IT'S just over three weeks until World Cup 2018 kicks off and I'm starting my run-up by previewing all eight groups.

So let's start with Group A and hosts Russia kick off the tournament with a game against the lowest-ranked side to make the finals in Saudi Arabia.

With Egypt and Uruguay making up the section this is a must-win game for the Russians and the pressure will be on to make a perfect start. And there have been famous occasions when the hosts have slipped in their openers.

Russia are 1-3 at Unibet to start with three points but this is no gimme. Russia have failed miserably in recent finals – going out in the groups at the 2014 World Cup with just two points and their only point at Euro 2016 came against England.

CSKA Moscow's Alan Dzagoev is their key man while Aleksandr Kokorin and Yuri Zhirkov will be looking to shine on home soil but this a team without too many stars.

In Saudi Arabia they face a side with none though and almost all of their players are performing in their home league. The Saudis finished second in qualifying – ahead of Australia – and will put up a good fight.

Russia are 12-5 at William Hill not to qualify and it's a bet I'm interested in with their match against Egypt the key one. Many will see Egypt as one-man team thanks to Mo Salah after a devastating season with Liverpool.

Salah netted five times in qualifying and he'll need to score a few goals if Egypt are to progress and they have every chance although they've never won a game at the finals. Apart from Salah their best known players are Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny and Stoke's Ramadan Sobhi.

Egypt open against Uruguay and it will be interesting to see how they perform on the biggest of stages. The South Americans are of course star-studded and could go deep in the tournament if European based Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani take their shooting boots to Russia.

Key game could be Russia v Egypyt on June 19 and the Egyptians look big at 18-5 with BetStars to win with the hosts just over evens.

Recommended Bets

  • Uruguay to win Group A (1-1, McBookie)
  • Saudi Arabia to finish bottom (2-5, McBookie)
  • Uruguay/Egypt straight forecast (6-1, Unibet)
  1. williegee 1 year ago

    Hi Mr F, Glad to see your write-up on group A pretty much echo’s my own thoughts on the group. According to your reckoning you feel the group should finish Uruguay,Egypt,Russia and Saudi Arabia which is what I have taken at Skybet @ 13/2. Look forward to your previews of the remaining groups, especially groups F and C, as I also have interest in them.

    • elvis parsley 1 year ago

      I backed Egypt to beat uruguay at 4-1 a while back.
      I also backed uruguay and Egypt to qualify at 7-2 which is still available, sky bet call it dual forecast and is 3-1 there.
      This is better value than the evens straight forecast if you fancy uruguay and Egypt to qualify.

      Russia will fear failure and will be nervous and they have no stars, their defenders are older than Mr f, and Egypt are a solid enough team and have salah.

    • Mr Fixit 1 year ago

      Their defenders may be older but are they slower! 7-2 for the dual forecast is good but I don’t be with Sky Bet. I’ll look at other firms and see what they have.

    • elvis parsley 1 year ago

      Uruguay and Egypt straight forecast is about 6-1 Mr fixit !.
      Thought the evens you quoted above looked skinny.

    • geo 1 year ago

      I agree, Mrfixit’s misread the odds because it’s not possible that will be only 1/1.

    • Mr Fixit 1 year ago

      Not a misread just a typo. I fixed it – 6-1 at Unibet.

  2. buzzer 1 year ago

    good write up Egypt could surprise a few and have a great shot at being top African team at 5/2 with williamhill

    • elvis parsley 1 year ago


      If say Egypt and Morocco both go out in round 2 and are the last teams standing.
      Do bookies
      1. Pay out as a winner
      2. Pay dead heat odds like racing.
      3. Keep our money ??

    • Mr Fixit 1 year ago

      2 I’d say.

  3. aarron19888 1 year ago

    paddy power has 8/1 for salah to score 4 or more, lumped 40 on that, that actually might drop depending on what kind of champs league final he has…

  4. craigyboy 1 year ago

    100% agree…Crazy odds for Uruguay and Egypt to go through.

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