The final part of my FIFA World Cup group stage previews, feature Groups G and H, with the Three Lions in action. Check out my preview of each group, along with recommended bets below.
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GROUP G (Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England)
Group G on paper looks to be a straight fight between England and Belgium for top spot, with both European sides expected to qualify, however a decent Tunisia side and to a lesser extend, the unknown quantity of first timers Panama make for an interesting set of games.
After qualifying comfortably and unbeaten, England have looked in excellent shape under Gareth Southgate, with the Three Lions currently unbeaten in the last ten matches played, including draws with leading favourites Germany and Brazil. Belgium are in even better form, having gone some nineteen games unbeaten and they too were unbeaten, scoring an incredible forty-three goals too.
Tunisia look most likely to cause the most problems for the aforementioned sides, with the North African nation having a nine game unbeaten run ended in a 1-0 loss to Spain. Draws against Turkey and Portugal show they can mix it with top sides, but it remains to be seen if they can take the next step at a big tournament. Panamawho appear in their first ever finals, have struggled in warm-up games, with just one win over Trinidad and Tobago in the last seven games and have struggled to score against better sides, with just three goals scored in that time.
As much as I fancy Tunisia to pick up a point against one of the top two side, ultimately its England and Belgium that should qualify. While Panama will play their part, I cannot see them picking up anything more than a point, but I can see them getting hammered in one of their games. England are playing well, but Belgium should sneak top spot, with goal difference potentially making a difference.
Quadcast Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama @5/2
Group Points Belgium 7 Points @2/1
GROUP H (Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan)
Group H is probably one of the tougher groups to predict, with favourites to qualify in Poland and Colombia not expected to have it their own way against a Senegal and Japan side who can on their day give any side a tough fight.
Poland finished top of a fairly straightforward qualifying group, with Denmark the only real competition, as Robert Lewandowski finished top scorer in European qualifying. Despite a couple of poor results, Poland have started to gear up well, with a run of three unbeaten games. Colombia squeezed into the final qualifying place in the South American zone and have been in reasonable form, with a run of four unbeaten, including a win over France.
Senegal qualified for just their second tournament and have a good squad, with Sadio Mane the star man for the side.They have lost just twice in the last thirty games played and beat South Korea 2-0 in their last friendly. Japan have struggled for results in warm-up matches for the tournament, but picked up their first win in six, when beating Paraguay 4-2.
This could be the group that not only sees a surprise qualifier but also quite a few draws, as both Poland and Colombia can be prone to poor results against lesser opposition. Poland’s overreliance on Lewandowski could be Poland’s downfall if he is marshalled well, so with that I am going to go for Colombia to win the group and Senegal to secure a surprise second place ahead of Poland.
Quadcast Colombia, Senegal, Poland, Japan @10/1
Group Points Colombia 5 Points @11/2
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