FIFA World Cup 2018: Group A Preview

FIFA World Cup 2018: Group A Preview
By: Sanket Jadhav
Updated: 07 Jun 2018 04:05 PM
Four years after Mario Gotze found the back of the net in the extra-time to power Germany to their 4th World Cup title at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), the world’s biggest sports spectacle has travelled to the other part of the globe with 32 teams set to do the battle in Russia.

The 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup will be missing some of the big nations in the game, but that’s what makes football the greatest sport on the planet. Four-time world champions Italy, 2010 World Cup runners-up Netherlands and USA are among the major absentees.


We have taken a stock of all 32 team participating in the 22nd edition of the World Cup and analyzed their chances of lifting the wondrous golden trophy.

Group A

Uruguay



Anyone who has followed Oscar Tabarez’s style of play in the last 10 years is familiar that his teams are built from the back, making it difficult for the opposition to score and then passing the ball to the versatile duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

Suarez and Cavani, with 197 combined appearance and 92 goals for the ‘La Celeste ‘will look to take the two-time world champions on a deep run. And, will also rely heavily on the devastating defensive Athletico Madrid pair of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. One stars for Barcelona, one for PSG and other two for red-half of Madrid.

Uruguay have a great mixture of youth and experienced players in their squad and topping the group would be key, in order to dream about the final four.

Russia



Being the host of the 2018 edition of the tournament, Russia secured an automatic qualification in football biggest carnival. They are one of the weakest teams ever to host the competition. Russia have not won a single game since October 2017 and have conceded as many as 10 goals in four friendly matches against Brazil, Argentina, France and Spain.

However, they have been pooled up with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who lack experience on a big stage and if they manage to bank upon the support from the home crowd, the hosts might cruise into the round of 16.

Egypt



All eyes will be on Mohamed Salah, but the biggest question is will he play? The 26-year-old suffered a shoulder injury during Liverpool’s Champions League final against Real Madrid and it is estimated that Salah will require at least 3 weeks for him to return to action. But, in that case, he will miss the crucial encounter against Uruguay on June 15.

If he recovers before the estimated time, Egypt will give their opponents a good run for their money. Salah has been phenomenal this season, scoring 44 goals for Liverpool at the club level and singlehandedly guiding ‘The Pharaohs’ to Russia.

The stats will be against them as they have never won a single game in the FIFA World Cup but it shouldn’t take a long to get their first win in the competition. However, things will get difficult after the second round.

Saudi Arabia



Saudi Arabia return to the World Cup after 12-year-hiatus. They last featured in the 2006 edition and have not won a single game since 1990. They have built a squad, mostly, from their domestic league and lack big stage experience. It looks highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia will progress beyond the group stage.

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