Complete Guide to World Cup 2018: Every group previewed as Russia's tournament gets underway

Complete Guide to World Cup 2018: Every group previewed as Russia's tournament gets underway

We've gone in-depth on every side as we build up to what could be a memorable summer of football.

OliverEmmerson
Oliver Emmerson

All the talking is about to stop as all the football gets underway. Months of build-up, weeks of tension and even a sacking the day before the tournament, Russia 2018 is ready to rumble.

Here, we flash through all the groups - who we've interviewed specially ahead of the tournament - in a bid to see who's most likely to come out on top.

Group A 

Teams: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, Egypt.

Potentially the worst group in terms of quality, but high on intrigue as we look to see whether or not Russia can cope with the pressures of being hosts. They'll look to start with a win against minnows Saudi Arabia on Thursday, but do face the backlash of being the lowest ranked team in the competition.

Uruguay, powered by frontmen Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, are overwhelming favourites to top the group, whilst Egypt's hopes will rest largely on the partly-injured shoulders of Mohamed Salah.

You can find our in-depth Group A preview, here.

 

Group B

Teams: Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Iran.

Pretty straightforward by the looks of things here, at least it was until Spain controversially sacked their manager on the eve of the tournament. Still, you'd expect them to go through - although European Championship holders Portugal may now fancy their chances of making it through as group winners a little more.

Of Morocco and Iran the former are more likely to cause a shock, but most expect those two to merely battle it out for third place. 

You can find our in-depth Group B preview, here

Group C

Teams: France, Denmark, Peru, Australia.

A wide-open group here, even if it doesn't appear that way. France are overwhelming favourites but seem to be struggling to get argably the most talented midfield in the world to click as a unit. Denmark, backed by star man Christian Eriksen, have been heralded as most likely to go through in second - although some think they can do even better than that. 

Peru could be a darkhourse, some superb team goals from them have been doing the rounds on the internet recently, leaving some to back them for a sneaky run to the knockout's. That all goes without mentioning Australia, not short of quality themselves as they look to repeat their most impressive World Cup performance, a last 16 spot in 2006.

You can find our in-depth Group C preview, here

 

Group D

Teams: Argentina, Nigeria, Croatia, Iceland.

Will this finally be the World Cup for Lionel Messi? Having carried Argentina to the final in 2014 he was denied the prize he craves most by an efficient German team, and he's been thrown into a real group of death this year. 

Croatia's superstar midfield of Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic will stack up well against any midfield, whilst Iceland's fairytale Euro 2016 run hasn't been forgotten as they look to make a good account of themselves in their maiden World Cup campaign. As for Nigeria, they've caught the eye with their kits, can they do the same with their football?

You can find our in-depth Group D preview, here

Group E

Teams: Brazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Serbia.

This one is all about Brazil, really. Having seen their reputation crushed by the savage 7-1 defeat inflicted upon them by Germany in 2014, it's a chacne to salvage some of that this time around. They're favourites for many people, harldy a surprise given they possess the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino going forward.

Second place in the group is likely to be hotly contested, with Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia all hoping they can push themselves into the last 16. Most punters are making Switzerland their tip.

You can find our in-depth Group E preview, here

 

Group F 

Teams: Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Korea.

Speaking of Germany! Can the holders retain their crown? Heads rolled when they announced a Leroy Sane-less 23 man squad, but they're still stacked with the quality that's needed to go deep into the tournament.

South Korea will hope to repeat their 2002 heroics against some beatable opponents in Mexico and Sweden, the latter playing their first World Cup in twelve years without Zlatan Ibrahimvovic

You can find our in-depth Group F preview, here

Group G

Teams: Belgium, England, Panama, Tunisia.

Football is unlikely to be coming home as England go into a major tournament with the lowest level of expectation we've seen in a generation. Gareth Southgate's men seem to be a happy squad, contrasting to previous tournaments, but do lack the quality that we've seen in teams gone by.

Belgium are group favourites, their Matchday Three clash with England likely to determine group winners, whilst Panama and Tunisia will likely be happy to be there.  

You can find our in-depth Group G preview, here

 

Group H

Teams: Senegal, Colombia, Japan, Poland.

Who are you fancying from this group? Nobody seems to have a clue. Sadio Mane, Robert Lewandowski and James Rodriguez will all look to light Group H up, the latter hoping to inspire Colombia as he did in 2014. 

Mane is coming off another good season for Liverpool, but it'll be interesting to see if he can shake off Champions League final heartbreak to fire Senegal through ahead of a well-drilled Poland side. Japan are the underdogs but you could certainly make a case for them to go through.

You can find our in-depth Group H preview, here.  

VAVEL Logo