Russia May Struggle to Qualify from Group A
Russia will kick off the 2018 World Cup against Saudi Arabia on June 14th but Stanislav Cherchesov’s side look underprepared for the tournament. Their warm-up games haven’t gone to plan and their 1-1 draw with Turkey was just the latest in a long line of disappointing outcomes.
It’s now seven games without a victory for Russia and their fans are understandably concerned. They’ve won just five of their last 26 games in all competitions and they appear devoid of ideas. Fedor Smolov looked isolated throughout the game with Turkey and cut a frustrated figure in the second half.
At the end of May, Russia were defeated 1-0 by Austria and failed to register a single shot on target in 90 minutes. Following stern tests against Brazil and France, they’ve faced two sides who have failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and barely tested the opposition’s defence in either of those games.
Russia have been drawn in Group A alongside Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and despite this easy-looking draw, there are doubts over their ability to qualify for the knock-out round. Uruguay are predicted to sail through to the round of 16 with many pundits expecting the hosts to follow them.
10Bet have priced Uruguay at 4/5 to win Group A whilst Russia can be backed at 8/5. After watching their recent performances, many punters may also be tempted by the 9/4 on offer for Russia not to qualify for the knock-out round. 888Sport are offering 11/1 on Russia to finish bottom of Group A.
Russia’s last victory was against the Korea Republic in October 2017.
Serbia Suffer a Set-back Against Chile
Serbia were hoping to head into the 2018 World Cup with a victory but Mladen Krstajic’s men were defeated by Chile on May 4th. Guillermo Maripan netted the only goal of the game to steal a 1-0 victory in Graz.
Serbia have been drawn in Group E alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica and will be hoping to qualify for the round of 16. They’ve been priced at 11/10 with 10Bet to progress to the knock-out stage of the competition and they will be hoping to get off to a winning start.
They face Costa Rica at the Samara Arena on June 17th and are available at 21/20 with Bet365 to take all three points.