If you tuned in last week at No Deposit Poker then you will know that we began our World Cup 2018 countdown with a preview of the first four groups in the opening phase of the tournament. In that article, we predicted the winner and runner up of each group, which teams would be eliminated and even the outcome of each of the games contested in those groups.
In this second article, we are going to continue in a similar vein offering you the same take but for the four remaining groups in the opening phase of the tournament, Groups E, F, G and H.
There’s particular interest in these groups because two of the World Cup’s most decorated teams, Brazil and Germany are involved in this set of groups, as are Gareth Southgate’s England, who have been drawn alongside Belgium in Group G. If England progress into the quarterfinals, which is a big ask at the moment, then it is likely either Germany or Brazil will be lying in wait for the Three Lions.
As usual, all the odds provided are courtesy of Coral Sports, the first choice for all our sports betting needs. The company has a great value bonus offer running for the World Cup if you wish to sign up where you can get odds of 60/1 on Brazil winning the World Cup (maximum £1 bet).
I’ll finish off this batch of tips with my one tip for the team I think is the best value bet for winning the World Cup outright, in the hope that this may land a few of us a nice little winner at the expense of the bookmakers.
Costa Rica (23)
Group E Matches
- Costa Rica v Serbia – Serbia Win
- Brazil v Switzerland – Brazil Win
- Brazil v Costa Rica – Brazil Win
- Serbia v Switzerland – Draw
- Serbia v Brazil – Brazil Win
- Switzerland v Costa Rica – Switzerland Win
Group E Winner Odds – Brazil 2/7, Switzerland 6/1, Serbia 7/1, Costa Rica 18/1
- Group E Winner – Brazil
- Group E Runner Up – Switzerland
- Eliminated – Serbia & Costa Rica
I can’t see the in form Brazilians having too many problems in this group. Tite’s men have been in great form coming into the finals and I would be hugely surprised if they didn’t progress from the group stage with maximum points.
Costa Rica I think could be in trouble. Their squad is very experienced and although they reached the quarterfinals in Brazil in 2014, I think this World Cup is a step too far for several of their key men. I can’t see them causing an upset as they did four years ago and in truth, I think they may struggle to claim a point in this group.
For me it is very close between Switzerland and Serbia for second spot behind the Brazilians. Serbia have better quality individuals in my view, but their team isn’t as experienced at this level and they do have a tendency to have a bad result every now and then. Switzerland are not as blessed with gifted individuals, but they are a more solid and consistent team and that is what I believe will see them edge second spot in the group, perhaps on goal difference.
South Korea (57)
Group F Matches
- Germany v Mexico – Germany Win
- Sweden v South Korea – Sweden Win
- South Korea v Mexico – Mexico Win
- Germany v Sweden – Germany Win
- South Korea v Germany – Germany Win
- Mexico v Sweden – Mexico Win
Group F Winner Odds – Germany 1/3, Mexico 5/1, Sweden 7/1, South Korea 14/1
- Group F Winner – Germany
- Group F Runner Up – Mexico
- Eliminated – Sweden & South Korea
Although I think Mexico and Sweden in particular will give them a test, I feel Germany will come through this group without an issue. The Germans usually get their preparation spot on and I’d be shocked if they didn’t win all three of their group games to finish top of the group. That’s important as the second place team in this group will likely face Brazil in the Round of 16.
For me, that team is likely to be either Mexico or Sweden. South Korea have some good attacking players, but their defence has looked weak at times in their build up to the finals, and not against particularly stellar opposition at that. They may well score a goal or two, but I think they’ll concede too many to be a threat here.
Assuming Mexico and Sweden lose to Germany and then beat South Korea, I think their game will then decide who finishes second in the group. Sweden are very strong defensively but weak in attack, Mexico are better balanced but have some very experienced players who I think will struggle to see out 90 minutes. This will be close, but I’ve just gone for the Mexican’s to grab the second spot here.
Group G Matches
- Belgium v Panama – Belgium Win
- England v Tunisia – England Win
- Belgium v Tunisia – Belgium Win
- England v Panama – England Win
- England v Belgium – Draw
- Panama v Tunisia – Tunisia Win
Group G Winner Odds – Belgium 5/6, England 6/5, Tunisia 16/1, Panama 25/1
- Group G Winner – Belgium
- Group G Runner Up – England
- Eliminated – Tunisia & Panama
According to the bookmakers, England and Belgium should walk through this group without an issue and while I do feel both will qualify for the second phase, I don’t think it will be quite as easy as the bookmakers are suggesting with the odds-on offer for both sides.
That’s because I think Tunisia are a much stronger team than the bookies realise. They are very well organised and difficult to break down, they can score goals on the counter and look very dangerous. England and Belgium will have to be very wary against these opponents in particular, though I do think Panama should represent a comfortable win for both teams.
If they can beat Tunisia, then both England and Belgium will go into the final group game already having qualified and playing for top spot, but without any real penalty for finishing top or second, I can see both managers fielding second-string teams in this game, which will in my view, peter out into a draw. Belgium I feel will finish top of the group, due chiefly to their better goalscoring potential.
Group H Matches
- Colombia v Japan – Colombia Win
- Poland v Senegal – Poland Win
- Japan v Senegal – Senegal Win
- Poland v Colombia – Draw
- Japan v Poland – Poland Win
- Senegal v Colombia – Draw
Group H Winner Odds –
- Group H Winner – Poland
- Group H Runner Up – Colombia
- Eliminated – Senegal & Japan
I see Group H being similar to Group D, although with slightly less high quality teams competing, in that it is a very even contest. That said, I do think Japan will finish bottom of the group as this Japanese squad isn’t as strong as some of their other teams have been in previous World Cup’s and I think they’ll struggle against three very solid opponents in each game.
Poland and Colombia should be vying for top spot and I’d expect both to go through given the quality of players each possesses but Senegal are the joker in the pack here. Their form coming into the finals is not great but they have so many talented players and great pace in the team, that they could well cause an upset here and progress.
However, I think they’ll need to win their last game against Colombia and I think that may be beyond them as the Colombian’s are very talented and experienced after reaching the quarterfinals in Brazil last year. So I think Poland and Colombia will make it through but it will be very close and could go right down to the wire.
Who will win the 2018 FIFA World Cup?
For me there are three very strong teams in this year’s tournament, Spain, Germany and Brazil. France I think have immense talent but their squad is very young and I think maybe four years time in Qatar may be when they have their best chance to shine.
Despite that I think all these trio of top teams have their weaknesses. Brazil’s problems are mainly defensive and their over-reliance on Neymar, who if injured again could massively impact their chances. Germany’s form heading into the World Cup is not great and I don’t think this squad is overly packed with attacking talent. Spain have top quality in goal, defence and midfield, but I think their attack is sorely lacking and that will be felt against the better quality teams.
So if no team is perfectly set to win the World Cup I think perhaps another team could win it and for me, that team is Argentina. Yes, they have real issues defensively and their form at the moment is dreadful, but they have one ace in the pack, an attack which would scare any team and added to that, the greatest player in history in Lionel Messi.
For me, Messi will know that to cement his status as the World’s greatest ever, he needs to claim one World Cup and be the catalyst for that success as Pele was in 1970 and Maradona in 1986. For me, Russia 2018, will go down as the Messi World Cup and I think at 10/1 with Coral, Argentina are a great bet for the outright win.