2018 FIFA World Cup – Group H Preview

0

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place in Russia starting from June 14th, 2018, so check out our preview for all four national teams who’ll fight in the Group H – Poland, Colombia, Senegal, and Japan, along with the latest odds on BetDSI Sportsbook. The first-round games are set for June 19th, 2018, when Colombia faces Japan at Mordovia Arena in Saransk, while Poland goes on Senegal at Spartak Stadium in Moscow, so here is all you need to know about the Group H at the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

POLAND

The Eagles have reached the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a strong performance in the qualifying round where they’ve recorded eight wins, one draw, and one defeat with a 28:14 goal difference, showing some excellent offensive skills and some defensive weaknesses, as well. A World Cup draw wasn’t favorable to Poland, placing the Eagles in the tough Group H without a clear underdog in the competition, so the odds on Poland to reach the knock-out phase are set at -175.

Poland is a physically strong team with a couple of exceptional players among the squad, including a 29-year old Bayern Munchen’s striker Robert Lewandowski (93 caps, 52 goals) who’s arguably one of the best forwards in the world at the moment. Lewandowski’s pace and strength are remarkable, while he is well-known as a player who managed to score five goals in nine minutes! Alongside Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik (38 caps, 12 goals) will be another huge threat for opponents’ defenders, whilst the box-to-box midfielder Piotr Zielinski (31 caps, 4 goals) should be Poland’s engine in the middle of the park.

The head coach Adam Nawalka is an experienced tactician who prefers a rigid 4-5-1 formation with a couple of wingers to provide a support for Lewandowski in the front, wanting from his boys to play more directly and through the flanks. Likewise, he struggles to assemble the defensive line where Kamil Glik (58 caps, 4 goals) is the only star player, so the bettors can expect to see some goals in Poland’s matches, while the price on Robert Lewandowski to win the Golden Boot is set at +3300.

Manager: Adam Nawalka

Star Player: Robert Lewandowski

One to Watch: Piotr Zielinski

Formation: 4-5-1

Odds: +5000

Prediction: Round of 16

 

COLOMBIA

Los Cafeteros had a terrific World Cup campaign back in 2014 when they reached the Quarter-Finals in a dominant fashion, eventually losing to the hosts Brazil 2-1 in a great battle. This year in Russia, Colombia is set as a +187 favorite to replicate the achievement from the previous World Cup, while the bookmakers favor Colombia at -275 to qualify from the group stage. The core of that 2014 squad is still together, so Los Cafeteros could make some noise at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The Golden Boot winner from Brazil 2014 James Rodriguez (62 caps, 21 goals) will lead this Colombia side, as his vision and creativity are invaluable for Los Cafeteros. Rodriguez had some problems to find the top-form in the last couple of years, and the FIFA World Cup is an excellent place for James to prove his quality. The captain Radamel Falcao (72 caps, 29 goals) is another key member of this team, and his contribution could be a big part of Colombia’s drive to the success. At the back, the young gun Davinson Sanchez (8 caps) will hold the things along with an experienced Cristian Zapata (55 caps, 2 goals).

Colombia is a well-balanced team, quite strong in each line and known for a good chemistry in the squad. They put a lot of pressure on their rivals during a game, mostly playing in a 4-5-1 system with a couple of defensive-minded midfielders, while the full-backs often push forward. Los Cafeteros are strong on the ball, so they can mix short passes with a more direct style of play, depending on the opponent’s’ setup. The bettors can expect to see a tough team who always work hard, but they can also see some goals in Colombia’s matches, particularly against Japan and Senegal.

Manager: Jose Pekerman

Star Player: James Rodriguez

One to Watch: Radamel Falcao

Formation: 4-5-1

Odds: +4000

Prediction: Round of 16

 

SENEGAL

The Lions of Teranga will be a part of the FIFA World Cup for the second time in their history, and hopes are high after a strong performance in the qualifying round where they’ve earned four wins and two stalemates with a 10:3 goal difference, showing some solid offensive potential. However, it will be a tricky job to finish in the top two, so the bookmakers set the market on Senegal to reach the knock-out phase at +125. Avoiding a loss in the opening clash against Poland looks like a must, and the odds on Lions of Teranga to win this game or play a draw are at -150.

Senegal possesses a great front line with Sadio Mane (51 caps, 14 goals) onwards whose creativity provides plenty of scoring opportunities, while Mame Biram Diouf (46 caps, 10 goals) and Moussa Sow (50 caps, 18 goals) both are experienced strikers who can take advantage of their chances. The winger Keita Balde (16 caps, 3 goals) is a gifted player, quite dangerous with the ball on his feet, and he could be a potential star of the upcoming FIFA World Cup, so Senegal has plenty of options in the final third. Their midfield is a hard-working one, but lacks vision for sure, while the defensive line is a critical area where Kalidou Koulibaly (23 caps) will hold the key.

The Lions are a physically dominant team and they will need to use this advantage, especially against Japan where they will have to look for a victory, while in their final game of the group phase against Colombia, the market on both teams to score is at -106. The manager Aliou Cisse prefers both a 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 system, and finding the right balance between the lines in a team will be his main task, so the bettors who like betting on the totals should mark Senegal’s matches.

Manager: Aliou Cisse

Star Player: Sadio Mane

One to Watch: Keita Balde

Formation: 4-3-3 or 4-4-2

Odds: +20000

Prediction: Fails to Reach the Round of 16

 

JAPAN

Japan sacked Vahid Halilhodzic just two months before the 2018 FIFA World Cup due to a controversy about the team’s style of play, as Samurai Blue decided to stick with a traditional fluid passing instead of relying on quick counter-attacks. This will also mean a return of some big names into the national squad such as Keisuke Honda (93 caps, 36 goals), Shinji Kagawa (89 caps, 29 goals), and Shinji Okazaki (111 caps, 50 goals), as all three were omitted by Halilhodzic. However, their current form is pretty questionable, so Japan seems like an enigma in the Group H.

While Keisuke Honda hasn’t found the net for Japan in two years, Shinji Kagawa was struggling with injuries, and his health could be crucial for Samurai Blue, as Kagawa is arguably the most gifted Japanese player. Shinji Okazaki is a pure fox in the box, and his experience should give a boost at the front, but the team’s defense remains the biggest issue. Four years ago in Brazil, Japan was crashed by Colombia 4-1 in the group stage, along with a 2-1 defeat against Ivory Coast and a nil-nil draw with Greece, while this year they have similar opponents in the Group H.

The bookmakers favor Japan to finish bottom of the group, setting the odds at +150, while the price on Japan to reach the second round is set at +200. Samurai Blue will certainly face a tough challenge in Russia, but if they find the right energy, Poland and Senegal both look beatable. Hereof, they shouldn’t be discouraged with eventual blow in the opening game against Colombia, while when Japan is playing, the bettors can expect to see some exciting encounters.

Manager: Akira Nishino

Star Player: Keisuke Honda

One to Watch: Shinji Kagawa

Formation: 4-5-1

Odds: +30000

Prediction: Fails to Reach the Round of 16

GROUP H GAMES

Date HOME AWAY 1 X 2 O/U 2.5 Goals
6/19/2018 Colombia Japan -125 +250 +350 +125/-163
6/19/2018 Poland Senegal +125 +210 +240 +130/-167
6/24/2018 Japan Senegal +220 +200 +137 +125/-163
6/24/2018 Poland Colombia +190 +200 +160 +120/-154
6/28/2018 Japan Poland +350 +250 -125 +107/-138
6/28/2018 Senegal Colombia +275 +240 +100 +120/-154

GROUP FORECAST

1st – Colombia, 2nd – Poland (+350)

1st – Poland, 2nd – Colombia (+400)

1st – Colombia, 2nd – Senegal (+700)

1st – Colombia, 2nd – Japan (+800)

This is one of few tricky groups at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the odds on the group forecast tell a lot, but the bettors can get wage here if they choose wisely. Colombia seems like the strongest side, while Japan looks like the biggest underdog, as it’s still hard to tell who’s closer to the second round between Poland and Senegal. It should be a great battle in all six games, with Colombia and Poland as my first picks to qualify for the Round of 16.