Flavour of home, some Arabic tone, and a South American vibe, that’s what Group A of FIFA World Cup 2018 is all about. As we inch closer to the opening ceremony of the biggest footballing event, let’s throw some light on what’s thrilling, what to expect and watch out from the very first group at the World Cup.
June 14 | Russia vs Saudi Arabia (GMT – 15:00)
June 15 | Egypt vs Uruguay (GMT – 12:00)
June 19 | Russia vs Egypt (GMT – 18:00)
June 20 | Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia (GMT – 15:00)
June 25 | Saudi Arabia vs Egypt (GMT – 14:00)
June 25 | Uruguay vs Russia (GMT – 14:00)
It will be Egypt’s third appearance in the competition. The North-African nation had absolutely breathtaking end to their qualifying campaign when Mohamed Salah slotted the ball into the net in the final minute of the injury time whereby taking his country to the World Cup participation after 18 years. It was that win which made sure that Egypt is secure enough to travel to Russia as 5th African nation alongside Tunisia, Nigeria, Morocco and Senegal.
We all know that with success comes expectations and if Egypt finishes in top 2 of their group, then it would be an achievement on its own. Their squad comprises of fine mix of experience in terms of their Captain El Hadary who will become the oldest keeper to appear in the competition; aged 45 years and 150 days. Alongside Hadary there are three Premier League players which Egypt posses in name of West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazy, Arsenal’s Elneny and Liverpool’s Premier league golden boot winner Mohamed Salah. In totality Egypt might not look that great as a squad, but don’t be surprised if they go past Round of 16 in Russia.
The hosts and automatic participants in this event for the same reason, there’s not much to expect from Russia, who are perhaps in a tight group with two tough opponents like Egypt and Uruguay alongside determined Saudi Arabia who would love to make a statement this year. Of course the home crowd support will be something that can help them do setbacks, but how far would it take the event hosting nation, many people do have their doubts about it.
3. Saudi Arabia
This will be 5th appearance for the Asian side in this event, and for the fact that they have reached here after 12 years, the Saudi football fans will be hoping that their team progresses to the next round in this tricky group. If they manage to do that then fancying a place in quarterfinals would be the proudest moment for them as their best achievement is making it to the Round of 16 in 1994.
A team consisting of many star players like Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin along with talented Jose Gimenez and Bentancur will be keeping their eyes to get the third World Cup trophy home. Featuring for the 13th time in this competition, and led by their coach Oscar Tabarez Uruguay have it in their capacity to make it to the semifinals the least. The sheer attack force accompanied by good defence can surely make it a merrier ride for the two times Champions.
Player to watch out
- Luis Suarez
- Edinson Cavani
- Mohamed Salah
- Ahmed Hegazy
- Igor Akinfeev
- Aleksandr Golovin
- Saudi Arabia
- Mohammad Al-Sahlawi
- Nawaf Al-Abed
Expected Group Standings
- SAUDI ARABIA