On Thursday June 14, the long anticipated FIFA World Cup tournament kicks off in Russia. Forty-eight teams from around the globule will compete for the vaunted championship trophy playing initially in eight groups.
CNW sports desk has taken time out to provide its readers with an analysis of the teams paying in each of the eight groups. Tday we look at Groups A, B, and C.
Saudi Arabia will find getting out of this Group extremely difficult.
While two times champions Uruguay are expected to take top honors.
Uruguay have probably the best striking partnership going into this world cup in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, The team is anchored at the back by veteran Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez. They possess a well balance team and are expected to claim at least a quarter final spot in this year’s World Cup.
The host country Russia and Egypt should vie for the runners up spot.
Host Russia should be given the edge over the Mohamed Salah led Egyptians. Especially now that there are doubts surrounding whether he will be fit enough to start the World Cup.
The Russians will be led by 21 year-old defensive midfielder Aleksandr Golovin. The expectation of his nation will be weighing heavily on his tender shoulders. He is however quite a talented youngster with good passing skills.
A lot is expected of Golovin and along with the large home crowd support, Russia should get by Egypt and make it to the round of sixteen.
European Champions Portugal led by FIFA World player of the year 2017, Cristiano Ronaldo, should advance. He will be supported by veteran defender Pepe along hard-working Andre Silva and silky Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese team is a balanced one built around a tight defensive unit and will look to hit on the counter attack.
Spain will be Portugal’s main treat to top this group. The one-time world cup champions of 2010 will be led by the legendary talisman Andres Iniesta in midfield. They will also have what can be considered the most dependable central defensive pairing of Gerard Piques and Sergio Ramos. In David de Gea Spain possess in many pundit’s opinion the world’s number one goal keeper.
Spain have an abundance of experience and emerging stars in this squad and should be considered as one of the favorites to lift the World Cup.
Spain should take this group ahead of Portugal who should provide stiff competition that will serve both team well going into the round of sixteen.
Morocco and Iran will find both Portugal and Spain too hard to compete against. It may be a challenge for both to keep the scores respectable when they meet these teams. The Iran and Morocco encounter will be exiting but I would give Iran the nod in their head-to-head matchup.
Group C should provide much entertainment and also be interesting.
France the one-time World Cup holders in 1998 are expected to top this group.
But the battle for the second spot should come down to a battle between Peru and Denmark.
The fighting Australians could also prove to be a spoiler for one of these teams battling for second spot.
France is the class team in this group. They have a very strong young and talented squad led by Paul Pogba in midfield and the dangerous Antoine Griezman, along with teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe up front should provide the French with too much fire power for their group opponents. The expecting pairing of the too young central defensive superstars Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti should be strong especially with the tireless defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante covering in front.
France is definitely one of the favorites to go all the way.
Peru last tasted defeat in November 2016 against Brazil. Since then they have developed a solid team structure and have been good in both attack and defense. They however have been dealt a serious blow with their captain and team’s center forward Paolo Guerrero unable to participate after been found guilty and banned for drug used.
However, in Christian Cueva Peru has a gifted play maker in midfield. His presence and the all-round solid team structure should see them through.
Denmark are not considered one of the top seeds they are good enough to have shot against Peru. Led by the technically gifted attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen, and the skillful Pione Sisto, Denmark possess a treat going forward in attack.
They are strong in the air with 6.3 ft center-forward Nicolai Jorgensen and 6.4ft Andreas Cornelius up front they can be awkward to play against.
However I will stick with Peru but will be wary of Denmark.
It will be hard to see where Australia will get points from but I see then getting a point or three.