The 2018 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June-15 July. It is the first World Cup ever to be held in Eastern Europe. All the groups will take place in Eastern Russia in order to keep the travel time manageable.
The 2018 World Cup will feature 32 teams divided into 8 groups (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H). The teams have qualified to the tournament through qualifying tournaments held in the past few years, with the only exception being the host Russia, who have obtained automatic qualification rights.
The draw has produced some quite interesting groups, putting favorites such as Portugal and Spain against each other. Germany is the reigning world champion, with Panama and Iceland getting their first berth ever in the World Cup. The tournament will be played in 12 venues in 11 cities across Eastern Russia, with the final being held at the memorable Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. The new world champion will qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Just like the previous World Cup, this year’s tournament will feature a group and knock-out stage. The winners and runners-up from every group will qualify for the Round of 16 knock-out stage where they will play one match for a place in the quarter-final and beyond. As we already said, the draw for the group stage has pitted some fierce rivals together. There are also groups with dark horse favorites which will try their best to get through the group stage undefeated.
Below you can see a breakdown of the A, B, C and D groups as well as the odds for outright winners and qualification:
Group A consists of Uruguay, Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and is quite interesting. The Russian team has had great results in major tournaments in the past and they’re the hosts as well, which means they’ll have the best support from the fans. Uruguay can be seen as a dark horse favorite for reaching the later stages of the tournament, while Egypt has the incredible Mohamed Salah who is having an impeccable season and is already being mentioned as a Ballon d’Or favorite. Last in the group are Saudi Arabia, who will try to cause problems for the 3 favorites, although their chances are pretty slim.
When it comes to the outright winner odds, Uruguay is the favorite. RedZoneSports gives them 20/21 odds, while SportNation gives the South American team odds of 10/11 to win the group. Uruguay gets the same 10/11 odds at Fun88, Letou, Black Type and SportPesa. Next in line is Russia, with odds of winning the group 5/4 at Letou, Fun88, SportPesa and SportNation. Black Type gives Russia 7/4 odds to win the group, while RedZoneSports backs the host team with 13/10 odds.
Egypt is the dark horse favorite for winning the group, with odds of 11/2 at RedZoneSports, SportNation, Letou, Fun88 and SportPesa, while Black Type gives them odds of 4/1. Finally, Saudi Arabia is being given almost no chance of winning the group, with odds of 40/1 at Letou, Fun88, SportPesa and SportNation. Black Type gives them odds of 33/1, while RedZoneSports has odds of 41/1 for the Arab side.
The odds of qualifying are as follows: RedZoneSports, SportNation, Letou, SportPesa, Fun88 – Uruguay 1/5, Russia 20/67, Egypt 6/5 and Saudi Arabia 8/1. Black Type offers great odds of Uruguay progressing at 2/9, followed by Russia (3/10), Egypt (5/4) and Saudi Arabia (15/2).
The second group in the 2018 World Cup features rivals Portugal and Spain as well as Morocco and Iran who shouldn’t be a problem for the European juggernauts. The group opens on 15 June with the derby which will surely be exciting to watch. Portugal is the reigning European champion after winning the 2016 Euros, while Spain is a previous world champion with an incredible side that should be able to go far in the tournament. Iran and Morocco aren’t great favorites for winning the group, but if they’re lucky, they may put a dent in Portugal and Spain’s title hopes.
At most betting sites, Spain is seen as the winner. They are given odds of 4/7 at RedZoneSports, 4/9 at Black Type, 5/9 at SportNation, Letou, Fun88 and SportPesa. Portugal trails a bit behind, with odds of 21/10 at RedZoneSports and 2/1 at Black Type, SportNation, Letou, Fun88 and SportPesa.
Last in line are the two outsiders, Morocco and Iran. The odds for Morocco winning the group are 14/1 at RedZoneSports, SportNation, SportPesa, Fun88 and Letou. They are given odds of 16/1 at Black Type. Finally, Iran has the least favorable odds of winning Group B, with odds of 40/1 at SportNation, SportPesa, Fun88 and Letou, 41/1 at RedZoneSports and 33/1 at Black Type.
When it comes to qualifying, these are each team’s chances: Spain has odds of 1/15 at all betting sites except for Black Type which backs them up at 1/16. Portugal has great odds of progressing as well. All these sites are giving them chances of 4/27 with the exception of Black Type which gives them odds of 1/5. Iran and Morocco’s chances are pretty low (6/1 and 4/1 respectively on all sites).
Group C is a real stunner, featuring France, Peru, Australia and Denmark. These teams guarantee great matches and a lot of excitement. Led by players such as Antoine Griezmann and teenage phenoms including Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe, France will definitely be the team to beat. They’ve reached the previous European Championship final and were close to the title which they lost to Portugal.
Of course, France is seen as a favorite, with odds of winning the group 10/31 at SportNation, Letou, Fun88 and SportPesa and 20/59 and 3/10 at RedZoneSports and Black Type respectively.
Denmark is next on the list, with odds of 9/2 at SportNation, Letou, Fun88, SportPesa and RedZoneSports and 17/4 at Black Type. Dangerous Peru has odds of 11/1 at SportNation, RedZoneSports, SportPesa, Fun88 and Letou and 9/1 at Black Type.
Understandably, the Aussie Socceroos have the least chance of winning group C, with odds of 18/1 at all these betting sites.
In terms of qualification, the odds are similar. France is being given 1/15 to progress from Group C at SportPesa, SportNation, RedZoneSports, Fun88 and Letou, while Black Type gives them 1/33 odds. Denmark has pretty favorable odds of qualifying which stand at 10/19 at all major providers with odds of 6/10 at Black Type, while Peru stands a bit worse with odds of 11/5 at SportNation. Finally, Australia is being given slim chances of progressing, with odds of 7/2 at RedZoneSports and 16/5 at Black Type.
Group D should be interesting. It features Argentina led by Lionel Messi, a dangerous side in Croatia and the always tough Nigeria and Iceland. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Argentina is the favorite in this group, with some pundits even picking the team as the favorite for the title. However, Croatia won’t make things easy for the Argentinians, and Nigeria and Iceland have been known as giant slayers before.
Argentina has the biggest chances of winning the group. The South American team is being given odds of 20/33 at SportNation, SportPesa, Letou and Fun88, 5/8 at RedZoneSports and 6/10 at Black Type. Next in line is Croatia, with pretty favorable odds of 23/10 at Fun88, Letou, SportPesa and SportNation. They’re nicely backed up at RedZoneSports and Black Type with odds of 12/5 and 9/4 respectively. Nigeria has odds of 10/1 at all the sites, while Iceland is seen as an outsider with odds of 11/1 at Black Type and 14/1 at all the other betting sites.
When it comes to qualifying chances, Argentina is in the lead as well. RedZoneSports, Letou, SportPesa, Fun88 and SportNation all give them favorable odds of 1/5, with the only exception being Black Type with odds of 2/13. Croatia’s chances of qualifying are great as well – they stand at 5/11 on all the mentioned sites and 1/2 at Black Type. Nigeria’s odds stand at 12/5, while newcomer’s Iceland’s chances are pretty low, going as far as 13/5 at Black Type.