The draw for the 2018 World Cup was made earlier today.
Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
I would imagine that Uruguay are happy with their draw and will be favourites to qualify from the group. The other three teams will all believe that they have a chance of qualifying for the second round. I think that Egypt will qualify just ahead of Russia.
Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
A group that looks quite straight forward; I would expect the Iberian neighbours to qualify from the group with relative ease.
Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
France will be favourites to qualify from the group and I expect them to do so. The other three teams will fancy their chances, but I think Denmark will finish as group runners-up.
Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
An interesting looking group. The firepower of Argentina should see them through. The expectation would be for Croatia V Nigeria to be the game that decides who joins Argentina in qualifying from the group, but underestimating Iceland is never a wise idea… Having said that, I think Nigeria will qualify along with Argentina.
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
It’s difficult to see Costa Rica progressing from the group, but the same was said at the last World Cup and they qualified as group winners. Brazil will win the group and I think they will be joined by Switzerland.
Group F: Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Korea
The Group of Death! Germany will be favourites to progress as group winners, something I am sure they will be keen to achieve as the runners up are likely to face Brazil in the second round. A strong case can be made for the each of the other three teams, but I think Germany will be joined Mexico.
Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
A group that looks straight forward on paper, but (as the cliche goes) football is not played on paper. Belgium and England will be strong favourites to progress from the group. However, for all their talented players, Belgium seem to struggle as a team. England find it difficult to break down sides that defend deep and look for either a draw or a goal on the counter. I would expect Tunisia and Panama to play quite defensively against Belgium and England. I think the two European sides will progress, but not necessarily as easy as some are predicting.
Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan
A group that appears to be quite open. An argument for any combination progressing could be made, but I think Poland and Colombia will be the two sides to make it to the second round.
Leave a comment and let me know who you think will qualify from each group.