In this post I will update my opinions on the World Cup Group Stage Matches. As we get closer to the summer’s most anticipated global event, I'll start adding my predictions for each match and comments.
So to start, here is the prequel.
The opening match will be between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, and will take place on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The stadium will also play host to the final which will be held on July 15.
A high level recap of the group stage draw; Russia, the hosts, have a comfortable group, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay. Portugal and Spain are matched together in Group B with Morocco and Spain. France should easily finish as head of the group in C with Australia, Peru and Denmark. England will compete with Belgium in group G. The champions, Germany, will face Mexico, Sweden and South Korea in Group F.
All 64 matches will be broadcasted live on the FOX family; 38 matches on broadcast television and 26 on FS1. From June 14 through July 15, all matches can also be live-streamed via FOX Sports GO and FOX Soccer Match Pass.
Russia, as many expected, were drawn into a very comfortable group, only they’re not a very strong side so they will have to be careful with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Uruguay are the favorites to finish first at this point, while second is up for grabs. A drunk guy prediction? Russia with help from officiating.
- Saudi Arabia
Two mega teams with some big stars (Portugal 2016 European champions, Spain 2012 and 2008 European champions, 2010 World champions) and two rather weak sides. It’ll be a shock if any of the Iberian sides make it into the next round.
A comfortable group for France on paper, although they were knocked out in the group stage of the 2002 World Cup when they faced Denmark. The Danes look like the 2nd best side in this group while Peru will be giving it their all from the start. Austalia also knows how to handle big pressure.
Argentina and Nigeria have seen each other in World Cup group stages before and when they face eachother in the final game of the group stage, it may mean one or the other moves on. While Messi and friends are favorites to finish first, there isn’t an “easy” match here, and 2nd will be a wide open competition. My prediction? Iceland.
Not an easy group for Brazil, who are obvious favorites to finish first. Switzerland are a stubborn side, and Costa Rica has proven to be a giant killer in previous World Cups, although not every time and they have aged, it's still possible. Serbia will surely play a grung match against them.
- Costa Rica
The world champions should easily finish first in this group. Second will probably be a battle between Mexico and Sweden, as South Korea seem to be weaker than in previous years. Mexico will have to be careful to not allow the game against Germany to get out of hand. They should layoff if they go down 2-0.
- South Korea
Belgium, with the bulk of their top players in the Premier League, will likely compete with England for the top spot. It’ll be a miracle if Panama or Tunisia make it into the next round.
While Poland were drawn first in this group, and Colombia are most likely favorites, both will have a tough time with Senegal and Japan. These sides aren’t easy outings, so this group is probably more open than some people think.