World Cup 2018 in Russia is fast approaching with now less than 100 days to the first game on June 14th. The Finals are always full of surprises. Some are heart-warming, like Costa Rica’s run to the quarter-finals in 2014. Others are downright shocking, such as Germany’s 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the Maracanã.
Below are five bold predictions for this year’s World Cup, with the latest odds (where available) provided for each to happen:
England Lose to Germany in the Quarter Final:
For this to happen, a number of things will have to happen: Germany win Group F (likely). England finish as runners up behind Belgium in Group G (likely). Then they most both win their Last 16 games. A run to the quarter final would likely be seen as good result for England but, if they face Germany, their tournament will likely end there.
Corresponding Bet = England Stage of Eliminations, Quarter Final, 11/5 Bet365
Egypt Win Group A:
The bookies favour Russia and Uruguay to get through Group A, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt there to make up the numbers. The latter will not be pushed over so easily though. The Egyptian side is peppered with good young players like Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Arsenal’s Mohamed El Neny and, in Héctor Cúper, they have a very experienced manager. Russia could struggle with the pressure as hosts and Uruguay aren’t just as potent as a few years ago. The door is open.
Corresponding Bet = Egypt Win Group A, 6/1 William Hill
The three best players in world football will obviously have high ambitions for Russia 2018. However, there are some things to consider before backing any of them (they are all priced around 10/1) to be top scorer at the Finals. Argentina have really struggled over the last few years, whereas Portugal could also have issues (see below). Neymar has just had an operation on his metatarsal, which is always a tricky recovery. If he is rushed back, the Finals could be a disaster. Picking a top scorer can be tough, but the odds are rewarding, so check out recommended free bet offers for UK punters to cover your losses.
Corresponding Bet = Romelu Lukaku to top scorer, 25/1 Betfair
The European Champions go home early:
On paper, Portugal look to have a manageable Group B with Spain, Morocco and Iran. However, this will not be as easy as it looks. They open their tournament with a game against Spain and will face a very tough Morocco side next. The way the fixtures are scheduled could mean the final round of games will see Spain playing Morocco in a match where a draw would suit both sides. Portugal were not tested in an easy qualifying group. They will need to hit the ground running here.
Corresponding Bet = Morocco to qualify from Group B, 9/2 Bet365
Belgium win the World Cup:
Germany and Brazil have been made favourites for the World Cup at a price of around 5/1. However, the real value may lie in backing Belgium at 12/1. They have some of the form players in world football at the moment, with their golden generation of Hazard, De Bruyne, Mertens, Lukaku and others all reaching the peak of their careers. A defence made up of Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany (if fit) and Toby Alderweireld is one of the best tournament. This could be their time.
Corresponding Bet = Belgium to win the World Cup, 12/1 (various).