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2018 World Cup Preview: GROUP A


Kweku Turkson breaks down each of the 8 Groups in the 2018 World Cup for the DSH. In this article, he breaks down GROUP A.

Teams in Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Uruguay

Best Players in Group A: Mohammed Salah, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez, Fedor Smolov, Mohammed Alsalawhi 

Hosts Russia are considered by many to have one of the weakest sides ever fielded by a Host Nation at a FIFA World Cup, and it says here that manager Stanislav Chercheshov's squad will be hard-pressed to advance beyond the Group stage, barring a miracle and/or the benefit of several curious (read: dubious) calls by officials. 

After failing to garner a victory at Brazil 2014 against Algeria, Belgium, or South Korea, some may point out that the Russians already have the good fortune of being automatic qualifiers as the host nation, and the added benefit of a possibly compromised Egyptian side in their group assignment. That said they are still a long shot to advance, even despite the presence of a surprising, yet still unproven Saudi Arabian side that boasts just one player that plies his trade with a club side outside of the Kingdom in their grouping.  Garnering points in the opening match of the tournament will be crucial  for both Russia and Saudi Arabia if they are to unexpectedly advance. 

The biggest question for the Egyptian side that the African Cup of Nations is not just whether we will see the dreadfully underwhelming Mo Salah of Chelsea or the more recent version that was an undeniably overwhelming force of nature that was recognized as the top player in the Premiership this year at Liverpool, but whether we will even see a healthy appearance at all by the mercurial winger for the Pharaohs in Russia. Salah is of course still recovering from a nasty dislocated shoulder that the Egyptian sniper has been nursing since the Champions League final last month. 

Salah's health notwithstanding, the Egyptian side will look to Arsenal man Mohamad Elneny to be a stabilizing force in the midfield for an Egyptian side making its first appearance at the World Cup finals since Italy in 1990. 

For Uruguay their success hinges on the performance of their two stalwart strikers up front, Paris Saint Germain's Edinson Cavani and Barcelona's Luis Suarez. The 31-year-old Cavani looks to be heading into Russia 2018 in top form, as he ended this year's campaign as the leading goal-scorer in Ligue 1. Uruguay also boasts solid midfield play, but will have to keep their fingers crossed that the unpredictable Suarez doesn't have flashbacks to his moments of momentary insanity that were unexplainably unleashed at pivotal moments in the two previous World Cups.

Final Prediction:Egypt and Uruguay advance, relatively easily.   

Darkhorse/Sleeper pick: Russia (Hosts) 


By Kweku Turkson
Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.com


This post first appeared on TheDailySportsHerald, please read the originial post: here

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2018 World Cup Preview: GROUP A

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