World Cup 2018 Group Stage Review – Betting Tips, Predictions & Possible Winners
The 2018 World Cup in Russia offers some amazing clashes during the Group Stage. As most of the dedicated bettors know, group stages at big football tournaments might be a bit boring due to the more cautious tactics coaches use to ensure their team will qualify for the elimination phase, but even so there are a few matches that prove to be entertaining.
With that said, let’s see the predictions for each World Cup 2018 Group and the possible winners.
Group A – Can Russia Top the Group?
The game between Russia and Saudi Arabia will give the start to the 2018 World Cup. The other teams that are in the group are Egypt and Uruguay which will make everything possible to qualify for the Round of 16, too.
Fans in Russia are sure their team will win the group, or at least finish at second place which will provide them with a place at the Knockout Stage. This won’t be so easy since both the teams of Uruguay and Egypt have some world-class players in their line-ups. Russia will try not to disappoint like they did in 2014, when they were not capable of getting out of their group. Being hosts to the World Cup for the first time in their history, both fans and players are optimistic they can perform above expectations and top the group. Odds for Russia to win the group are 2.8 at Bet365.
Uruguay are favourites for winning Group A according to bookmakers. They performed very well on the last two World Cups and on the last Copa Americas and currently have an experienced and balanced squad lead by two of the best strikers in the world – Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. In defence they can rely on Diego Godin, the captain of the team and Jose Maria Gimenez, while in the midfield they have players such as Rodrigo Bentancur who plays for the champion of Italy, Juventus. Uruguay, according to bookies, have the biggest chances of winning Group A with odds of 1.8 at William Hill.
Egypt, despite not a football force to be reckon, definitely have their chances of reaching the Knockout Stage. That, however, depends on the performance of their superstar – Mohamed Salah and his world-class scoring abilities.Of course, he can expect help from other players playing in Europe such as Mohamed Elneny and Ramadan Sobhi, but making it to the elimination phase will be difficult, given that Egypt are in a group with Uruguay and hosts from Russia. Chances of Egypt to qualify are 2.62 at Betway.
Saudi Arabia are the outsider in the group. Both fans and bookmakers do not see any chance for them to make it to the Knockout Stage of the 2018 World Cup. After all, the best odds for them to win a match in the group stage is 6.00 in their game against Egypt. They have only 3 players who are signed for clubs in Europe, which is kind of a statement for the quality of football in the country.
Following are the odds of the four teams for reaching the elimination phase of the 2018 World Cup:
- Uruguay – 1.20 @Ladbrokes
- Russia – 1.36 @William Hill
- Egypt – 2.25 @William Hill
- Saudi Arabia – 11 @Betway
Group B – Spain and Portugal Are Favourites to Reach the Knockout Stage
Group B consists of Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Iran. As many of you might think, everything here is decided even before the first minute is played. And you’ll be right.
Spain have the most successful generation in their history, starting from 10 years ago. The team then, lead by players like Carles Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Fernando Torres and David Villa won the Euro Cup and two years later, in 2010 – the World Cup. Furthermore, they won the next Euro Cup, too, and become the most dominant team in the world back then.
Many things changed since then, but the backbone of that generation is still here, and they want to retire in the best way possible. And why shouldn’t they – they have a world-class goalkeeper, some of the leading defenders and midfielders and a decent striker. Last, but not least, Spain have some of the brightest young talents in the world which can definitely help if needed. Of course, the most important match will be against Portugal, which, if nothing surprising happens, will decide the first place in Group B. The most anticipated clash in the group will take place on the 15th of June from 19:00.
Speaking of Portugal, they are the latest Euro Cup holders and have arguably the best football player in the last 10 years – Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal also have many experienced players like Pepe, Ricardo Quaresma and Joao Moutinho. They are capable of winning any match. Portugal, just like Spain, will try to occupy the first place in the group after the first match, although a draw is also a very plausible result. Currently, the odds for Spain to win the game are 1.91, a draw is estimated at 3.25 and a win for Portugal – 4.00. All shown odds for the game can be found at William Hill.
The other two teams in Group B – Morocco and Iran will have to argue about the third place in the group since they have no actual chance of finishing ahead of the two favourites which is shown by the odds – 4.5 and 7.5 for respectively Morocco and Iran to qualify for the Knockout Stage.
And here are the odds for each team to win Group B:
- Spain – 1.50 @Ladbrokes
- Portugal – 3.0 @Betway
- Morocco – 17 @William Hill
- Iran – 21 @Ladbrokes
Group C – There Is Only One Favourite Here!
Group C is both very exciting and in the meantime, a bit predictable. First of all, let’s see the teams – France, Peru, Australia and Denmark. France is the only team that is sure to qualify for the next stage, most probably occupying the first spot. What makes this group so exciting, however, is the fact that all three other teams have a chance of finishing in second position, and thus qualifying for the Round of 16.
France are the firm favourites, they have a superb young squad full of stars which reached the Euro Cup final two years ago. The leaders of the team include Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe in attack and midfield maestros Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante.
The chances of Les Bleus to win the group are estimated at 1.30 @Betway which shows the real capabilities and quality of the French players.
Denmark are the second European team in the group. Their biggest star is Christian Eriksen, the playmaker of Tottenham, who will have to prove that he is really a world-class playmaker and lead his team to the Knockout Stage.
The most important matches for Denmark will definitely be the game against France, on the 26th of June, and against Peru, 10 days earlier. If both France and Denmark have the same number of points before the direct match between the two sides, then, the game on the 26th of June will decide which team will finish first.
The odds for Denmark to win the group are estimated at 5.50 @Bet365.
Peru had some difficulties qualifying for the World Cup, but here they are. Occupying the second place in Group C won’t be an easy job for them but they stand their chances, anyways. Jefferson Farfan is definitely the name that will be most familiar to fans across Europe, but the strength of this squad is in their team spirit.
Peru have odds of 11 @Ladbrokes to win the group which are not best, but more interesting are the odds for qualifying to the next stage – Peru’s chances of continuing are valued at 3.02 while those of Denmark – at 2.49.
Australia don’t have any star names in their squad and will have to rely on their high team spirit if they want to take any points from this World Cup. The Socceroos, as seen by bookmakers, don’t have any chances of making it out of the group. Their chances of reaching the Knockout Stage are estimated at 4.5 @Ladbrokes which are three times worse than those of their main rivals.
Those odds show just how tense the matches in Group C will be and although there is one firm favourite in the face of France, the battle for the second spot is going to be unpredictable.
Group D – Will Argentina Win the First Place in the Group?
Group D of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia promises some of the most interesting matches in the Group Stage of the tournament. Argentina, Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland will face each other to shed light on which two teams will continue to the next phase of the competition.
Argentina are the favourites here, despite the fact that Croatia have one of the best squads on paper. The Argentinian squad has the best attacking players in the world, too, but will they be capable of finally reaching their potential?
Led by football superstar Lionel Messi, Argentina sure have what it takes to win the World Cup, but is that really so? Yes, Argentina have Messi, Aguero, Dybala, Di Maria and Higuain when it comes to scoring abilities. But what they really lack is quality in the defence line and in the midfield. Sure, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Otamendi and Ever Banega are on a decent level, but they lack the class of Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric or Toni Kroos.
Despite not the best squad when it comes to midfielders, Argentina’s odds of winning the group are 1.61 @Bet365.
Croatia are the second best team when it comes to pure talent. With players like Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic they sure have the units to make something memorable. Their squad is not the youngest but they can use that to their advantage, since all key players except Kovacic are between the age of 29 and 32.
The odds for Croatia to win Group D are 3.40 at Ladbrokes while the odds for qualifying to the next stage are estimated at 1.57 at William Hill.
Nigeria were once a glorious football power in the world. Unfortunately for fans in the country, this is not the case in recent years. The most noticeable name in their squad is Victor Moses. He plays for Chelsea but both fans and bookmakers don’t think he will be enough to stop neither Argentina, nor Croatia. Even so, if some of the two favourites makes a step in the wrong directions, Nigeria have the experience to take advantage of the situation.
Nigeria’s chances of qualifying for the elimiantion phase are estimated at 3.50 @Betway.
Iceland made the biggest surprise at the 2016 Euro Cup. They reached the Quarter Final with their spirited play and team spirit. Sure they don’t have the class of Croatia and Argentina, or the experience in big tournaments of Nigeria, but they proved that if a team underestimates them, they can beat anyone.
Icelands odds for reaching the Knockout Stage are 3.75 at Ladbrokes.
Group E – The Group of Brazil
The query in Group E is which team will finish on second place after Brazil – is it going to be Switzerland, Costa Rica or Serbia.
Brazil are the heavy contenders for winning the group. With players like Marcelo, Philippe Coutinho, Fred, Casemiro, Thiago Silva and Neymar, they are a major title contender and are sure to leave their trace at this World Cup. None of the other three teams possess any threat to Selecao, so it is not surprising that bookmakers give them odds of 1.40 to win the group and 1.12 to qualify for the next round.
Switzerland, on theory, are the second strongest team in the group. Their key players include names like Stephan Lichtsteiner, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, who will have to give their best if they want to proceed to the elimination phase of the tournament. The toughest game for Switzerland, except the one against Brazil is surely the clash with Serbia on 22nd of June which will most probably decide the faith of the two squads.
Bookmakers give Switzerland decent chances for making it out of Group E. Their odds for reaching the Round of 16 are 2.0 at Betway, while their chances of winning the group are estimated at 7.5 @Bet365.
Serbia are also considered capable of reaching the Knockout Stage. They have players like Aleksandar Kolarov, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Adem Ljajic who will try to lead their teammates to success.
In order to qualify for the elimination phase, however, Serbia will have to rely on a good result against Brazil and a win against their main opponents from Switzerland. The current odds for Serbia to qualify to the next stage of the 2018 World Cup are 2.1 @William Hill which are slightly worse than those given of Switzerland. A crucial game for both teams will be, however, the match against Costa Rica, who will try everything in their powers to make that a very difficult task. Costa Rica are, as predicted, outsiders in Group E with odds to qualify of 4.5 at Ladbrokes.
Group F – The World Champion Starts The Defence of His Title
World champions from Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea form Group F of the Word Cup in Russia. As usual, Germany are the top seeder in the group with the highest chances of winning it and thus proceeding to the next round.
Germany have one, if not the best, generations in their history. The whole squad is full of talent and potential young players in all areas, starting with the best goalkeeper in recent years – Manuel Neuer. In front of him there are names like Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Joshua Kimmich. In the midfield they have Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, young star Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan and Julian Draxler. Attackers will probably be Marco Reus and Thomas Muller who did not have his best season in Bayern.
Germany are the favourites with odds for winning the group at 1.40 and 1.08 to qualify for the next round. Both shown odds can be found at Ladbrokes.
According to bookies, the team that will most probably occupy the second spot in Group F is Mexico with odds for qualifying being 2.0 @Betway.
Mexico made it through the Group Stage on the last two World Cups, so the current odds are not at all surprising, given the fact that almost the same generation won the Olympics in 2012. The top goalscorer of the team is Javier Hernandez with 49 goals with Giovani dos Santos and Andres Guardado being the other most notable players.
Sweden are also a hidden favourite for qualifying to the Round of 16 although they did not make it to the World Cup Group Stage on the last two occasions. Even so, the Scandinavian team has many experienced players who know how to achieve wins when most needed. Victor Lindelöf, Andreas Granqvist and Sebastian Larsson are the main cornerstones on whom the success of the whole squad relies.
Sweden have slightly worse odds than Mexico to qualify for the next stage – 2.1 for Mexico against 2.35 for Sweden. This shows just how important the game between the two sides will be.
South Korea don’t have any chances to make it out of Group F. A proof for that are the odds of Ladbrokes – 4.0 to qualify and 13 to win the group. Even so, the Asian team can mess up the plans of any opponent, so it’s going to be quite interesting to see whether any of the favourites will make a misstep.
Group G – England and Belgium Will Contend for the First Place
Group G of the 2018 World Cup is going to be quite entertaining for a lot of fans. The reason for that is not because the teams have equal chances. After all, there is nobody on this planet who thinks either England or Belgium will give their place to Panama or Tunisia. The reason is very simple. Both European teams have to meet the high expectations of their fans who expect nothing but the first place.
England are a team that always have disappointed their fans, at least in the last 20 or 30 years. Even now, when they don’t have any world-class players like Lampard or Gerrard, fans await something to happen. It is true that the team has classy footballers in the midfield and attack – Dele Alli, Kane, Sterling and Dier, but they can’t be compared to the talents in the squads of Brazil, Germany, France and Spain.
That’s why, this time, England are not even considered favourites for winning their group with odds of 2.2 @Bet365 showcasing this strange fenomen. And the reason for that is the next team in the group.
Belgium are the main contenders for winning Group G with odds of 1.83 @Bet365. The Red Devils have a team that could beat anyone, despite the fact they disappointed on the 2016 Euro Cup. Names like Hazard, Lukaku, Kompany and Courtois are among the best in the world on their positions.
It is unknown what this golden generation will accomplish in the tournament. One thing is for sure – according to bookmakers there is no way some of the other 2 teams in the group – Panama and Tunisia, to finish on the first two spots in Group G. The odds for England and Belgium to qualify for the next round are respectively 1.06 for Belgium and 1.14 for England and both can be found at Ladbrokes.
Group H – The Ferocious Battle for the First Two Places
Group H does not have a firm favourite. The reason for that? Well, it consists of Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan. And while Senegal and Japan are not considered for qualifying to the next round, the competition between Colombia and Poland will be very tense.
Colombia were the big surprise on the last World Cup. Lead by their super-star James Rodriguez and striker Radamel Falcao, they have both the talent and experience to achieve a lot. Juan Cuadrado is also a player who can decide a match in a matter of seconds, so reaching the Round of 16 should not be a problem. A proof for that are the odds: 1.36 to qualify and 2.37 to win the group. Even with such eloquent odds, the team of Poland are also capable of securing the spot, if they achieve a victory in the direct duel on 24th of June.
Poland reached the Quarter Final of the Euro Cup in 2016, although the team doesn’t have any world class players except Robert Lewandowski. Other notable players include goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny and Arkadiusz Milik.
Poland’s chances of reaching the Round of 16 are estimated at 1.57 @William Hill. The odds to win the group at 2.75 again at William Hill.
The only other team capable of messing with the two favourites is Senegal, although they don’t seem to have anything that could be a trait. The odds for Senegal to qualify to the next stage are 2.38 at Betway.
Japan will no doubt try to take a point here or there but it is highly unlikely for the Asian team to reach the elimination phase of the World Cup. Colombia and Poland are just to classy too defeat, so their only chance is to contend with Senegal for the third spot. The current odds given by bookmakers for Japan to reach the Knockout Stage are around 3.40.
On the 4th of June all coaches announced their teams, although most of them made that earlier. If there aren’t any injuries, you could start placing your bets right away. You already saw the groups and our predictions, so betting should be a bit easier and safer now.
Enjoy the World Cup and Good Luck!
Read more about World Cup 2018:
- World Cup 2018 – Bet on the Winner
- World Cup 2018 – groups, venues, schedule & favourites
- Betting odds for the World Cup 2018 goalscorer