(To win: 30.00; To win group: 1.91; To qualify: 1.14; Rock Bottom: 17.00)
Uruguay have qualified for the third time in a row to the final stages, after a 4th place finish in 2010 and Round of 16 elimination in Brazil four years ago. This is a team full of great players that, except for the Copa America won in 2011, have never really fulfilled their expectations. In the last 3 major competitions played they were eliminated by Colombia in the R16 in the last World Cup in 2014, after struggling in the group, they reached the Quarter Finals in the Copa America of 2015, and finally they didn’t pass the Group Stage in the same cup in 2016.
They arrive to this edition after finishing 2nd behind Brazil with 31 points (9 wins, 4 draws, 5 losses), with 32 goals scored and 20 conceded. For some of the players like Muslera (31), Caceres (31), Godin (32), M.Pereira (33), C.Rodriguez (32), Cavani (31) and Suarez (31) this could be the last chance to shine in a World Cup while they are still at the top of their game. They will face a relative easy group alongside Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and should have no big problems going through. In the R16 depending on their group final position they might face either Portugal, Spain or Morocco.
If they go through as 1st they might get Portugal or Morocco in the Round16 and probably France in the Quarter-Finals. odds to win the group or go through seem too low to be interesting considering that they don’t have a solid recent history, finishing for example 2nd behind Costa Rica in the group at the last World Cup. Uruguay are a crazy horse capable of big debacles or great results. BEST BET: To win the group @ 1.91. MOST PROBABLE STAGE OF ELIMINATION: Round of 16: 2.25; QF 4.33
(To win: 51.00; To win group: 2.90; To qualify: 1.29; Rock Bottom: 11.00)
Russia are qualified as host in this edition. If we exclude their participations as Soviet Union, from 1994 they never qualified from the group stages, playing in 3 tournaments (1994, 2002, 2014) with a record of 2 wins, 2 draws and 5 losses in 9 games. In the Confederation Cup played at home last year they won just one game from their group (New Zealand) and lost against both Portugal and Mexico. In the friendlies before the tournament they won just one (South Korea), with 2 draws against Iran and Spain, and losses against Brazil, France and Argentina.
Apart from the fact that they are in the easier group they shouldn’t be favorite to go through ever. Saudi Arabia are one of the weakest team in the cup and they should surrender to Russia in the first game, but Egypt have enough in order to qualify as 2nd instead of Russia.
BEST BET: Eliminated in the Group stage @ 2.75. MOST PROBABLE STAGE OF ELIMINATION: Group Stage: 2.75; R16: 2.62
(To win: 251; To win group: 7.50; To qualify: 2.62; Rock Bottom: 4.35)
Egypt are at their 3rd World Cup after qualifying in 1930 and 1990. In the quali they won the group E above Uganda, Ghana and Congo with a 4-1-1 record and scoring 8 goals and conceding 4. They lost both the friendlies played in March against Portugal (2-1) and Greece (1-0). Salah, who scored 5 of the 8 goals in the quali, is a big doubt for them to play after the injury suffered in the final of the UCL. Egypt have still a chance to qualify in this group even without him, as Russia have not convinced heading to the tournament. Even without Salah in the first two games they have a good chance to advance as 2nd as Russia appear to be in bad form. BEST BET: To qualify from the group @ 2.62. MOST PROBABLE STAGE OF ELIMINATION: Group Stage: 1.44; R16: 3.25
?? SAUDI ARABIA
(To win: 2001; To win group: 41.00; To qualify: 9.00; Rock Bottom: 1.40)
Saudi Arabia have qualified for their 5th World Cup. They qualified as 2nd in their Group just 1 point behind Japan with a record of 6 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses in 10 games, and 17 goals scored and 10 conceded. Since the quali they lost quite a few friendlies (Ghana, Portugal, Bulgaria, Oman, Iraq, Belgium, Italy), but they have also won 6 of them (most notably against Algeria and Greece). This is one of the weakest side in the tournament, but they still can make a result against both Russia and Egypt. They will probably be more solid than what a lot of people think. BEST BET: Rock bottom @ 1.40. MOST PROBABLE STAGE OF ELIMINATION: Group Stage: 1.08