World Cup 2018: Group A Preview, Predictions and Best Bets…

Russia

Russia will have realistic expectations heading into the tournament, with their main aim of getting out of the group stage for the first time since 1986. Unfortunately for the hosts injuries to several key players, including star striker Aleksandr Kokorin and reports of bust-ups between coach Stanislav Cherchesov with several senior players have been unwanted preparation distractions. Home advantage only counts for so much but their lack of quality within the squad will be a real worry.

Expect…a marginal tournament opening victory over Saudi Arabia but to crash out at the first hurdle.

Key Player: Igor Akinfeev
Group Prediction: 3rd
Stage of Elimination: Group Stage
Best Bet: Not to qualify from Group A (9/4)
 
 
 

SaudiArabia

It’s been somewhat of an unsettled few months within the Saudi Arabian national team. Following their qualification for Russia 2018 back in September, coach Bert van Marwijk departed, which led to the appointment of Edgardo Bauza who lasted just two months in charge. Juan Antonio Pizzi become their 40th managerial appointment in 30 years and will be in the hot-seat for Russia, following his failure to qualify with Chile.

Expect…a short stay as in previous tournaments with ‘nil-pwa’ a strong possibility.

Key Player: Osama Hawsawi
Group Prediction: 4th
Stage of Elimination: Group Stage
Best Bet: Under 2 Group A Points (4/7)
 
 


GroupA

 

Egypt

The entire nation of Egypt held their breath when their talisman Mo Salah was forced off with a suspected shoulder injury in the Champions League final in May. Egypt are heavily reliant on the Liverpool ace having played a huge part booking their ticket to the finals for the first time in 28 years. Having been named in the squad and likely to shake off his injury come their opening game, he will drastically improve his nations chances of getting out of the group.

Expect…a defensive and disciplined outfit aiming to get the ball to Salah at every opportunity.

Key Player: Mo Salah
Group Prediction: 2nd
Stage of Elimination: Last 16
Best Bet: Last 16 Elimination (9/4)
 
 
 

Uruguay

Two-time winners and Group A favourites Uruguay enjoyed an impressive South American qualifying campaign and will be hoping for a repeat of their 2010 performance in reaching the semi-finals in South Africa. They have one of the most potent attacking duos in the form of Cavani and Suarez who are able to change a game in a split second. They possess a wealth of experience, long-term managerial stability in Oscar Tabarez and a gritty determination making Uruguay the best of the dark horses.

Expect…confidence to be high after cruising out of the group and to remain a real threat in the knockouts.

Key Player: Luis Suarez
Group Prediction: 1st
Stage of Elimination: Quarter-Final
Best Bet: To Win Group A (4/5)
 
 


Group A Fixtures

 
June 14 | Russia v Saudi Arabia (16:00)
June 15 | Egypt v Uruguay (13:00)

June 19 | Russia v Egypt (19:00)
June 20 | Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (16:00)

June 25 | Saudi Arabia v Egypt (15:00)
June 25 | Uruguay v Russia (15:00)
 
 

Group A Forecast

 

Group AProjected PointsWin GroupGroup Qualification
Uruguay757%88%
Egypt521%52%
Russia420%49%
Saudi Arabia02%11%

 
 
World Cup 2018 Group Previews:

Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

 
 

(Statistics, data and odds correct of date and time published).

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