This group started once Russia was drawn as the seeded team. Every other nation crossed their fingers and hoped to be picked. The lucky ones drawn into Group A were Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The top three nations of Group A being Uruguay, Russia, Egypt are fairly even according to the odd makers.
Russia has the home field advantage (for whatever that means). Saudi Arabia’s non-global league experience is will weigh them down to the bottom of the group. Egypt’s red-hot player, Mohamed Salah, will be the talk of this group. Lastly, the pure offence power of Uruguay is not to be missed. One thing is for sure, there are some good bets to be won in this group.
Group A Preview
What the Odds Say?
Odds courtesy of BetOnline (subject to change)
Team Russia Preview
As they are the host nation, Russia did not have to take part in the qualifiers. The host nation automatically becomes a seeded team for the draw and were added into the number 1 pot with world powers such as Germany, France and Brazil. I truly believe Russia would have never qualified via Europe. The standards in this zone were very high (just ask Italy and the Netherlands). In their last 18 matches, Russia is as cold as the Volga in spring. They only won 5, drew 5 and lost 8 including the losses in their last two friendlies. This Russian team has no consistent style and relies heavily on their keeper to remain in every game. Russia has no chance of winning this group, but they could qualify second if they have a little help from ‘friends’ with whistles (cough cough).
BEST ODDS FOR RUSSIA TO WIN GROUP A
Team Uruguay Preview
Uruguay needed to qualify via one of the strongest confederations, the Conmebol (South America). This is a long qualifying route but unlike other confederations, in this one, there are no rounds as there are only 10 nations in South America. Each team plays 18 games in tough conditions against some of the world’s best teams like Brazil and Argentina. To Uruguay’s credit, they excelled in qualifying and were only topped by Brazil to finish second. Uruguay were led by Cavani and Suarez, who are a dangerous one two punch, that most other defences could not control. Uruguay will win this group and show the world why they finished second in Conmebol.
BEST ODDS FOR URUGUAY TO WIN GROUP A
Team Egypt Preview
Egypt qualified via the ever so hard Africa zone against 53 other teams with only 5 World Cup spots. In the 3rd and final qualifying round, they faced three other teams in the group, with only the winner moving onto the World Cup. Egypt’s qualifying group included Ghana, who has been one of the stronger African nations of late. Egypt went undefeated and qualified for their third World Cup. This team rode the coat tails of Mohamed Salah, potentially the hottest player on the planet this year. Salah is so hot at the moment, playing for Liverpool in the EPL, that he is being talked about as a potential Ballon D’Or winner. I have been watching him play weekly and he is out of this world. Egypt have narrowly lost their last two friendly matches but with their style of moving the ball up field quickly (to Salah of course), they could catch all teams in this group off guard. Egypt could upset everyone and win this group. However, I bet they finish in second place and qualify for the knock out stage just ahead of Russia.
BEST ODDS FOR EGYPT TO WIN GROUP A
Team Saudi Arabia Preview
For their qualifiers in Asia, Saudi Arabia were drawn in a tough final group with Japan and Australia as the top seeds. Few punters, including myself, picked them to finish in the top two, which would have enabled them to qualify automatically. However, the Socceroos stumbled, and Saudi Arabia took full advantage of the situation to take second spot in the group. Ever since they qualified, Saudi Arabia have not played well, only winning twice in their last seven meetings while losing two of the last three. The positive is that the players will gel well as a team as most of them play in the Saudi league. This team knows how to grind out a win and how run down the clock when in the lead. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia are unlikely to be in the lead in any games in this group. By no means will they be the whipping boys of Group A, but, I bet that they will finish last, no questions asked.
BEST ODDS FOR SAUDI ARABIA TO WIN GROUP A
Best Bet To Win Group A
Uruguay will win this group. They have the most talent. from Godin marshalling the team to Cavani and Suarez scoring multiple goals, this is a solid team to bet on to win the group especially at 2.10. These are higher than expected odds for a team so likely to win the group. I will be betting on Uruguay.
Sleeper Pick To Win Group A
Egypt could win this group if Mohamed Salah continues his current form he is having this season at Liverpool. As a rank outsider at around +600 to win the group, this could be a solid punt for those looking for a longshot. However, I am more willing to put money on them to finish second and qualify.
Group A Predictions
This group will be full of goals and exciting matches. Uruguay will win will this group and Egypt will throw up the first upset to qualify for the knockout stage.
Final Standings Prediction
- 1Uruguay - 9 Points
- 2Egypt - 6 Points
- 3Russia - 3 Points
- 4Saudi Arabia - 0 Points
Game By Game Predictions