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FIFA World Cup 2018 Previews


GROUP A Prediction

The 2018 World Cup will be underway starting from a Group A match featuring the host nation Russia competing against Saudi Arabia on June 14. Also, Egypt and Uruguay will pretend on two playoff spots available here. Experts say this group is the weakest and easiest one in modern World Cup history. How can it be predicted?

Russia flagRUSSIA
Bookmakers' Odds

Russia to win the 2018 World Cup 56
Russia to top Group A yes 3.15 no 1.37
Russia to advance from Group A yes 1.44 no 2.81
Russia total 2018 World Cup goals: 5 over 2.14 under 1.72
Russia total Group A points: 5.5 over 2.15 under 1.71
source: Pinnacle

Russia matches in Group A

Jun 14 16:00 GMT Russia vs Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
Jun 19 19:00 GMT Russia vs Egypt at Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg
Jun 25 15:00 GMT Uruguay vs Russia at Cosmos Arena in Samara

Russia overview

It will be 11th FIFA World Cup for Russia including the time when it was the USSR. They have never overcame a group stage as Russia but reached the 4th place in 1966 under the Soviet Union flag. Many say that the current Russian national team is the worst and weakest one in the whole history. Hardly we would see it here if there hasn't been a free pass without qualifications for the hosts of the tournament.

Russia squad on 2018 World Cup

Average players sometimes become a great team in hands of a great coach. But this is not the case either. Stanislav Cherchesov achieved nothing with Russian clubs Although once he won Polish league title and Cup as a coach of Legia Warszawa, but he came there for only second half of the season bringing very strong additions to the squad with himself.

Moreover, Cherchesov has personal conflicts with some experienced players and refused to call them up. Igor Denisov and Denis Glushakov are especially discussed ones. It weakened the defensive line and mostly the holding midfielder position. Next, both regular centre-backs, Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya, miss the 2018 World Cup due to injuries. Also, Russia has very few options among forwards where one of the key figures, Aleksandr Kokorin, is also injured and wasn't included in the squad.

A weak squad representing mostly the local league clubs (except Denis Cheryshev from Spanish Villarreal) plus a dubious coach together with viewable absence of any strong scheme on the pitch make us predict a bleak future for Russia at the 2018 World Cup.

Optimistic prediction for Russia: 1/8 finals

Pessimistic prediction for Russia: 3rd in Group A

Saudi Arabia flagSAUDI ARABIA
Bookmakers' Odds

Saudi Arabia to win the 2018 World Cup 702
Saudi Arabia to advance from Group A yes 8.75 no 1.07
Saudi Arabia total 2018 World Cup goals: 2 over 2.43 under 1.57
Saudi Arabia total Group A points: 1.5 over 2.39 under 1.59
source: Pinnacle

Saudi Arabia matches in Group A

Jun 14 16:00 GMT Russia vs Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
Jun 20 16:00 GMT Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don
Jun 25 15:00 GMT Saudi Arabia vs Egypt at Volgograd Arena in Volgograd

Saudi Arabia overview

The Saudis are heading for their 5th World Cup in history. Saudi Arabia's best achievement came on their debut Mundial in 1998 where the Middle East's outfits reached the Round of 16. All other tournaments finished for them on group stages and without any win. In 2010 and 2014 The Green Falcons weren't even able to qualify. They were very close to miss it again also this time.

Saudi Arabia squad on 2018 World Cup

All the 23 Saudi players arriving in Russia play in their native country on a club's level. Although 3 of them had been trained in Spanish clubs since January. They are Yahya Al-Shehri (Leganes), Salem Al-Dawsari (Villarreal), Fahad Al-Muwallad (Levante). But they almost hadn't chances to taste competitive matches at that level except for a couple appearances as substitutes.

This is one of the weakest teams at the World Cup and we can't foresee any surprises from Saudi Arabia. Maybe one or two points only.

Unanimous Prediction for Saudi Arabia: bottom of Group A

Egypt flagEGYPT
Bookmakers' Odds

Egypt to win the 2018 World Cup 201
Egypt to top Group A yes 7.00 no 1.11
Egypt to advance from Group A yes 2.35 no 1.61
Egypt total 2018 World Cup goals: 3 over 1.95 under 1.87
Egypt total Group A points: 3.5 over 1.83 under 2.00
Mohamed Salah (Egypt) to win Golden Boot 48
source: Pinnacle

Egypt matches in Group A

Jun 15 13:00 GMT Egypt vs Uruguay at Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg
Jun 19 19:00 GMT Russia vs Egypt at Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg
Jun 25 15:00 GMT Saudi Arabia vs Egypt at Volgograd Arena in Volgograd

Egypt overview

The Pharaohs return on the World Cup after their 1934 and 1990 only appearances. There have been no wins and no progresses further than first stages for Egypt. But this time the Egyptians may possess some optimism as they have the "Player of the Year" and the top goalscorer of the 2017/18 English Premier league - "The King" Mo Salah from Liverpool at their disposal. Althouth it is unclear when he will be fully fit after an injury, but they promise that he will be available for two group matches at least.

Egypt squad on 2018 World Cup

There are also Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) from the same league, plus several representatives from lower English clubs (West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and so on). it is not less important that the Egyptians are headed by a very competent coach - Hector Cuper - who has built a very solid team play for Egypt with a compact defense and very quick and dangerous counter attacks.

It could be predicted that Egypt has a nice chance (but no guarantee) to make it to playoffs and maybe even further. And if they pass the group stage and meet Portugal in 1/8 (which is possible looking at the seedings), the Pharaons already have the experience to beat the Ronaldo's team recently... well, almost - leading 1:0 after 90 regular minutes of their recent friendly. Because at 90+2' and 90+4' Ronaldo turned it upside down with his two crafted goals. Nevertheless, favorites' blood has already been tasted by Salah and Co.

Optimistic prediction for Egypt: 1/4 finals

Pessimistic prediction for Egypt: 3rd in Group A

Uruguay flagURUGUAY
Bookmakers' Odds

Uruguay to win the 2018 World Cup 30
Uruguay to top Group A yes 1.70 no 2.18
Uruguay to advance from Group A yes 1.18 no 4.96
Uruguay total 2018 World Cup goals: 6.5 over 1.77 under 2.07
Uruguay total Group A points: 6.5 over 1.96 under 1.86
Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) to win Golden Boot 19
Luis Suarez (Uruguay) to win Golden Boot 22
source: Pinnacle

Uruguay matches in Group A

Jun 15 13:00 GMT Egypt vs Uruguay at Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg
Jun 20 16:00 GMT Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don
Jun 25 15:00 GMT Uruguay vs Russia at Cosmos Arena in Samara

Uruguay overview

The Uruguayans have won FIFA's gold in 1930 and 1950 as well as World Champions titles in 2924 and 1928, before the World Cup came to existence. In total, Uruguay has participated in the 12 tournaments but after 1950 they have been able to achieve only 4th place (several times) at the best.

Uruguay squad on 2018 World Cup

La Celeste can boast of the world star attackers Luis Suarez (Barcelona) and Edinson Cavani (PSG), as well as defender Diego Godin from Atletico Madrid. But other positions' holders are not such marvelous, especially in midfield. Next, Uruguay is especially strong at home, but they won only 2 out of 9 matches on the road in their World Cup qualifications in South America.

It's impossible to foresee how Uruguay could crash out at the group stage. But it's hard to predict watching them in the finals as well. In the first round of playoffs, the Oscar Tabarez boys most likely meet Spain or Portugal. There are slim chances to pass through the first, but as for the last, it's much more probable. However, further, the likes of Brazil or Germany should definitely stop their run.

Optimistic prediction for Uruguay: 1/2 finals

Pessimistic prediction for Uruguay: 1/8 finals

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