This is a very interesting group, it has good teams who are balanced but none of them really have a chance to be a World Cup winner in my opinion. Poland had a strong qualifying campaign and have a bonafide superstar in Lewandowski. Colombia are a strong South American team led by their star James Rodriquez. However, nobody really considers these two nations as World Cup contenders and that could work in their favour later in the tournament when opponents relax against them in the knockout stage.
Senegal have only been to one other World Cup, where they made the quarter-finals knocking out big teams on the way. Japan is always a solid qualifier from Asia but fail to fire when playing at the World Cup. This group belongs to the bigger two teams with Columbia taking top spot over Poland. Senegal and Japan will not be separated, and will finish tied on points at the bottom of the group.
Group H World Cup Odds Comparison
*All odds are subject to change right up until kick-off.
Team Colombia Preview
Columbia started their CONMEBOL campaign strong, but their quick start did not last. They struggled in many of the final qualifying games, even against the minnows of this conference. Many results in the other games ended up going Columbia’s way, they held onto fourth spot and qualified for the World Cup by the skim of their teeth. Since that campaign, Columbia seemed to be turning their fortunes around. They had two wins, one draw and one loss in the last four friendlies which included a win over France at Saint-Denis.
Columbia is at their best when they are more defensive, compact, and hitting the opposition on the counter-attack quickly. Columbia’s main stars did not have much playing time for their respective club teams this past season and this could hurt them if they are rusty. On the plus side they will not be fatigued heading into the World Cup. This is a good group for Columbia, they will sort out their issues and win the group. They will be a tricky opponent to predict come the knock out phase.
Last World Cup Appearance - 2014 Brazil, Lost in Quarter-Finals
Best World Cup Finish - Quarter-Finals (2014 Brazil)
Best Overall Player - James Rodriguez, he played for Bayern Munich this season and he is the centre piece for the Columbian attack.
Top Goal Scorer Prediction: James Rodriguez. He will score the big goals for Columbia and lead this team on the offensive end.
BEST ODDS FOR COLOMBIA TO WIN GROUP H
Team Poland Preview
Poland had a strong qualifying campaign and won Group E easily beating Denmark by 5 points. During this campaign, Lewandowski scored 16 goals for Poland, scoring the most goals by any player during the UEFA qualifiers. Since those qualifiers however, Poland have played poorly in their four friendlies for only one win, two loses and one draw. Their style of play is physical, calculated and most importantly, they get the ball to Lewandowski. He is the outright superstar of this team, but he is supported by other strong Poland players. They are strong in goal with two good options - Fabianski or Szczesny. Glik is the solid core the defence and Blaszczykowski controls play from the midfield and is the main guy to get the ball to Lewandowski. Poland will get to the next round but will finish second behind Columbia.
Last World Cup Appearance - 2006 Germany, Eliminated in group stage
Best World Cup Finish - 3rd Place (1974, 1982)
Best Overall Player - Robert Lewandowski. He is world class and the main reason Poland is even in the World Cup this year.
Top Goal Scorer Prediction: Lewandowski. He scored the most goals in the UEFA qualifiers and is a goal scoring machine. He could be a good bet to win the golden boot award.
Lewandowski is 25 to 1 to Win Top Goalscorer at BetOnline.
BEST ODDS FOR POLAND TO WIN GROUP H
Team Senegal Preview
Senegal qualified with ease in their CAF Group D without losing a game and playing some solid football. Since qualifying, Senegal have played two friendlies, both on neutral ground, where they achieved no result in drawing in both games. Their manager, Cisse, was a key former player on the successful 2002 team. He has moulded a team around his own style of play and knows what his team strengths are and what formation works for them.
They are a physical team who like moving the ball up the pitch as fast as possible. They are deep with talent up front with the likes of Mane, Sakho and Sow who all can score goals. The midfield will rely on Kouyate to control the pace of their play and Koulibaly will be busy on the defensive end. This is one of the better Senegal national teams ever in a World Cup tournament, but ultimately they will fail to get out of this group.
Last World Cup Appearance - 2002 Korea/Japan, Lost in Quarter-Finals
Best World Cup Finish - Quarter-Finals 2002 in Korea
Best Overall Player - Kalidou Koulibaly. He had a great season as a central defender for Napoli and now is wanted by many teams. He will be very busy during this 2018 World Cup.
Top Goal Scorer Prediction: Sadio Mane. Scoring is the one area that will not a problem for team Senegal. I predict Mane will carry his Liverpool form into this tournament and be the leading goal scorer for Senegal.
BEST ODDS FOR SENEGAL TO WIN GROUP H
Team Japan Preview
Japan finished first in AFC Group B to qualify for the World Cup. They had difficulties during their qualifiers, but still managed to come first. Under manager Halilhodzic, the team has struggled to adjust to his preferred style of play. The Japanese love to control the ball but under his system, Halilhodzic wanted the team to play defence and counter attack on mistakes by their opponents. Halilhodzic did not understand the standing rivalries in this region. He may have gotten Japan to qualify for the World Cup, however he lost all support and was sacked before managing the team through the Cup.
Under new manager Nishino, most feel that Japan will return to the style that works for them, possession football. It is never easy to bring a team together working with a new manager so close to a big tournament and for that reason I see them struggling to compete in this group.
Last World Cup Appearance - 2014 Brazil, Eliminated in Group Stage
Best World Cup Finish - Round of 16 (2002, 2010)
Best Overall Player - Maya Yoshida. He stabilizes the defence and is the man who moves the ball up the pitch quickly. The key piece to this Japan team.
Top Goal Scorer Prediction: Keisuke Honda. He led the team in qualifiers and there is no reason to think he won't do the same here at the World Cup. Goals will be tough to come by for this team however.
BEST ODDS FOR JAPAN TO WIN GROUP H
Best Bet To Win Group H
Columbia is the slight favourites to win Group H and with the talent they have, they should win this group. James Rodriguez will be inspired to prove that he is a capable star player to his club team Real Madrid and to their fans.
Sleeper Pick To Win Group H
Poland is no sleeper by any means but in this group they are slight underdogs which is great value if you believe in them . They will qualify for the next round, and the upset potential is there to steal Group H from Colombia.
Group H Predictions
Columbia and Poland will be the two top teams that will qualify from this group with Columbia being the slightly stronger team. This is one of the more balanced groups, so the odds for each game are very intriguing. You can make some money betting on this Group if you play your cards right.
Final Standings Prediction
- 1Colombia - 9 points
- 2Poland - 6 Points
- 3Japan - 1 Point
- 4Senegal - 1 Point
Game By Game Predictions for Group H