Group A Highlight
Welcome back to the Group A Highlight for the 2nd matches in the group stage.
The state of play is represented by the table here. Russia tops the list with Uruguay in the second place. As Russia and Uruguay just swap opponent, the result of the 2 matches can become good prediction on how Uruguay vs Russia at the last match of the group state. Will Uruguay beat Saudi Arabia by more than 5 goals? Will Russia beat Egypt by more than 1 goal? Will there be an upset?
Russia vs Egypt
Pre-match commentary and tipping
- For sure, more Russian will be cheering their national team. With massive home crowds, plus the confidence of winning big in the first match, Russia will be very comfortable on the field for the match against Egypt. It will need big name like Brazil or Germany to bring Russia down. Unfortunately, Egypt will have no chance in this area.
- We anticipated the Liverpool superstar Mo Salah will play this time, at least to boost morale, as it is likely that the 3rd match will no longer important if they suffer another defeat. On the other hand, Russia suffers a loss with one of its stars, Alan Dzagoev is injured with the hamstring strain.
- Uruguay technically is a notch better than Russia. So, while a win is probably quite hard in front of home crowd of Russia, if Egypt plays in similar or better form like they did vs Uruguay, Egypt can at least force a draw.
- Russia and Egypt have never played against each other. Each side will still foreign to each other.
- I am calling this a draw 0-0. But, a must-see match to watch.
- All seems like I predicted at first half. Egypt can counter Russia properly and it was scoreless at halftime.
- But, I think we have all underestimated Russia. Playing strong from the start they 2 minutes after the break, Russia leading 1-0
- Another goal at 59′ followed by the third goal by Duzba at 62 seems like “turn on” Egypt.
- Egypt took over ball possession and bombard Russia with all they have. Unfortunately, not enough or simply too late.
- Mo Salah, at least, score a consolation goal from the penalty spot at 73′.
Saudi Arabia 0
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia
Pre-match commentary and tipping
- For Uruguay, it doesn’t matter whether it is Portugal or Spain that they will meet after qualify from the group stage. So, there would be minimum desire to top Russia 5 goal against Saudi Arabia. Playing a long game, Uruguay will just want a quick win and preserve energy.
- Saudi Arabia may want to recover, but Uruguay is actually stronger than Russia. Let us see how much effort they can come up with. Probably not that much.
- Uruguay will win 3-0.
- Uruguay star Luiz Suarez saves the day, posting his first goal at 23′. Suarez volley Carlos Sanchez’s corner kick low near the ground to n open goal post.
- Uruguay seems either very slow start or very relax on this game. The tempo was slow and 53% ball possession by Saudi Arabia is one of the proofs of this. Luckily, Saudi’s attack is not sharp enough to puncture Uruguay’s defence.
- Unfortunately, although Saudi Arabia is a regular in world cup: presence in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and now 2018 – the only time the Saudis actually made a goal from the latest 8 matches in 3 world cups above was only in ONE match against Tunisia in 2006. They need to work on the attack that can speak on the world stage.
- While Uruguay may have progressed to the knocked out stage, with their current performance it is very hard to see them pass Portugal or Spain.
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Group A Standing
Here is the group standing after the 2nd group matches.
Russia and Uruguay are through to the Top-16. And both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are eliminated
Unfortunately, the 3rd group matches in group A will be both insignificant. More on this later in the next Group A highlight.