Road to the World Cup
The 2018 World Cup is slated to begin on the 14th of June, however, attention to the tournament is already heating up with bookmakers and betting sites. Predictions are already becoming a focus with top teams like Australia, Germany, Brazil and France gaining attention.
As we gear up for the World Cup, BettingTop10 is focused on providing you accurate, up-to-date information about the teams, the players, statistics and any pertinent information that will help give you an sports betting edge when it comes to the World Cup.
This is an overview of the paths that different teams took on their way to the world cup. We are going to fill you in on the various matches that were played and the players who stood out during these games. Thirty-two teams have qualified for the world cup, and we’ve put together a qualifications sum up for you, what was involved in the process and what you can expect from these teams when they do meet in Russia.
Favoured World Cup 2018 Teams
Australia has qualified for the World Cup after beating Honduras 3-1 while playing in Sydney. All three goals were scored by the Australian skipper Mile Jedinak, whose hat-trick sealed the deal and made Australia the 31st team to qualify for the World Cup. Some controversy marred the Honduras-Australia match as the Honduran team made allegations that the Australians were spying on them with a drone.
The Australian team’s journey to the world cup wasn’t always smooth sailing, as the Australia Socceroos faced close matches with Syria where they won 2-1 and Kyrgyzstan, where they also won 2-1. Both goals in the Syrian match were scored by headers from veteran player Tim Cahill. Cahill has scored an incredible fifty goals on behalf of Australia over the years and has also landed an equally impressive eleven goals in this qualifying series.
The Australian team will be getting a new coach for the World Cup, following Ange Postecoglou’s resignation which took effect after Australia had finally qualified. So far the name of the new coach has not been announced.
The Australian Socceroos will have a bit of an uphill battle in front of them during this world cup series but don’t count them out just yet. They faced a disastrous draw in 2014 in Brazil being pitted against Spain, Netherlands and Chile, three very strong teams. In the end, the Socceroos went down 0-3. A lot is going to depend on the draw and because of the way the pot system is set up there is a strong chance they will end up with more tough matches this year.
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Germany qualified for the world cup by getting through UEFA Group C. During their first round of play they beat Norway 3-0, the Czech Republic 3-0, Northern Ireland 2-0, San Marino 8-0 and Azerbaijan 4-1. In the following matches they won against San Marino 7-0, Czech Republic 2-1, Norway 6-0, Northern Ireland 3-1 and Azerbaijan 5-1. Amazingly they did not lose a single match in ten games.
Top goal scorers for the German team were Thomas Muller and Sandro Wagner, who both scored five goals. Given the incredible performance put on by Germany in qualifying for the World Cup, we can expect big things from them in Russia.
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Brazil played off against other Latin American countries for their spot in the world cup and managed to win their group in a fairly strong fashion with a total of twelve wins, five draws, and only one loss. They started off in fairly rocky fashion losing 2-0 against Chile but managed to recover and win 3-1 against Venezuela, tie 1-1 against Argentina, Win 3-0 against Peru and tie Uruguay 2-2.
They also tied Paraguay 2-2, beat Ecuador 3-0, narrowly defeated Colombia 2-1, and managed a convincing 5-0 victory against Bolivia. They then went on to defeat Venezuela again 2-0, crushed Argentina 3-0, won against Peru 2-0 and managed a 4-1 defeat of Uruguay and a 3-0 defeat of Paraguay. They also beat Ecuador 2-0 and then tied with Colombia.
Top goal scorers on the Brazilian team were Gabriel Jesus who got seven goals as well as Neymar and Paulinho who each made six goals throughout the qualification series. Given how Brazil managed to dominate an incredibly competitive South and Central American field you should expect them to be extremely competitive during the World Cup in Russia.
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France qualified for the world cup through UEFA group A. They won their group easily with a total of seven wins, two draws, and one loss and got to skip the playoffs. They started off with a 0-0 draw against Belarus, then had a strong 4-1 victory against Bulgaria and managed to eek out a 1-0 win against The Netherlands. They also won 2-1 against Sweden and 3-1 against Luxembourg.
Following those matches they went on to win 2-1 against Sweden, 4-0 against The Netherlands had a 0-0 tie with Luxembourg and won 1-0 against Bulgaria. Then in their final match, they also won 2-1 against Belarus. The top goal scorers for the French team were Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann, who both got four goals each.
France should be expected to do pretty well at the world cup, as they did manage to win their group with ease. They have qualified for fifteen world cups and are currently ranked 9th in FIFA. By Elo ranking, they are 5th in the world down from 4th last year.
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Spain qualified for the world cup in UEFA Group G with a commanding record of nine wins, one draw and no losses. Highlights of this qualifying series included an 8-0 victory over Liechtenstein and winning 4-0 against Macedonia. The Italian team had the honour of claiming the only draw against Spain during this qualification series with a 1-1 tie when they played in Turin, Italy.
The top four goal scorers for Spain, who each managed to get four goals during the qualification games, were Diego Costa, Isco, Alvaro Morata and David Silva. Spain had to beat Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, and Liechtenstein to earn their place at the world cup.
Overall we should expect Spain to have a fairly good showing at the world cup. They are presently ranked 6th according to FIFA and have been rising lately, and by Elo ranking, they are third in the world. While there are plenty of other tough teams, it would not be a surprise if Span did manage to win the whole tournament, as they did in 2010 in South Africa.
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Argentina qualified for the World Cup through the CONMEBOL qualifier. Like Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia they qualified directly to the World Cup and ended up third in their division with a record of seven wins, seven draws, and four losses. These results confounded expectations as Argentina was rated #1 in the world by FIFA prior to the start of the World Cup qualifiers and it was expected they would have an easier time getting to the World Cup. Argentina lost to Ecuador 0-2, Colombia 0-1, Paraguay 0-1 and Brazil 0-3. Other notable games were a 1-1 draw with the very strong Brazilian team, a commanding 2-0 victory against Bolivia and a decisive 3-0 victory against Colombia.
The top goal scorer for Argentina during the World Cup qualification rounds was Lionel Messi. Lionel Messi is considered by many to be the best player in the world and among the greatest football players of all time. Despite a not so smooth qualification for the world cup, Argentina is still expected to shine in Russia, and some consideration must be given to the general toughness of the Latin American field.
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Belgium was part of UEFA Group H and finished first in their group beating Greece, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Estonia, Cyprus, and Gibraltar. Their top standing allowed them to advance immediately into the World Cup.
Belgium had a dominating showing in their qualifying matches, winning nine games and taking only one draw with no losses. They drew 1-1 against the team which finished second in their group, Greece. Their nine wins included a 9-0 routing of Gibraltar and an 8-1 victory over Estonia as well as a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Greece. Belgium is rated 5th in the world according to the FIFA rankings and 9th by their Elo ranking. They should expect to be pretty competitive in Russia when they do compete in the world cup.
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England took on Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, and Malta in UEFA Group F and finished first in their group. They ended up with an impressive eight wins, two draws and zero losses. They tied Slovenia 0-0 and Scotland 2-2. England also had a narrow 1-0 victory against Slovakia and a 3-0 victory over Scotland.
The English team is one of the oldest national football teams in the world dating back to their formation in 1872 when they took on Scotland in a match. The top English goal scorer during the World Cup Qualifications was Harry Kane who managed to get five goals.
The English team has their work cut out for them at the World Cup next summer in Russia. Despite making it through their group with ease, they will face a very tough field, and it has been over fifty years since they last claimed this title. Presently ranked 15th in the world according to FIFA and with a seventh-place Elo ranking, we can’t say that England doesn’t have a chance, but they are definitely an underdog. But still, you never know, upsets do happen, and it would be an incredible victory.
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Portugal qualified for the World Cup by participating in UEFA Group B playing against Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, and Andorra. They finished first in their group with an impressive record of nine wins and one loss. Their only loss was a 0-2 defeat to Switzerland, the team that finished second in their group. Portugal managed to trounce both Andorra and Faroe Islands 6-0 and has strong showings against Hungary 3-0 and Switzerland 2-0.
The top scorer for Portugal was legendary all-star Cristiano Ronaldo who got fifteen goals in total. Ronaldo is definitely one of the best if not the best player in the world at the moment. There are high expectations surrounding Portugal at the world cup, and they have a decent chance at winning the tournament outright. Their current FIFA ranking is 3rd in the world, and their Elo ranking is 4th in the world.
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Other World Cup 2018 Teams
Poland managed to earn a spot in the World Cup by taking the top spot in UEFA Group E, where they bested Denmark, Montenegro, Romania, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. They had a strong showing with a record of 8 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss. The draw was with Kazakhstan, who finished last in the group and did not get any wins.
Poland’s games included a tightly contested 3-2 victory over Denmark and a 3-0 win against Romania. Poland’s top scorer was Robert Lewandowski who got a total of sixteen goals during the qualification games.
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Switzerland finished second in UEFA Group B behind Portugal. They did not immediately win a spot in the World Cup but instead advanced to the playoffs where they managed to win a spot alongside Croatia, Denmark, and Sweden. Greece, Italy, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland did not advance to the World Cup.
Switzerland had a very strong showing in their group stage, finishing with a record of 9 wins and 1 loss. These games included a 2-0 victory over the very strong Portuguese team as well as a 0-2 loss to Portugal later on. Notable games during the qualifying round were a high scoring 5-2 game vs Hungary and a decisive 3-0 victory against Latvia.
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It has been thirty-six years since Peru last had a shot at the World Cup, but they will be playing in Russia after qualifying for the playoff rounds and advancing after they beat New Zealand.
Peru had a rocky 7 wins 5 draws and 6 losses during the qualifying CONMEBOL group stage. Notable games were a 0-2 loss to Colombia, a narrow 1-0 victory over Paraguay, a 0-3 defeat to the very strong Brazilian team and a 2-2 tie with Venezuela.
The World Cup will be an uphill battle indeed for the Peruvian team which is ranked 11th in terms of FIFA rankings and 12th according to their Elo Ranking. Their top scorers were Edison Flores and Paolo Guerrero who each got five goals during the qualifying group stage.
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Denmark participated in UEFA Group E. They did not win a spot directly but instead advanced to the playoffs by finishing second behind Poland. Their record was 6 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses. Notable games were a 1-0 victory by Denmark over Armenia, a closely contested 2-3 loss to Poland and a strong 4-1 win over Kazakhstan. Denmark’s top scorer was Christian Eriksen who got an impressive eight goals through all of the matches. During the playoffs, Denmark won easily with a 5-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland.
Denmark is not one of the top teams in the World Cup, and have a FIFA ranking of 12th and an Elo ranking of 19th. Despite not being favourites to win the tournament, anything is possible, and upsets do happen.
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Colombia was one of four teams that qualified directly for the World Cup in the CONMEBOL group. They came in fourth with a record of seven wins, six draws and five losses. Notable games from this series include a 0-3 loss to Uruguay, a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Argentina and 2-0 victory over Venezuela. Colombia also lost 1-2 to Paraguay, had a close 1-1 tie with the very strong Brazilian team and tied 0-0 with Venezuela. Colombia’s top scorer during the qualification rounds was James Rodriguez.
The Colombian team is an underdog to take home the World Cup title. However, Colombia did have a strong showing in 2014, advancing to the quarterfinals before eventually being eliminated. Colombia is presently ranked 13th by FIFA and has an Elo rating of 8th.
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Mexico qualified for the World Cup in Russia by finishing in the top three of their division. They actually won the division outright with a score six wins, three draws, and only one loss. Mexico got a bye until the fourth round because they were so highly ranked. For the first three games, they tied Honduras 0-0, beat Canada 2-0 and won against El Salvador 3-0.
In the last three games, they beat Honduras 2-0, won against Canada 3-0 and were victorious against El Salvador 3-1. In the fifth round, they were in dominant form as well, losing only one match against Honduras although they did end up with three draws. Mexico is expected to have a tough go of things in the World Cup. They are presently ranked 16th by FIFA and 17th by their Elo ranking.
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Croatia qualified for the World Cup by coming second in the UEFA Group I and then winning a playoff match against Greece 4-1. In UEFA Group I they had a record of six wins and two draws and two losses. They drew with Turkey and Finland 1-1 and lost to Turkey and Iceland 1-0. Notable games were a 6-0 victory against Kosovo and a tight 1-0 win against Ukraine.
Croatia’s top scorer was Mario Mandžukić who managed to get five goals during the UEFA Group I qualifying stage. Croatia is definitely one of the underdog teams that is unlikely to win the World Cup. They have a FIFA ranking of 17th, and according to their ELO, they are in 16th place.
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Sweden qualified to the World Cup by coming in second in the UEFA Group A after France and then winning a close playoff match against Italy. They played France, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, and Belarus. Overall they had a decent showing going with six wins, one draw and three losses, including a dominating 8-0 victory against Luxembourg and a tightly contested 3-2 loss against Bulgaria.
Sweden’s top goal scorer during the group stage was Marcus Berg who led the group by getting eight goals. Sweden is ranked 20th by FIFA and 18th according to their Elo rating. They are a long shot to win the World Cup in Russia next summer.
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Uruguay qualified for the world cup by coming in second place in the competitive CONMEBOL latin America group. They had a final score of nine wins, four draws, and five losses. These games included a 2-0 victory over Bolivia, a 3-0 win against Colombia, and a close 2-1 loss to Ecuador.
Uruguay’s star player Edinson Cavani scored ten goals during the group stage. Uruguay is a significant underdog to win the World Cup in Russia outright, but they may be able to go deep into the tournament if they continue to play as well as they did during the qualifying round. They are presently ranked 21st in the world by FIFA and 13th based on their Elo rating.
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Iceland qualified for the world cup by winning the UEFA Group I outright. Their overall record was an impressive seven wins, one draw, and two losses. They played Croatia, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland, and Kosovo They lost to Croatia 2-0 and Finland 1-0 but had a commanding 2-0 win against Turkey and a 2-0 win against Kosovo.
Iceland’s lead goal scorer was Gylfi Sigurðsson who got four goals. It would be a major upset if Iceland were to win the World Cup in Russia. They are presently ranked 22nd by FIFA and 21st based on their Elo ranking.
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Senegal is making their second ever appearance in the World Cup in Russia. They ended up winning group D of the CAF third round with a record of four wins, two draws, and no losses. They drew against Burkina Faso two times, with 0-0 and 2-2 scores. Notable wins were a 2-1 victory against South Africa, who finished last in the group, and a 2-0 win against Cape Verde.
Initially, South Africa had secured a 2-1 win against Senegal, but referee Joseph Lamptey decision was overturned was he received a life-time ban for wrongfully awarding a penalty. As a result of this malfeasance, the match was replayed leading to the 2-1 victory. Senegal is not very likely to win the World Cup. They are ranked presently 23rd in the world by FIFA and 24th according to their Elo ranking.
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Costa Rica had a strong showing in 2014 in Brazil, making the quarter-finals, and they are back again in 2018 in Russia. They had a bye until the fourth round, at which point they won group B with a 5 win, 1 draw, 0 loss record. Notable games from round 4 were a 3-1 victory over Panama and a 3-0 victory against Jamaica.
In the fifth round, Costa Rica finished second, getting four wins, four draws, and two losses. Notable games were a 4-0 victory against the US of A and a 2-1 loss to Panama. Costa Rica has an uphill battle ahead of them at the World Cup. They are ranked 22nd by FIFA and 30th according to their Elo ranking.
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Tunisia won the World Cup in 1978, and now they are going to be looking to repeat in Russia next year. They won Group A in the CAF Third Round and in doing so qualified for the World Cup. Their group included DR Congo, Libya, and Guinea. Notable games from this group were a 2-1 victory over DR Congo, a 0-0 tie with Libya and a 2-0 win against Guinea. Their overall record in this group was 4 wins, 2 draws and 0 losses.
When Tunisia won the World Cup in 1978, they made history by being the first African team to ever win a World Cup. It is unlikely they will be able to repeat that miraculous performance. Their present FIFA ranking is 27th, and their Elo ranking has them at 52nd.
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It has been a while since Egypt played in the World Cup, but the Pharaohs are back and ready to rumble. Egypt faced Uganda, Ghana, and Congo in Group E and won handily with a record of four wins, one draw and one loss. Their only loss was a 1-0 defeat against Uganda. Other noteworthy games were a 2-0 victory over Ghana and a 2-1 win against Congo.
Egypt last played in the World Cup in Italy in 1990. Egypt is unlikely to win the world cup. They are presently ranked 31st by FIFA and 48th according to their ELO rating. Still, they made it in, and that is saying something.
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Iran has qualified to play the World Cup in Russia in 2018. Iran played in the AFC Third Round and won group A with six wins, four draws, and no losses. They drew against Syria 2-2, South Korea 0-0, Syria 0-0, and The People’s Republic of China 0-0. Iran defeated Uzbekistan 2-0 and narrowly nudged past Qatar 1-0. Because they finished in the top two of their group, along with South Korea, Iran qualified directly for the world cup.
Iran’s lead scorer was Sardar Azmoun who got four goals through the qualifying stage. Iran is not one of the favourites to win the World Cup. Their FIFA ranking is 32nd, and their Elo Ranking is 21st.
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Serbia qualified to compete in Russia in 2018 by winning UEFA Group D with a solid six wins, three draws, and one loss. Their only loss was against Austria who managed to defeat them 3-2. Other notable games were a 2-2 tie with the Republic of Ireland and a 3-0 victory over Moldova. Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrović led the team with six goals.
Serbia is not one of the favourites to win the World Cup. Their FIFA ranking is 37th, and their Elo ranking is 23rd. While Serbia was unable to secure a spot in the 2014 World Cup, they did qualify in 2010 and 2006.
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Morocco qualified for the 2018 World Cup held in Russia by winning Group C of the CAF Third Round. They ended up with a final score three wins, three draws, and no losses while playing against The Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Mali. Notable games were a 3-0 victory against Gabon and a 6-0 win against Mali. Both Gabon and Mali did manage to draw Morocco in subsequent games. Morocco also beat The Ivory Coast 2-0.
Morocco’s lead scorer was Khalid Boutaïb who managed to get five goals during the qualifying rounds. The team is considered a dark horse with a FIFA ranking of 40th and an ELO ranking of 44th.
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Nigeria qualified for the World Cup in Russia by winning group B against Zambia, Cameroon, and Algeria. Their overall record was 4 wins, 2 draws and 0 losses. Notable games were a 4-0 win against Cameroon and a 3-1 win against Algeria. Nigeria also tied Cameroon 1-1 and Algeria 1-1. They defeated Zambia 2-1 and 1-0. Nigeria’s top goal scorer was Victor Moses.
Nigeria is presently ranked 50th by FIFA and 41st by their Elo ranking. They have qualified for every World Cup since 1994 but have had dismal performances at all of them. They are not expected to do well in the 2018 World Cup in Russia either.
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