Group A Profiles - World Cup 2018

2018 WORLD CUP: Group A Team Profiles

We preview the teams playing in Group A for this year's soccer world cup 2018, which includes Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia. Key players to watch in this group include Luis Suarez, Igor Akinfeev, Mohamed Salah and Mohammad Al-Sahlawi. Get betting and predictions here.

Uruguay

Uruguay's strikeforce of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani

To Win Group 9/10
To Win Tournament 33/1
FIFA Ranking 17th

How they qualified
Finished second in the South American standings, 10 points behind Brazil.

Pedigree
Uruguay won the first World Cup in 1930 and then again in 1950, but they only reached the last 16 at Brazil 2014.

Coach
Oscar Tabarez – The 71-year-old, known as El Maestro, has been in charge of Uruguay since 2006 and guided them to the Copa America title in 2011.

Key player
Luis Suarez – The Barcelona forward is the country's record goalscorer and scored twice in their last qualifier against Bolivia to secure their qualification.

Squad 
Goalkeepers: Martin Campana (Independiente), Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama)
Defenders: Martin Caceres (Lazio), Sebastian Coates (Sporting CP), Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Maximiliano Pereira (Porto), Gaston Silva (Independiente), Guillermo Varela (Penarol)
Midfielders: Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Cruzeiro), Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus), Diego Laxalt (Genoa), Nahitan Nandez (Boca Juniors), Cristian Rodriguez (Penarol), Carlos Sanchez (Monterrey), Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria), Matias Vecino (Inter), Jonathan Urretaviscaya (Monterrey)
Forwards: Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), Maximiliano Gomez (Celta Vigo), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Cristhian Stuani (Girona)

Group prediction
1st


Russia

Aleksandr Golovin of Russia

To Win Group 15/10
To Win Tournament 40/1
FIFA Ranking 66th

How they qualified
As hosts

Pedigree
No Russian team has made it out of the group stage at the World Cup since the Soviet era.

Coach
Stanislav Cherchesov – The 54-year-old was appointed after good work with Legia Warsaw and found Russia in a sorry state after the Euros, in which they only managed one draw with England. He has experience in the World Cup as a player as he represented Russia in 1994 and 2002 as the side’s goalkeeper.

Key player
Igor Akinfeev – A talented goalkeeper who captains the team and has proved his top-drawer credentials on numerous occasions.

Squad 
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Brugge), Andrei Lunyov (Zenit St. Petersburg)
Defenders: Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Granat (Rubin Kazan), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Fyodor Kudryashov (Rubin Kazan), Ilya Kutepov (Spartak Moscow), Andrei Semyonov (Akhmat Grozny), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St. Petersburg)
Midfielders: Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Yuri Gazinsky (FC Krasnodar), Alexandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow), Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit St. Petersburg), Anton Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Alexander Samedov (Spartak Moscow), Alexander Yerokhin (Zenit St. Petersburg), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit St. Petersburg), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moscow)
Forwards: Artyom Dzyuba (Arsenal Tula), Alexei Miranchuk (Lokomotiv Moscow), Fyodor Smolov (FC Krasnodar)

Group prediction
3rd

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Egypt

Egypt's Mohamed Salah

To Win Group 11/2
To Win Tournament 150/1
FIFA Ranking 46th

How they qualified
Group E winners in African qualifying with a game to spare.

Pedigree
Two appearances at the World Cup finals, crashing out in the first round to Hungary in 1934, exiting at the group stages in 1990.

Coach
Hector Cuper – The Argentine took over in 2015 after a dismal run under former United States coach Bob Bradley and led the Pharaohs to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1990, which saw him named African Coach of the Year for 2017 thanks to his exploits. 

Key player
Mohamed Salah – The Egyptian star comes off an explosive first season at Liverpool, winning both PFA and Football Writers' Player of the Year. He was key in helping the Pharaohs reach the African Nations Cup final and qualify for this year's World Cup, scoring five goals in the qualifiers.

Squad 
Goalkeepers: Essam El Hadary (Al Taawoun), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly).
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf (all Al Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Al Fateh), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC).
Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, (Zamalek), Shikabala (Zamalek), Abdallah Said (Al Ahli), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Mahmoud Kahraba (Al Ittihad), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Mahmoud Hassan (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos Athens).
Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

Group prediction
2nd


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Mohammad Al-Sahlawi

To Win Group 40/1
To Qualify From Group 7/1
FIFA Ranking 70th

How they qualified
Group B runners-up in Asian qualifying, pipping Australia on goal difference after finishing one point behind Japan.

Pedigree
Four straight appearances at the World Cup between 1994 and 2006. Their best showing was a run to the last 16 in 1994, where they lost 3-1 to Sweden.

Coach
Juan Antonio Pizzi – The Argentine led Chile to South America's continental championship last year – the first in their history – but resigned in October after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Key player
Mohammad Al-Sahlawi – The 31-year-old striker was instrumental in helping the Saudis reach the tournament with 16 goals in qualifying. 

Squad 
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al-Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al-Mayouf (Al Hilal)
Defenders: Mansoor Al-Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al Hilal) Mohammed Al-Breik (Al HIlal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal)i, Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Ali Al-Bulaihi (Al Hilal)
Midfielders: Abdullah Al-Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al-Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al-Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al-Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al-Faraj, Mohamed Kanno (both Al Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al-Dawsari (Al Hilal), Yahya Al-Shehri (Al Nassr)
Forwards: Fahad Al-Muwallad (Al Ittihad), Mohammad Al-Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli)

Group prediction
4th

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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