002 when they beat holders France.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane is the star man, with his pace, skill and goal scoring instincts that we all know about.
At the back, they boast Kalidou Koulibaly who will be coming up against his Napoli teammates when they play Poland. He is a superb defender, powerful, whilst capable on the ball and will be pivotal to Senegal’s chances.
Other notable names for English fans include Cheikhou Kouyate, Diafra Sakho, Idrissa Gueye and Alfred N’Diaye among others. Plus, they’re managed by former Birmingham City midfielder Aliou Cissé.
Finally, it looks a big ask of Japan to qualify from this group. Whilst they boast talented players like Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki, they have more obvious weaknesses than their opponents.
They have issues in defence, where Southampton’s Maya Yoshida should play, whilst there is no real clinical striker in the ranks.
Yuto Nagatomo, previously of Inter Milan and Keisuke Honda, who now plays in Mexico for Pachuca, are two of the more well-known names in the squad.
Runners-Up Prediction: Poland
We expect Senegal to run the European side very close but Poland have that extra bit of experience at these big tournaments and more quality all over the pitch. The pair meet on the first round of fixture and that could be one of the defining dates of World Cup 2018 for either side.
This is a side that has played together for a long time now, all knowing each other’s game and there is a real togetherness and spirit in the group that will be vital in their first World Cup since 2006.
Two years ago in France for Euro 2016 they looked very solid, winning two group games and drawing the other against Germany. They eventually lost on penalties to Portugal in the quarter-final and they will have aims of reaching a similar stage now.
Once again, qualifying was a breeze, with the side just dropping five points in their ten games to comfortably book a place in Russia and you get the feeling that this team are ready to make their mark on a big tournament.
As mentioned, the quality comes from all over the pitch and whilst some concerns over their defence would be justifiable and whether they can control games, they are very effective and have a matchwinner up top.
With that in mind, we’re tipping Poland to finish second at 9/4 with Sky Bet.
Recommended Bet: Japan to finish last – Betway – 6/4
As we’ve stressed, this is a very close and competitive group, however when you look at the sides, Japan look the weakest.
Individually, they don’t have as many talented men that could win a game in a single moment and that could be what ultimately decides these games.
As well as that, collectively they don’t seem like the Japan that went to the World Cup in Brazil. The swagger in their style of play has gone and the likes of Kagawa and Honda are four years older and may not be the same players.
They’re style is easy on the eye and whilst that is usually a good thing, they don’t have the defensive personnel to deal with some of the attacking talent on display in this group.
We don’t expect Japan to be an easy three points for the others, but ultimately they lack the ruthless quality at either end of the pitch against three sides that could be devastating on their day.
Given that, we will take them to finish last at 6/4 with Betway.