World Cup 2018 Qualified Countries Preview

Welcome to the BettingTop10 South Africa World Cup 2018 countries preview. On this page of our site we have some statistics and information on all the countries taking part in the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer. We also have the odds for the group matches which will be updated once the matches kick off and help you pick your winners. How will Egypt do in Group A or Morocco in Group B? All the information you need including top bookmaker predictions can be found in our World Cup 2018 guides.

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World Cup 2018 Country Previews

Below you will find information on all the countries that have qualified for Russia 2018. We have done this by group and included a table with the latest odds for each group too.

Worldcup2018

Group A

Uruguay: The current favourites to top Group A, Uruguay finished second in the CONEMBOL and have a FIFA world ranking of 21. To date they have won 2 World Cup titles and have appeared in 12 competitions. They have made it to five semi-finals of the competition too. Their last win was in 1950. The star player for this team is Luis Suarez so all eyes will be on this striker who has won numerous competitions playing for Barcelona. Uruguay are managed by Oscar Washington Tabarez. He’s the manager that helped this team win the Copa America title in 2011.

Russia: Russia are hosting the World Cup in 2018 so they automatically qualified. They have played in ten world cups to date but haven’t won a title. They have only made it to the semi-finals one. They have a FIFA world ranking of 65 and current bookmaker predictions say they will finish second in Group A. Former USSR and Russia international goalkeeper Stanislav Cherchesov is their coach and the key player on their team is Igor Akinfeev. He has over 100 caps playing for this team. Russia’s greatest world cup achievement to date has been to come in fourth place back in 1966.

Egypt: All South African eyes will be on Egypt who will be making their first appearance in the world cup in over 28 years. Their last world cup was in 1990. Egypt have yet to win a world cup title and predictions from leading bookmakers have them to finish third in Group A. They have a FIFA world ranking of 31 and their best result has only ever been to make it to the first stage of the competition. Managing the team is former Valencia coach Hector Cuper who took over in 2015 and has successfully led the team to the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Final. Their key player is Mohamed Salah.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia make their first appearance in the world cup since 2006. They have a FIFA world ranking of 63 and are predicted to finish bottom of Group A. They are managed by Juan Antonio Pizzi who took over in November 2017 after failing to qualify with Chile for Russia 2018. The key player on this team is Mohammad Al-Sahlawi, a superb striker that finished joint top goalscorer in the qualifiers with 16 goals. Saudi Arabia’s best achievement in World Cup history has been to get to the Round of 16 in the 1994 tournament.

Group B

Spain: Former South Africa 2010 World Cup winners, Spain have a FIFA world ranking of 6. They have taken part in 14 World Cup championships to date and have made it to two semi-finals. Bookmakers are predicting that Spain will be the winner in Group A. The team is coached by Julen Lopetegui, a former Real Madrid and Barcelona goalkeeper. He has been their coach since 2016. Their star player is Sergio Ramon who also captains La Roja. He is their second most capped player and played a key role in Two European Championships and a World Cup.

Portugal: Portugal finished top of Group B in the qualifiers and will be the main competition for Spain. They have taken part in six World Cups to date but have yet to take the title. Their best achievement has been third place in the 1996 World Cup. Their FIFA world ranking is 3. Bookmaker predictions have Portugal at odds to finish second in Group B. Head coach is Fernando Santos Royal_Panda_Sportbookwho took this team to their first major tournament success at EURO 2016 and saw them qualify for Russia 2018. Their key player is Cristiano Ronaldo and all eyes will be on this striker to see if he can lead his team to victory and win the top goalscorer trophy too.

Morocco: Expected to finish third in this group, Morocco are making their first world cup appearance in 20 years. Their last appearance as in 1998. They have a FIFA world ranking of 40. They have taken part in four world cups to date with their best being the Round of 16 in 1986. Coach Herve Renard took charge in 2016 and is the first coach to win the CAF Africa Cup of Nations with different countries. The key player to watch in this team is Medhi Benatia who also played for Bayern Munich and Juventus. He is one of the best defenders in Africa. Bookmaker odds and predictions for this African team place them third in Group B.

Iran: Iran are the underdog in this group and bookmakers predict that they will finish last. They have a FIFA world ranking of 32 and were the first AFC team to qualify for Russia 2018. They have taken part in four world cups to date but have never made it past the first stage. This will be coach Carlos Queiroz’s third world cup and he has also won two FIFA U-20 World Cup titles with Portugal. The key player to watch on this team will be Sardar Azmoun. This star striker appeared at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and all eyes will be on him in June.

Group C

France: France are the favourites so far for Group C. They have a FIFA world ranking of 9 and they topped Group A in the qualifiers. They have taken part in fourteen world cups to date and took the title in 1998. They have made it to two finals so far. Under coach Didier Deschamps they are hoping to secure another World Cup title. He has been in charge since 2012. The key player on their team is Antoine Griezmann, also a contender for the top goalscorer trophy. Bookmakers currently have France in the top five to win the title and predict they will top Group C when the games kick off in June.

Denmark: Denmark qualified for Russia 2018 with a 5-1 aggregate in a play-off with the Republic of Ireland. They have a FIFA world ranking of 12 and have appeared in four world cups to date. They have yet to win a title although they did reach the quarter finals back in 1998. Age Hareide became coach in 2016 replacing Morten Olsen. This former Norwegian defender is keen to see them go all the way. The key player on the team is Christian Eriksen and he’s already scored 11 goals throughout the qualifiers. Bookmaker predictions for Denmark see them finishing second in Group C.

Peru: Peru are making their first appearance in a world cup in 36 years so they will be a team to watch. They have a FIFA world ranking of 11 and could surprise everyone. They have been in four world cups but no titles have been won. They did make it to the quarter finals in 1970 and 1978. Coach Ricardo Gareca, nicknamed El Tigre took over in 2015 and has taken them this far. Will he take them all the way? The key player on the team is Jefferson Farfan. Bookmakers odds and predictions for Peru have them coming in third place in Group C.

Australia: Australia have a FIFA world ranking of 39 and have appeared in four world cups to date. Their best has been to reach the Round of 16 back in 2006. Coach Ange Postecoglous resigned in November 2017 and has been replaced by Bert Van Marwijk. He has lots of experience and was responsible for helping Saudi Arabia qualify for Russia 2018. Australia’s key player is Tim Cahill. He has already scored 11 goals in the qualifiers and scored one of the best goals of Brazil 2014. Bookmakers aren’t predicting great things for Australia though and they are expected to finish bottom of Group C.

Group D

Argentina: Another contender to take the 2018 title, Argentina have a FIFA world ranking of 4. They have taken part in sixteen world cups to date and they’ve won the title twice with the last win in 1986. Jorge Sampaoli is their coach and he has an excellent reputation and experience with the world cup too after leading Chile to the knockout stages in 2014. The key player on this team is Lionel Messi, world famous striker and the contender for the top goalscorer trophy. Bookmakers have Argentina in the top five to win the 2018 World Cup and they predict that they will top Group D.

Croatia: Croatia have a FIFA world ranking of 17 and have played in four world cups to date. They have yet to win a title. Their best achievement is third place back in 1998. Coach Ante Cacic was replaced by Zlatko Dalic in October 2017 and he has lots of experience having previously coached UAE club Al-Ain. The key player on the team is Luka Modric, a midfielder, and three time UEFA Champions League winner. Bookmakers predict that Croatia will finish in second place in Group D and should make it to the Round of 16. You can see the latest odds on our Group winners page.

Nigeria: Nigeria have been part of the world cup since 1994 and have only missed one tournament. They have yet to win a title and their FIFA world ranking is 50. They have reached the Round of 16 three times, back in 1994, 1998, and 2014. Coach Gernot Rohr has been in charge since 2016 and is recognised as one of the best coaches in Africa. The key player on the team is their captain John Obi Mikel. He is a UEFA Champions League Winner with Chelsea and all eyes will be on him for Russia 2018. Bookmakers predictions for Nigeria currently show them as finishing third in Group D.

Iceland: Iceland have a FIFA world ranking of 22 and this is their very first world cup appearance so all eyes will be on them to see how they perform. Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is responsible for their success and he was part of the coaching team at UEFA EURO 2016. The key player to watch on this team is Gylfi Sigurdsson. He is a midfielder and Iceland’s footballer of the year for the past five years. He scored four goals in the qualifiers and plenty of assists too. Current predictions from bookmakers place Iceland at the bottom of Group D but this could all change once the matches kick off in June.

Group E

Brazil: Brazil are joint favourites with Germany to win Russia 2018. They were also the first CONMEBOL team to qualify. They have a FIFA world ranking of 2 and have been part of twenty world cups to date. They have also won five titles; 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. Their coach Tite, took over in June 2016 and the key player on the team is Neymar who is also one of the favourites for the top goalscorer trophy. Bookmakers have predicted that Brazil will top Group E and you can see the odds for this on our Group winners page

Switzerland: Switzerland have a FIFA world ranking of 8 and have taken part in ten world cups to date. They have never won a title. They made it as far as the quarter finals in 1934, 1938, and 1954. This will be coach Vladimir Petkovic’s first FIFA competition and he has been in charge since 2014. The star player on the team is Granit Xhanka, Switzerland’s player of the year 2017. He Royal_Panda_Sportbookalso plays for English Premier League side Arsenal. Bookies are predicting that Switzerland will finish in second place in Group E and make it to the Round of 16 in Russia 2018.

Serbia: Serbia have a FIFA world ranking of 37 and have taken part in eleven world cups to date. They have never won the title. They managed to get to fourth place back in 1930 and again in 1962. Former international defender Mladen Krstajic is their coach and he has been in charge since October 2017. The key player on the team is Branislav Ivanovic. He also plays for English Premier League side Chelsea and has won the UEFA Champions League and three Premier League titles with the club. The bookmaker predictions for Serbia have them to finish in third place in Group E.

Costa Rica: Costa Rica have a FIFA world ranking of 26. They have played in four world cups to date but have never won a title. They did reach the quarter finals back in 2014. Coach Oscar Ramirez has been in charge since August 2015. The key player on this team is midfielder Bryan Ruiz. He also plays as a second striker and was a key player when Costa Rica made it to the quarter finals of Brazil 2014. He scored three goals in the qualifiers for Russia 2018. Current predictions from top sportsbooks place Costa Rica at the bottom of Group E but this can all change when the games begin in June.

Group F

Germany: Germany are the current title holders and joint favourites with Brazil to win Russia 2018. They have a FIFA world ranking of 1 and have played in eighteen world cups to date. They will be looking to hold onto their title and coach Joachim Low will be hoping to see his team to a second victory. The key player on the team is Toni Kroos. He is one of the best midfielders in the competition. He has won UEFA Champions League title with both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Current predictions from bookmakers for the group stages say Germany will top Group F.

Mexico: Mexico have a FIFA world ranking of 16 and booked their place in Russia 2018 with three games to spare. They have played in fifteen world cups to date but have never won a title. They did reach the quarter finals in 1970 and 1986. Coach Juan Carlos Osorio has been in charge of the team since 2015. The key player is Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer, Javier Hernandez. He scored three goals in the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments and was part of the Real Madrid team that won the FIFA Club World Cup in 2014. Bookmaker predictions say that Mexico will finish in second place in Group F.

Sweden: Sweden have a FIFA world ranking of 18. They have played in eleven world cups to date but have yet to win a title. They were runners up in the 1958 World Cup. This will be their first world cup in twelve years with their last appearance being 2006. Janne Andersson is their coach and the key player on the team is Marcus Berg. The striker has scored plenty of goals for his county including eight goals in the qualifiers. He will be one to watch in the group stages. Bookmakers are predicting that Sweden will finish third in Group F, but this can all change once the games begin in June.

Korea Republic: Korea Republic have a FIFA world ranking of 59. They have taken part in nine world cups to date but have never won the title. They did reach fourth place in 2002. Coach Shin Tae-Yong, a former midfielder, took over in July 2017. The key player on the team is Ki Sung-Yueng. He is team captain and a midfield player. This will be his third World Cup. He also plays for England Premier League team Swansea city. Bookmakers predict that Korea Republic will finish bottom of Group F but this could change after they play their first match on the 18th of June.

Group G

Belgium: Belgium have a FIFA world ranking of 5 and have played in twelve world cups to date. They have never won a title. They did reach fourth place in 1986. Former Everton and Swansea coach, Roberto Martinez has been in charge since 2016. The key player on the team is Eden Hazard and excellent forward that also plays for English Premier League side Chelsea. He scored six goals and five assists in Belgium’s qualifiers. Bookmakers have listed Belgium are their favourite to top Group G and all eyes will be on them in their first game against Panama on the 18th of June.

England: England have a FIFA world ranking of 15. They have played in fourteen world cups to date and won the title back in 1966. Coach Gareth Southgate has been in charge since September 2016 and the former England player is hoping for great things from his team. The key player on the team is Harry Kane who is also one of the bookies favourites for the top goalscorer of the championship. Kane is a world-class striker and plays for Tottenham Hotspur. Bookmaker predictions are for England to take second place in Group G and move on to the Round of 16.

Tunisia: Tunisia have a FIFA world ranking of 27. This will be their first world cup in twelve years and only their fourth world cup in total. They have never made it past the group stages of the competition. Coach Nabil Maaloul has been in charge since April 2017 and has led the team to their first world cup since 2006. The key player on the team is Youssef Msankni. The striker is one to watch and has been the star of their qualifiers with goals and a hat-trick. Bookmaker predictions for Tunisia are for them to finish in third place in Group G.

Panama: Panama have a FIFA world ranking of 56. This is their first ever world cup appearance so we aren’t sure what to expect. Their coach is Hernan Dario Gomez and he has been in charge since 2014. He has made history by getting Panama to their very first FIFA world cup. The key player on the team is Blas Perez and he has scored eleven goals in his four world cup qualifying campaigns. Bookmakers are predicting that Panama will finish bottom of Group G but this could all chance when they play Belgium on the 18th of June.

Group H

Colombia: Columbia have a FIFA world ranking of 13. They have appeared in four world cups to date but have never won the title. They did reach the quarter finals in 2014. Coach Jose Pekerman has been in charge since 2012 and has plenty of World Cup experience. He was in charge of Germany in 2006 and Columbia in 2014. The key player on the team is James Rodrigu

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ez who won the top goalscorer trophy in Brazil 2014. All eyes will be on him for Russia 2018. Bookmakers have listed Columbia as the favourite to top Group H.

Poland: Poland have a FIFA world ranking of 7 and this will be their first world cup appearance in twelve years. They have played in seven world cups in total but have never won the title. They reached third place in 1974 and 1982. Coach Adam Nawalka was part of the Polish world cup team in 1978. The key player on the team is Robert Lewandowski. He is the captain and has scored sixteen goals in ten appearances. He was also the top goalscorer in Europe’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Bookmakers predict that Poland will take second place in Group H and make it to the Round of 16.

Senegal: Senegal have a FIFA world ranking of 23. They haven’t played in a world cup in sixteen years and all eyes will be on their first game against Poland in June. They played in the 2002 world cup and made it to the quarter finals. Aliou Cisse is their coach and he was captain of the team that made the quarter finals back in 2002. The key player to watch is Sadio Mane, Africa’s most expensive player in history. He plays for Liverpool and his transfer cost £34 million. Bookmaker predictions for Senegal have them tipped to take third place in Group H but this could all change after their first game.

Japan: Japan have a FIFA world ranking of 55. They have played in five world cups to date but have never won the title. They reached the Round of 16 in 2002 and 2010. Coach Vahid Halilhodzic has experience in the world cup as both a coach and a player. The key player on the team is Maya Yoshida. He is a centre-back but has been essential in Japan’s two World Cup Campaigns. He also player from English Premier League team Southampton. Bookmakers are predicting that Japan will finish bottom of Group H but this could change when the group matches being in June.


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