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World Cup 2018 Group A Predictions & Tips

Who will win Group A? Which nations will make it through to the knockout stage? Our experts share their tips and predictions.

Group A World Cup Standings

Here's the group standings for Group A at the World Cup. It will be updated after every fixture. 
Saudi Arabia00
Egypt 00

Group A World Cup 2018 Teams


What lies ahead for the hosts at this summer’s World Cup remains to be seen, after a number of erratic results and performances from Stanislav Cherchesov’s team over recent years. 

Given that they haven’t played any competitive football since being eliminated from Euro 2016 at the group stages, it’s difficult to truly measure the progress of this side, who do have a number of talented individuals. Igor Akinfeev, Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Kokorin will be the poster boys of the tournament in Russia and have the greatest responsibility on their shoulders to perform to their very best in time for the competition. 

The team ultimately failed to cover themselves in glory at last summer’s Confederations Cup, being eliminated at the group stages of the customary dress rehearsal after defeats to Portugal and Mexico rendered their opening game victory over New Zealand redundant. 

However, they have tested themselves against top opposition in recent friendlies, facing the likes of Argentina, Spain, Brazil and France. Although they weren’t victorious in any of those games, the lessons they learned from playing against top sides should stand them in good stead moving forward.

Saudi Arabia

Following back-to-back failures to qualify for the World Cup in 2010 and 2014, Saudi Arabia now make their first return to the biggest stage in international football for the first time since 2006. 

Qualifying for every World Cup from 1994-2006, recent Saudi teams have been unable to replicate the achievements of what was a golden era in their football history and even made it to the knockout stages of USA ‘94. 

Managed by former Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who led La Roja to the Copa America, their recent managerial situation has been nothing short of sensational.

Dutchman Bert van Marwijk guided the team to World Cup qualification but - incredibly - left just days after their final qualifying match after failing to agree a new contract, with Croatian Krunoslav Jurcic taking over from him in the meantime.

As such, they remain an even greater unknown quantity than they would have been with van Marwijk in charge. Their key man will be forward Mohammad Al-Sahlawi, who has 28 goals in just 36 caps, while defender Osama Hawsawi and midfielder Taisir Al-Jassim have a combined 258 caps between them.


After going viral on social media, most will now already know about Egypt’s incredible progression to the World Cup finals after a dramatic finish to their qualifying campaign that enabled them to reach their first finals since 1990.

They needed to beat Congo to seal their progress to Russia 2018 and did so thanks to two goals from Mohamed Salah, the second of which being a 94th minute penalty to send the 75,000 capacity crowd into absolute delirium. 

Naturally, given the season he has enjoyed with Liverpool, all eyes will be on Salah when it comes to Egypt games at this summer’s World Cup. With the forward's ability and goal threat taken into account, Egypt will be impossible to disregard as a walkover.

It is arguable that Egypt have the best individual player in Group A in Salah and they will take great confidence from that fact. 

Egypt progressed through their qualifying thanks mainly to their incredible home form, winning all four of their home games and drawing one away from home to end their 28-year wait for an appearance in this competition.


Coming into Group A with the most pedigree by some distance, Uruguay are heavy favourites to make it out of Group A, thanks in part to having a fearsome strike force. 

They boast two of the top centre forwards currently playing in Europe in their side in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, who have a combined 92 goals in 197 caps for their country, as well as a defensive stalwart in Diego Godin. 

Finishing fourth in 2010, the two-time World Cup winners will be hoping for better fortunes than what greeted them in 2014 where they were knocked out at the round of 16 by Colombia. 

After a strong qualification campaign in which they finished second in South American qualifying, they will be confident that they will be able to compete and reach the latter stages of the competition. 

They have undoubtedly benefited from the continuity of having the same coach since 2006 in Oscar Tabarez, who could well be set to lead the team to his final World Cup, having recently turned 71.

Group A Fixtures

Thursday 14th June - 16:00 BST
Russia v Saudi Arabia
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Friday 15th June - 13:00 BST
Egypt v Uruguay
Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg

Tuesday 19th June - 19:00 BST
Russia v Egypt
Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg

Wednesday 20th June - 16:00 BST
Uruguay v Saudi Arabia
Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don

Monday 25th June - 15:00 BST
Saudi Arabia v Egypt
Volgograd Arena, Volgograd

Monday 25th June - 15:00 BST
Uruguay v Russia
Samara Arena, Samara

Group A Predictions & Betting Tips - World Cup 2018

Group A - Winner Tip

Given the star quality in their side and the fact that it is often the sides with the best players who prevail at this stage of the tournament, Uruguay are naturally the favourites to progress amongst a group they will have been delighted to have been drawn in.

Both Suarez and Cavani will be licking their lips at the prospect of playing against defences without star names across the board and will be targeting these early games as confidence builders for the latter stages. This Uruguay team is also the most experienced at this level of international football of all the teams in Group A and that cannot be underestimated when it comes to determining who will progress.

Group A and that cannot be underestimated when it comes to determining who will progress. Starting off with Egypt, before then facing Saudi Arabia in their second game, the South Americans will be targeting six points from their first two fixtures - a return that would likely see them qualify for the last 16 with a game to spare. 

Group A - Runner-Up Tip

The battle to finish as runners-up looks to likely be a two-horse race between both Russia and Egypt and the former has the edge due to their position as World Cup hosts.

Russia open against Saudi Arabia on June 14 when the competition begins and will see that as a must-win game, before then facing Egypt five days later in what could be the most crucial fixture in Group A. 

Had they not had home advantage on their side it truly would be a 50/50 contest, but the home support they receive in Saint Petersburg could just be enough to inspire them to success. 

Whether or not they have the quality to beat Uruguay remains to be seen, but Russia will fancy their chances of coming out of Group A and there will be internal expectancy on them to do so.

Group A - To Finish Bottom Tip

In truth, Saudi Arabia’s preparation for the World Cup has been nothing short of a complete and utter shambles, having had three managers since their final qualifying game, with Dutchman Bert van Marwijk leaving shortly after they sealed their place in Russia this summer. 

The job has now been entrusted with Juan Antonio Pizzi and it’s incredibly difficult to see how a team will be able to adapt to a new coach’s style of play and methods in such a short space of time and deliver upon it efficiently in such a short space of time - particularly when they team has no world-class players to call upon. 

Their greatest moment in this competition may well come from playing in the opening fixture of the tournament and they will have no pressure on their shoulders - something they will look to use to their advantage.

Group A World Cup 2018 - Final Standings Prediction

1stUruguayBack This Prediction
2ndRussiaBack This Prediction
3rdEgyptBack This Prediction
4thSaudi ArabiaBack This Prediction

World Cup Group A Betting Tips | #TeamFT Predictions

Sam Long

Uruguay are clear favourites to win Group A for a reason; they're far and away the best team.

Odds of 11/10 may not secure a sizeable return but they are almost certain of securing you a return.

Óscar Tabárez's side finished second in South America qualifying and boast plenty of precisely what their group rivals lack; tournament experience.

Luis Suarez and co have proven to be a force on the world stage and will have too much for poor Russia and Saudi Arabia sides.

An opening clash with Egypt will be crucial but La Celeste's nous on the big occasion should see them come out on top.

Jon Wilde

It's difficult to imagine that hosts Russia will make an early exit - goodness knows how much pressure the referees will be under - but if everything is on a level playing field, Egypt could well be capable of taking their scalp.

The Russian team looks frankly no great shakes, whereas Egypt have Liverpool's Salah and exciting Turkish-based prospect Trezeguet to create and score goals, and the Pharoahs may just give Uruguay something to think about as well.

Phil Lowe

Uruguay are big odds-on favourites with bookmakers at the time of writing to top Group A, with Russia next in the betting.

In the ‘To Qualify’ market, Russia are too short for me (around 4/11) and Egypt offer better value to progress.

Granted, a lot rests on Salah as The Pharaohs prepare for their first World Cup since 1990, but if he can replicate his club form from this season, and if the likes of Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny also impress, then Egypt can make it to the last-16 at the expense of the hosts.

Vedran Ostojic

The World Cup is getting nearer by the day and many value seekers have already started laying money on the best early odds, with some thrilling contests expected very early

Hosts Russia have high hopes, sharing the group with favourites Uruguay as well as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. However, Hector Cuper's men will be hopeful they can ruin the party.

I'll thus stick my neck out for the in-form Pharaohs to qualify at 6/4 with Betfair, which does seem the best value in the market at this point..

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