2018 World Cup: Who will advance out of Group A

Typically when they draw the World Cup Groups the hosts go into Group A. They will open the tournament with the first game. This is no different this year as Russia will be slotted into Group A along with Egypt, Uruguay, and Saudi Arabia. This group when looked at first glance does not look very strong, but there are a couple of interesting storylines. For Instance, Russia is hosting their first World Cup as a nation. Saudi Arabia had a great run during qualifying although they are still picked to finish last in the group. The team that could surprise in this group is actually Egypt.

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  • Russia
    • Looking to advance out of the group stage for the first time in its history and this year it does not seem any easier for them.
    • The last 2 major tournaments for Russia were definitely sub-par as 2014 in Brazil they failed to advance out of the group stage and then in 2016 Euro only managed one point on a draw with England.
    • Yuri Zhirkov a former star for Chelsea is coming to the end of his career and could finish his international career in front of his home fans.
  • Saudi Arabia
    • Got to the World Cup by finishing 2nd in their group behind Japan. They eeked out 2nd over Australia by goal Differential of +2.
    • Saudi Arabia’s best World Cup came in 1994 in America when they made the round of 16 but were knocked out by Sweden.
    • Saudi Arabia’s team, up until early May did not have a single player who played for a club team outside of the country until Fahad Al-Muwallad came on for Levante of La Liga.
  • Egypt
    • This is their first time in the World Cup since 1990 when it was in Italy. Egypt has also never won a game in World Cup history so their players will be eager to become part of Egyptian history.
    • Egypt’s best player during qualifying and overall is Mohamed Salah from Liverpool and is up for player of the year in the Premier League. Salah is one of the most underrated players in the world right now and could set Egypt up for a big run. He is currently only 33-1 to lead the World Cup in scoring.
    • Egypt qualified for Russia ahead of Uganda, Congo, and Ghana and has won 7 African Cup of Nations tournaments in their history.
  • Uruguay
    • Luis Suarez will return to the global stage after 2 straight World Cup controversies in 2010 against Ghana a handball and in 2014 against Italy a bite of Giorgio Chiellini.
    • Edison Cavani has had his career resurrected alongside Neymar and Mbappe.  He currently leads the Ligue 1 scoring charts and his partnership with Suarez will make them one of the best at the World Cup.
    • Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus is a 20-year-old phenom who could showcase his talent on the global stage. Thus, if he does Uruguay will be looking to lift their 3rd World Cup title.

Favorite to win the Group-Uruguay but ultimately their game against Egypt can decide the winner of the group.

Favorite to advance-Egypt again if they can find a way against Uruguay they could be looking at group winners.

Least Like to advance – Saudi Arabia sorry but this team is not that talented and too many good teams to get past.

Dark horse – Russia, Playing in front of your home fans does have a boost to it. Will it be enough to get them past the group stage for the first time?

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