Group H Profiles - World Cup 2018

We preview the teams playing in Group H at the 2018 world cup in Russia, which includes the likes of Colombia, Poland, Senegal and Japan. Key players to watch in this group include Robert Lewandowski, James Rodriguez, and Sadio Mane. Get betting and predictions here.


Poland

Robert Lewandowski

To Win Group 7/4
To Win Tournament 50/1
FIFA Ranking 10th

How they qualified
Group E winners in European qualifying, winning eight games (D1 L1) to finish five points clear of Denmark.

Pedigree
Seven appearances at the World Cup, securing third-place finishes in 1974 and 1982. Last qualified in 2006.

Coach
Adam Nawalka – A former Poland international who represented his country at the 1978 FIFA World Cup, Nawalka became coach of the national team in 2013. He has since led the side to their first UEFA European Championship quarter-final and their first FIFA World Cup since 2006.

Key player
Robert Lewandowski – With 16 goals in 10 appearances, the Poland captain was the top scorer in Europe’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Lewandowski, hailed as “the best striker in the world” by coach Adam Nawalka, also became his country’s all-time leading scorer during the preliminary campaign.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich Town), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City), Wojciech Szczęsny (Juventus)
Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszyiski (Sampdoria), Thiago Cionek (SPAL), Kamil Glik (AS Monaco), Łukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Michał Pazdan (Legia Warsaw)
Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski (VfL Wolfsburg), Jacek Goralski (Ludogorets Razgrad), Kamil Grosicki (Hull City), Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Bromwich Albion), Rafał Kurzawa (Gornik Zabrze), Karol Linetty (Sampdoria), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdansk), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moscow), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)
Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Sampdoria), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli), Lukasz Teodorczyk (Anderlecht)

Group prediction
1st


Colombia

James Rodriguez

To Win Group 5/4
To Win Tournament 40/1
FIFA Ranking 16th

How they qualified
Finished fourth in the South American standings, confirming their spot on the final matchday thanks to a 1-1 draw in Peru.

Pedigree
Five World Cup appearances, with their best showing coming in 2014, when they exited at the quarter-final stage to Brazil.

Coach
Jose Pekerman – The studious Argentinian has been at the helm since 2012 and has guided Los Cafeteros to consecutive World Cup appearances for the first time since the 1990s. He took charge of his own country at Germany 2006, before leading Colombia at Brazil 2014. Pekerman also has three FIFA U-20 World Cup titles with Argentina to his name.

Key player
James Rodriguez – The breakout star at the 2014 World Cup went on to score six goals in qualification for Los Cafeteros.

Squad 
Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (Once Caldas)
Defenders: Cristian Zapata (Milan), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Oscar Murillo (Pachuca), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors), Johan Mojica (Girona), Yerry Mina (Barcelona)
Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios (Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (Espanyol), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), José Izquierdo (Brighton Hove & Albion), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Abel Aguilar (Deportivo Cali), Mateus Uribe (America), Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus)
Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Miguel Borja (Palmeiras), Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Luis Fernando Muriel (Sevilla)

Group prediction
2nd


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Japan

Japan national team

To Win Group 7/1
To Qualify From Group 19/10
FIFA Ranking 60th

How they qualified
Group B winners in Asian qualifying, finishing on 20 points from 10 games, just one point ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Pedigree
Have featured at every World Cup since first reaching the finals in 1998. Made the last 16 in both 2002 and 2010.

Coach
Akira Nishino – The extent of Nishino's FIFA World Cup experience extends to playing in four World Cup qualifiers for Japan in 1977. However, the veteran coach does have experience of managing at FIFA tournaments, taking charge of his country at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Atlanta 1996 and guiding Gamba Osaka to the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals in 2008.

Key player
Keisuke Honda – The Pachuca forward is nearing the 100-cap mark for Japan, and averages more than one goal every three games for his country.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz, France), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol)
Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray, Turkey), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton, England), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille, France), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburger SV, Germany), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers)
Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Frankfurt, Germany), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca, Mexico), Takashi Inui (Eibar, Spain), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund, Germany), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe, Spain), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)
Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester, England), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen, Germany), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz, Germany)

Group prediction
4th


Senegal

Sadio Mane

To Win Group 5/1
To Qualify From Group 14/10
FIFA Ranking 28th

How they qualified
Group D winners in African qualifying, not losing a game en route to finishing five points clear of Burkina Faso.

Pedigree
Senegal's one World Cup appearance to date came back in 2002, where they reached the quarter-finals, losing 1-0 to Turkey after extra-time.

Coach
Aliou Cisse – Cisse was captain of the Senegal side that made history at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals in their debut appearance. He has also impressed as coach since taking charge in 2015 and led his team unbeaten through Group D in the African qualifiers.

Key player
Sadio Mane – One of the leading players in the continent, Mane became the most expensive African player in history when he moved to Liverpool for £34 million in 2016. His strength, speed and skill make him a major asset to Senegal.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Abdoulaye Diallo (Stade Rennes), Alfred Gomis (SPAL), Khadim Ndiaye (Horoya)
Defenders: Lamine Gassama (Alanyaspor), Saliou Ciss (Valenciennes), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Kara Mbodii (Anderlecht), Youssouf Sabaly (Bordeaux), Salif Sane (Hannover 96), Moussa Wague (Eupen)
Midfielders: Idrissa Gueye (Everton), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham United), Alfred Ndiaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Badou Ndiaye (Stoke City), Cheikh Ndoye (Birmingham City), Ismaila Sarr (Stade Rennes)
Forwards: Keita Balde (Monaco), Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City), Moussa Konate (Amiens), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Mbaye Niang (Torino), Diafra Sakho (Stade Rennes), Moussa Sow (Bursaspor)

Group prediction
3rd


GROUP PROFILES

Group A Team Profiles
(Egypt, Uruguay, Russia, Saudia Arabia)

Group B Team Profiles
(Spain, Portugal, Iran, Morocco)

Group C Team Profiles
(France, Peru, Denmark, Australia)

Group D Team Profiles
(Argentina, Nigeria, Croatia, Iceland)

Group E Team Profiles
(Brazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Serbia)

Group F Team Profiles
(Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea) 

Group G Team Profiles
(England, Belgium, Tunisia, Panama)

Group H Team Profiles
(Colombia, Poland, Senegal, Japan)

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