World Cup 2018 Group A Preview
Group A consists of host nation Russia, Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Uruguay was the strongest among the others, so for them to qualify is a guarantee. While many think the Russia were lucky with an easy group and should comfortably qualify to the next round.
This will be Russia’s 11th time entering World Cup with their best result in fourth place finish in 1966. They have failed to get out of the group stage in their last four appearances (2014, 2002, 1994 & 1990).
Stanislav Cherchesov became manager after a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign. The Russian squad made up entirely of players from the Russian Premier League, much is expected from captain Igor Akinfeev, Yuri Zhirkov, Alan Dzagoev, Fedor Smolov and youngsters Aleksey Miranchuk and Aleksandr Golovin.
Brazil 2014 showed us that home advantage in a World Cup can have a negative effect with the added pressure and scrutiny being a burden. With Vladimir Putin and an expectant nation watching on. Russia kick-off the World Cup 2018 on 14 June against Saudi Arabia in Moscow and desperately need a positive result before taking on Egypt and Uruguay.
The Uruguayans have a proud record in the World Cup after winning in the first World Cup in 1930 and 1950. 71-year-old manager Óscar Tabárez is the oldest and longest serving manager in Russia having been in charge since February 2006.
Atlético Madrid duo players Diego Godín and José Giménez will hold the position of central defence but it’s in midfield area where the main changes have occurred. 20-year-old Rodrigo Bentancur and 22-year-olds Lucas Torreira and Nahitan Nández who will add some youth talent in the team.
Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani the attacking duo will be the main focus, but behind them is a physical team that play to their strengths. Uruguay are a dangerous team and should have no problems emerging as winners from Group A.
Expect Saudi Arabia to be whip by every team from Group A but we should respect them for solid qualifying campaign. This will be the Saudi Arabia’s fifth World Cup after featuring in four consecutive tournaments between 1994 and 2006, their best result coming in 1994 when they reached the Round of 16.
The Arab team will be managed by Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi. The squad are mostly from the Saudi Professional League with the key players Taisir Al-Jassim, Nawaf Al-Abed, Yahya Al-Shehri, Fahad Al-Muwallad and Mohammad Al Sahlawi.
The Saudi Arabian squad is ranked second last in terms of market value and getting out of Group A to the next round will be an achievement for them,. A positive result against Russia in their opening game will be a huge confidence boost.
It’s been a long wait for the Egyptians but expectations are high after the seven time African Cup of Nations winners were drawn in a favourable group.
They are manage by Argentine Héctor Cúper since 2015, Egypt have a solid group of players from English Premier League such as Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed Elneny, Ramadan Sobhi and Mohamed Salah. The continual excellence of national hero, Mo Salah is the main reason for Egypt not to be underestimated, he has provided an incredible 36 goals and 10 assists for Liverpool this season.
The Pharaohs will be one of the more curious prospects in Russia. An opening game against Uruguay will be difficult before they take on Russia and Saudi Arabia. If Salah can continue to play at a high level there is no reason why Egypt cannot proceed further.
World Cup Betting Prediction
Uruguay deserve to be favourites for Group A as they have the best squad with the most international experience. Saudi Arabia are not likely to cause any serious threat which leaves one spot for Egypt or Russia.
Group A Winners at MAXBET : Uruguay at 2.05
Group A to Qualify at MAXBET : Egypt at 2.40