World Cup preview: Who will win the eight groups? | inside World Soccer

World Cup preview: Who will win the eight groups?

Saturday, May 26, 2018

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The 2018 World Cup in Russia gets underway on June 14 and there are plenty of nations in with a realistic chance of lifting the trophy.

Brazil and Germany are favourites to win the tournament, but there is a lot of football to be played before we discover who will be crowned as champions.

The first stage features eight groups containing four teams, with just the two top in each progressing to the knockout rounds.

We look at each group and predict who will come out on top to set themselves up nicely for the next part of the tournament.

Group A

Uruguay are the favourites to finish top of Group A and they look a good bet to do just that. They finished second behind Brazil in the South American qualifiers and their squad looks a cut above the rest of this group.

Hosts Russia are aiming to bounce back from a disappointing showing at the 2016 European Championships, but they could face big competition to finish second from Egypt. Saudi Arabia look out of their depth and are likely to finish bottom.

Group B

Who finishes top of this group is likely to be determined when Spain and Portugal meet in Sochi on June 15. Spain beat Portugal 1-0 in South Africa eight years ago and knocked them out of the competition at Euro 2012. They should be able to claim top spot.

The European sides are joined in Group B by Morocco and Iran, but neither appears to possess the quality to trouble the big two. Use this BookiePro Promo Code is you fancy wagering on Spain to win the tournament outright.

Group C

France have an impressive looking squad, but they have imploded at big tournaments before. However, they looked good during qualifying and should finish top.

Denmark beat Republic of Ireland in the play-offs to reach the finals and should have enough about them to finish second ahead of Peru and Australia.

Group D

Argentina are the firm favourites to win Group D. Lionel Messi has been in fine form for Barcelona and he is expected to inspire them to the top of this group.

Croatia are tipped to take second place, with Iceland and Nigeria pushing them hard.

Group E

With the likes of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus prominent in the top goalscorer market, Brazil are banker material to win this group.

Switzerland qualified after finishing second in their group behind Portugal, but Serbia and Costa Rica are both capable of reaching the last 16.

Group F

Germany are aiming to be the first country since Brazil in 1962 to retain the World Cup and should breeze through the first stage.

The battle for second place between Sweden and Mexico could be close, but the European side's superior defensive ability could see them through. Korea Republic failed to win a match in 2014 and it's hard to see them causing an upset in this tough group.

Group G

Belgium are the favourites to win Group G, closely followed by England. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard will be a handful for most teams and that could give them the edge over England.

Tunisia and Panama face an uphill task and are unlikely to progress beyond the first stage.

Group H

Columbia are fancied to win this group, with Poland just behind in the betting. James Rodriguez claimed the Golden Boot in 2014 and the Colombian star has regained his form again after a difficult spell. He should lead his country to top spot.

Poland dominated their group during the qualifiers and striker Robert Lewandowski is a man to be feared. Senegal reached the quarter-finals in 2002 and they will hope to spring a surprise again, while outsiders Japan have never progressed beyond the first knockout stage.

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