The Group A of FIFA World Cup football 2018 that consists of host nation Russia, Uruguay along with the dark horses Egypt and a hopeful Saudi Arabia. This is deemed to be an easy pool by many experts. But a close analysis throws light into the fact that this is one of the trickiest group in the competition, with the potential battle for second spot between Russia and Egypt could be decided by a thin margin.
Russia have a point to prove at their own turf
Russia is currently ranked 61st in FIFA rankings and the team has been sliding down the ladder since a while now. A lackluster performance at the Confederations Cup in front of their home fans in 2017, where they failed to make out of the group stage exposed Stanislav Cherchesov’s incapability to perform at the highest level.
Also, the hosts will be looking to end an unwanted record at the competition. They are yet to progress beyond the group phase in three previous occasions as a single nation since carrying the legacy of USSR post 1990.
Uruguay: Experience and Individual brilliance a boost
Uruguay on the other hand, do have individual brilliance at their disposal and the tactical mastermind of the vastly experienced Oscar Tabarez. The team bolstered by the firepower of Luiz Suarez and Edinson Cavani finished second in the South American qualifiers to make it to the final tournament for a third consecutive year.
They were fourth at South Africa 2010 and reached the round of 16 last time in Brazil, shows that this team has a knack of getting through the first hurdle with relative ease.
The La Celeste are the highest ranked team in Group A, currently sit 13th on the log. Moreover, their squad is experienced and have the most number of personals playing their trade in the elite leagues on Europe.
Egypt heavily reliant on Mo Salah
The Egyptians are returning to the premier continental competition for the first time since 1990, ending a long wait of 18 years. The two key personals behind their recent success is their head-coach Hector Cuper and the insatiable Mohammed Salah, who is most likely to finish as English Premier League’s top goal-scorer this season.
However, the Pharaohs lack quality in most departments, making them huge underdogs together with Saudi Arabia. The team is heavily reliant on the firing boots of Salah and the play dictating ability of Arsenal man Mohamed El Neny. Yet, they are ranked 50th in FIFA ranking, 11 places higher than the tournament hosts.
Saudi Arabia: Keen to emulate 1994 edition in USA
Saudi Arabia are ranked 64th in the FIFA ranking, the lowest among the teams in Group A and their returning to the competition after missing out on previous two editions. However, they made consecutive appearance between 1994 and 2006, their best came in their debut campaign at 1994 USA when they reached the round of 16.
Arguably, the Green Falcons did well to gain automatic qualification ahead of Australia. But they team is marred by managerial problems. Their current head-coach, Juan Antonio Pizzi is their third manager in as many months, a man who left Argentina national team midway through the qualifying phase with the team in the danger of elimination.
FIFA World Cup Group A: Predictions and Bet Tips
Our FIFA World Cup predictions will start with a banker if the big guns of Uruguay can find their form. Both Luis Suarez and Ednison Cavani are scoring at will for their respective clubs this season. If they transfer the momentum to the national set-up, the South American nation will clinch the top spot in Group A.
For the second spot, we are likely to witness a tough tussle between the remaining three teams, but mainly Russia and Egypt. Yet, it is hard to write-off the host nation, who are expected to find the perfect combination in front of their noise home fans.
Uruguay to win Group A at 2.10 odds with 888Sport
Exact Finishing Order (1st & 2nd placed) – Uruguay and Russia @ 3.00 odds with the same firm.