World Cup 2018: All 32 Countries – A team-by-team guide

 

32 countries including hosts Russia play-off in June-July for the celebration of football that is World Cup 2018. Five-time World Cup winners Brazil are there, as of course are defending champions Germany, plus Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia and Uruguay.

 

How did they get there? Who will be their star performers? Who are the coaches who masterminded their qualification? What are the betting odds on the different betting sites? Which are the best sports betting sites?

 

We answer all your questions with our definitive country-by-country guide for World Cup 2018.

 

2018 World Cup Group A Winner Odds

GROUP A
 
 
Uruguay
Russia
Egypt
Saudi Arabia
1.91
1.91
2.00
2.10
2.63
2.63
2.37
2.25
6.50
6.50
6.50
6.50
26
26.00
34.00
41.10

 

Uruguay

 

World Ranking: 22

World Cups Won: 2 (1930, 1950)

Star Performers: Luis Suárez (Barcelona) & Federico Valverde (Deportivo La Coruña, on loan from Real Madrid)

Coach: Óscar Tabárez

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $26.00

 

After four consecutive World Cup play-offs they finished second behind Brazil to qualify untroubled in unusual calm. Uruguay now has a big decision to make; Continue to rely on a attacking approach that has served so well or change to a defensive structure. Should qualify for the knockout phase.

 

 

Russia

 

World Ranking: 61

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Igor Akinfeev

Coach: Stanislav Cherchesov

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $34.00

 

The biggest talking point has been the exclusion of Igor Denisov, who is arguably Russia’s best midfielder but has fallen out with manager Cherchesov. Russia’s attack is super-impressive. Alan Dzagoev is going strong and strikers Fyodor Smolov and Aleksandr Kokorin scored many international goals in 2017.

 

 

Egypt

 

World Ranking: 43

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Coach: Héctor Cúper

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $151

 

Great Defense, difficult to break down and superb on the counter, Egypt could surprise. Great value in the betting at 11.00 to make a quarter final.

 

 

Saudi Arabia

 

World Ranking: 64

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Nawaf Al Abed

Coach: Juan Antonio Pizzi replaces new Australia coach, Bert van Marwijk.

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $501.00

 

If you watched the Falcons’ qualifying matches against Australia, you’ll know that despite being the lowest ranked side at the World Cup, there are signs of quality from Saudi Arabia across the park. They won’t win the World Cup, but could be worth the $15 being offered to reach a quarter final.

 

 

2018 World Cup Group B Winner Odds

GROUP B
 
 
Portugal
Spain
Morocco
Iran
2.88
2.88
2.80
3.00
1.53
1.53
1.53
1.50
17.00
17.00
15.00
17.00
21.00
21.00
34.00
34.00

 

Portugal

 

World Ranking: 3

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 

Coach: Fernando Santos

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $21.00

 

Portugal seem stronger now than the side that won Euro 2016, having added creativity to defensive organisation. Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva and namesake André Silva have been important factors in the attacking shift and the team have more depth.

 

 

Spain

 

World Ranking: 6

World Cups Won: 1 (2010)

Star Performer: Isco (Real Madrid

Coach: Fernando Hierro  

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $7.50

 

Spain offer the betting aficionado a great blend of experienced and young players and the essence of the playing squad that made Spain successful in the early 2010s remains intact.

 

 

Morocco

 

World Ranking: 42

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Mehdi Benatia (Juventus)

Coach: Hervé Renard

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $301.00

 

Morocco are a much better side than one quoted at $301 to win the World Cup. That being said, they won’t. Difficult group to progress from. A young team on the rise to watch out for in four years’ time.

 

 

Iran

 

World Ranking: 33

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Sardar Azmoun

Coach: Carlos Queiroz

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $401.00

 

Iran plays a successive World Cup for the first time. Defensively, Iran are rock solid having kept 12 consecutive clean sheets in qualifying. They depend on the counter attack for goals and they may struggle to score against the top sides. Won’t Progress.

 

 

2018 World Cup Group C Winner Odds

GROUP C
 
 
France
Australia
Peru
Denmark
1.30
1.30
1.25
1.33
17.00
17.00
26.00
15.00
10.00
10.00
9.50
11.00
5.50
5.50
5.50
5.50

 

France

 

World Ranking: 9

World Cups Won: 1 (1998)

Star Performer: Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid)

Coach: Didier Deschamps

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $6.50

 

On the way up, France are a young side yet to peak. With endless amounts of first-rate-players to choose from in every position, coach Didier Deschamps faces a headache just trimming down to a 23-man squad. In the last two World Cups played in Europe; 1. A France win 2. A Final place. Strong team that will progress to the second round.

 

 

Australia

 

World Ranking: 36

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Tim Cahill

Coach: Bert van Marwijk replaces long-time coach Ange Postecoglou

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $251

 

Once through to the knockout stages, any side can win the World Cup, so, can Australia progress through to the second round?

 

There is a real chance this time (unlike the Spain, Chile, Holland Group-of-Death in 2014) and with that comes a different Australian attitude at Russia 2018. A draw against France is achievable, meaning the Socceroos should aim for three points against Peru and at least a draw against the Danes.

 

 

Peru

 

World Ranking: 12

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Jefferson Farfán

Coach: Ricardo Gareca

 

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $151

Peru’s high World Ranking of 12 has been inflated by playing a lot at home and rarely travelling. Winning away from their Lima home is rare, as evidenced by the 0-0 draw in qualifying against New Zealand. Will struggle in Russia.

 

 

Denmark

 

World Ranking: 12

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)

Coach: Age Hareide

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $81.00

 

The team that Australia must get a result against. Are they one-dimensional? Christian Eriksen reached star status in qualifying, scoring 11 goals in 12 matches. “The World Cup deserves a star like him,” says coach, Age Hareide. “We will be a danger to all teams because of him.” he added.

 

 

2018 World Cup Group D Winner Odds

GROUP D
 
 
Argentina
Iceland
Croatia
Nigeria
1.57
1.57
1.66
1.61
11.00
11.00
12.00
13.00
3.50
3.50
3.25
3.25
11.00
11.00
8.00
8.00

 

Argentina

 

World Ranking: 4

World Cups Won: 2 (1978, 1986)

Star Performer: Lionel Messi

Coach: Jorge Sampaoli

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $9.00

 

Its now or never for Argentina. The greatest player alive, Lionel Messi, could win the World Cup off his own boot and its thanks to him for the last-gasp goals to qualify. Sergio Agüero is overdue to translate club form into international form. Its a difficult group. Our tip to be first ‘big side’ knocked out.

 

 

Iceland

 

World Ranking: 18

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton)

Coach: Heimir Hallgrimsson

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $28

 

Iceland bring their Viking Clap to Russia. The smallest nation in terms of population to ever qualify for a World Cup will look forward to the travelling support of about 12 percent of their population! Expect full power from Iceland, they are defiant underdogs.

 

 

Croatia

 

World Ranking: 15

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Luka Modric (Real Madrid

Coach: Zlatko Dalic

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $28.00

 

An ageing side, as always caught in a web of internal political divides not unlike the Balkans themselves, makes it difficult even for quality players to focus on the task. The last chance for many of their side before retirement.

 

 

Nigeria

 

World Ranking: 52

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Victor Moses (Chelsea)

Coach: Gernot Rohr

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $251

 

The Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup easily. The victory over Argentina in a recent friendly in Russia fed further hope for success. The German-coached team have a strong defence, with energetic ball-winners in midfield and the experienced calm of Mikel John Obi threading balls to the attack. Not the worst.

 

 

2018 World Cup Group E Winner Odds

GROUP E
 
 
Brazil
Switzerland
Costa Rica
Serbia
1.33
1.33
1.30
1.28
7.50
7.50
6.00
7.00
21.00
21.00
17.00
19.00
8.00
8.00
7.50
9.00

 

Brazil

 

World Ranking: 2

World Cups Won: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)

Star Performer: Neymar (PSG)

Coach: Tite 

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $5.50

 

Brazil are motivated for revenge of their 7-1 thrashing by Germany in 2014. Coach Tite has them gelled as a collective unit and his 4-1-4-1 formation accommodating Neymar on the left, Casemiro in front of the backline and Gabriel Jesus in the centre of attack is genius. Worthy favourites.

 

 

Switzerland

 

World Ranking: 8

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)

Coach: Vladimir Petkovic

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $81.00

 

Vladimir Petkovic’s squad should at least make the last 16. “My team has a got an excellent team spirit and have a tremendous will to succeed,” says Petkovic. Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka is the heart of this team, dictating the flow of the game.

 

 

Costa Rica

 

World Ranking: 25

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid

Coach: Óscar Ramírez

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $251

 

Four years ago, Costa Rica were the darlings on the World Cup, reaching a quarter final. Leading tipsters and betting sites suggest they can’t emulate the feat this time around.

 

 

Serbia

 

World Ranking: 34

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)

Coaches: Caretaker & Mladen Krstajic

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $101.00

 

Internal bickerings between the ageing team, coaching staff and administration will see Serbia knocked out quickly.

 

 

2018 World Cup Group F Winner Odds

GROUP F
 
 
Germany
Mexico
Sweden
South Korea
1.40
1.30
1.40
1.33
1.36
6.00
6.50
6.00
6.00
6.00
7.00
6.50
7.00
6.50
7.00
13.00
17.80
13.00
17.00
17.00

 

Germany

 

World Ranking: 1

World Cups Won: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)

Star Performer: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

Coach: Joachim Löw – the best coach in international football is looking for a second World Cup win.

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $5.50

 

Joachim Löw’s side boasts class and depth across the park and a host of talented youngsters vying for spots in the team. Could suffer from the weight of expectation in a tough group.

 

 

Mexico

 

World Ranking: 17

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (West Ham United)

Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $101.00

 

Mexico regularly beat weaker nations easily but struggle against the very best. As always with Mexico, its difficult to know what to expect, depending on ‘which Mexico’ will turn up. Look elsewhere.

 

 

Sweden

 

World Ranking: 19

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Victor Lindelof (Manchester United)

Coach: Janne Andersson

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $101.00

 

Talented and hard-working, the biggest question regarding Sweden is whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic come out of international retirement for the World Cup, and if so, where will he fit into Andersson’s plans?

 

 

South Korea

 

World Ranking: 58

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)

Coach: Shin Tae-yong

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $301.00

 

With a team lacking world-class talent, South Korea has to depend on two standout players only; Son Heung-min from Tottenham Hotspur and Ki Sung-yueng from Swansea City. They will struggle.

 

 

2018 World Cup Group G Winner Odds

GROUP G
 
 
Belgium
Panama
Tunisia
England
1.80
1.80
1.75
1.83
29.00
29.00
29.00
41.00
15.00
15.00
21.00
15.00
2.25
2.25
2.15
2.20

 

Belgium

 

World Ranking: 5

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Coach: Roberto Martínez

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $10.00

 

Sure, Belgium broke all kinds of goal-scoring records in qualifying, but has Roberto Martinez organised the defence? The classiest teams should find no problems in breaking down Belgium’s defence in the knockout phase.

 

 

Panama

 

World Ranking: 53

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Román Torres

Coach :Hernán Darío Gómez

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $501.00

 

The head coach’s words sum-it-up; “We’ll go to the World Cup to learn and compete. It’s an experience to enjoy,” says Hernán Darío Gómez, who takes his fourth different nation to the World Cup.

 

 

Tunisia

 

World Ranking: 23

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Naïm Sliti 

Coach: Nabil Maâlou

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $401.00

 

Tunisia are a better side than the $401 to win the World Cup being offered by many sports betting sites. The second round may elude them but they may provide an upset or two.

 

 

England

 

World Ranking: 16

World Cups Won: 1 (1966)

Star Performer: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

Coach: Gareth Southgate

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $15.00

 

Gareth Southgate has overseen a period of change that now has England operating with a younger, experimental team in a 3-4-2-1 formation.

 

Have they overcome the elimination by Iceland at Euro 2016? Questions persist, but should cruise into the knockout phase.

 

 

2018 World Cup Group H Winner Odds

GROUP H
 
 
Poland
Senegal
Colombia
Japan
2.75
2.50
2.75
2.62
2.75
5.00
4.05
5.00
5.00
6.00
2.38
2.34
2.38
2.30
2.25
8.00
8.10
8.00
9.50
8.00

 

Poland

 

World Ranking: 7

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Coach: Adam Nawalka

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $41.00

 

If you’re looking for an outsider to win the World Cup, you could do worse than Poland. Any side that has Robert Lewandowski on hand to bang in the goals must be taken seriously.

 

 

Senegal

 

World Ranking: 27

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performers: Diafra Sakho (Rennes), Sadio Mané (Liverpool)

Coach: Aliou Cissé

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $126.00

 

M’Baye Niang of Torino, Keita Baldé of Monaco and Liverpool’s Sadio Mané allows Cissé to play an aggressive 4-3-3, with Sakho sitting just behind the front three. Not the worst side at Russia 2018.

 

 

Colombia

 

World Ranking: 13

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotpsur)

Coach: José Pékerman

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $34.00

 

Colombia are looking to repeat their performance from the 2014 World Cup where they reached the quarter-finals. It will be harder this time around as they are not among the top seeds. Few sides hit on the breakaway as fast as Colombia.

 

 

Japan

 

World Ranking: 55

World Cups Won: 0

Star Performer: Maya Yoshida (Southampton)

Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic

Betting Odds to Win the World Cup: $151.00

 

Japan traditionally play a possession-based-style but experienced new coach Vahid Halilhodzic demands the Blue Samurai play on the counter. The change is not agreed to by many of the players and internal bickerings have not subsided. Could struggle.

 

 



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