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

Poland

Poland sailed through qualification though didn’t face the most challenging opponents but nevertheless won eight of their 10 matches with a 4-0 away defeat the only real hiccup along the way. Their captain and clear threat, Robert Lewandowski, scored more goals than any other player in European qualification, netting 16 of Poland’s 28 goals in total. While they are far from a one-man show, they are highly dependant on Lewandowski in front of goal and if the Bayern Munich striker fails to find his best form in Russia it’s difficult to see Poland making it out of possibly the most unpredictable group this summer.

Expect…them to need a victory in their final group game but it still not being enough.

Key Player: Robert Lewandowski
Group Prediction: 3rd
Stage of Elimination: Group Stage
Best Bet: Robert Lewandowski Poland’s Top Goalscorer (8/13)
 
 
 

Senegal

It is only the second time Senegal have qualified for the finals, but it’s hard to forget their performance in 2002, when their stunned reigning champions France en route to the quarter finals. Aliou Cissé, Senegal’s captain for that tournament, will lead them into Russia after guiding this side through a difficult qualification group. They have plenty of capable players in the squad including Napoli’s 6ft 5in centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate, Idrissa Gana Gueye of Everton and of course Liverpool’s flying winger Sadio Mane. They are likely to play without fear and expectations which will make them a real threat in Group H.

Expect…fantastic goal celebrations and team spirit to see them into the last 16.

Key Player: Sadio Mane
Group Prediction: 2nd
Stage of Elimination: Last 16
Best Bet: To Qualify from Group H (5/4)
 
 


GroupH

 

Colombia

Colombia earned the fourth and final automatic place in South-American qualification, edging out eventual playoff victors Peru and Chile by a single point. Despite their squad bulging with potential they are far from the finished article and their games against the bigger nations in qualification demonstrated just that, going without a win against Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, picking up just two points from those six games. They will undoubtedly be favourites to top Group H, but with many unanswered questions it’s difficult to say just how far they can go.

Expect…flashes of brilliance from James Rodriguez but not enough to replicate their performance four years ago.

Key Player: James Rodriguez
Group Prediction: 1st
Stage of Elimination: Last 16
Best Bet: To Win Group H (11/8)
 
 
 

Japan

Japan are without question one of the most successful teams in Asia, having qualified for the last six consecutive World Cups with second round advancements in both 2002 and 2010. They qualified this time around with reasonable comfort, beating off the likes of Saudi Arabia and Australia to clinched top spot in the group with a game to spare. They will hope to improve on their single point tally in four years ago and will kick off in Saransk against Colombia who sent them packing with a 4-1 drumming in Brazil.

Expect…possession football, discipline and tactical awareness but lacking the grit to reach the knockouts.

Key Player: Makoto Hasebe
Group Prediction: 4th
Stage of Elimination: Group Stage
Best Bet: To Finish Bottom of Group H (6/4)
 
 


Group H Fixtures

 
June 19 | Colombia v Japan (13:00)
June 19 | Poland v Senegal (16:00)

June 24 | Japan v Senegal (16:00)
June 24 | Poland v Colombia (19:00)

June 28 | Japan v Poland (15:00)
June 28 | Senegal v Colombia (15:00)
 
 

Group H Forecast

 

Group HProjected PointsWin GroupGroup Qualification
Colombia534%63%
Senegal529%57%
Poland528%55%
Japan09%25%

 
 
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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