It is World Cup Preview Day on Just Arsenal and we will be forecasting who will finish where in each of the Qualifying Groups. Let’s go….
World Cup Finals Group A Predictions by Dan Smith
Arsenal have Mohamed Elneny playing for Egypt
Like most in South America, Uruguay were not overly impressive in qualifying. This convinced their manager half way through the campaign to call up players from their under 21 squad. With certain individuals fast tracked into the system this makes them a somewhat unknown quantity. Despite boasting the likes of Suarez and Cavani this is a team who have a reputation for being hard working, organised and physical. Their mindset often prefers to be the underdog. It may be out of their comfort zones to start proceedings favourites to win the group. As long as they show the right level of ambition they should have too much fire power compared to the other 3 nations.
Currently a lawyer is appearing on numerous TV outlets in Egypt promising to sue FIFA and Ramos if Salah does not compete at the World Cup. Now any half decent legal person wouldn’t realistically think they have a case based on a footballing injury, yet the hysteria is very much real. Salah is the African version of David Beckham, him not fit this summer would be a mental blow that his teammates might not recover from. It’s heartbreaking that a man who might have been a game away from winning the Ballon D’or had only lasted half an hour in the Champions League Final and could now miss the greatest show on earth. If fit, they are better then Russia. If not they won’t have enough to advance from the group. He’s that important.
This group is doable. That’s all most Russian’s could’ve asked for when the draw was made. Of all the controversial things Vladimir Putin has been able to control, it’s largely accepted that they do not have the talent they would’ve wanted when they won the rights to this tournament. They are a functional, ageing, well drilled outfit who are not pretty to watch. Their own public seem resigned to the fact and you feel it wouldn’t take a lot for them to lose faith. That’s why them kicking off against Saudia Arabia is ideal. While not the sexiest match to kick off a World Cup it’s a great opportunity to start with 3 points and have their own supporters on board during the opening week
Saudi Arabia – 4th
Qualifying should be seen as an achievement. Heavy defeats in friendlies have been enough to see two managers sacked, suggesting they will struggle with the level higher then the teams they faced in their continent. Despite being the groups’s outsiders it really could have been worse.
Take away them being the host, they would rather face a Russia then a Brazil, Germany or France. Meanwhile Uruguay and Egypt will not be comfortable with expectations on them. Could Saudi use that to their advantage. For example, in the opening game, home fans uncertainty may play into their hand. The reality is most in the squad play in their home league, they shouldn’t have the quality nor experience to get through.