The World Cup draw for Russia 2018 has been made and we now know who will play each other in the group stages when we finally reach Russia next summer. Five teams have made the finals from Africa, although perhaps not the five you would have expected to see, with favourites Ivory Coast and Cameroon both missing from the upcoming tournament.
The five group winners to qualify for Russia were Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia. All five have been handed quite tough draws and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see all of them head home at the end of the group stage. However, one team that looks to be prepared for the tournament is Egypt; of all the African teams heading to Russia, they look to have the best chance of progressing to the knockout stages. While their draw is by no means easy, they will take comfort from being paired with hosts Russia, alongside Uruguay and Saudi Arabia.
They have had a good run up to this tournament, losing just one game in qualifying and falling short in the final of the African Cup of Nations at the start of 2017 against Cameroon. The latter defeat has clearly made them hungry for success and we saw that to good effect during qualifying. One of the most impressive qualities Héctor Cúper’s side showcased in qualifying was their ability to defend. They conceded just four goals in the six games, letting in no more than one goal in every game they played. This strong defensive play will stand them in good stead when they head over to Russia and will give them a chance to qualify for the knockout stages.
When we get to Russia 2018, those who fancy Egypt to do well will be able to back them using one of the many live betting markets that will be available – from backing them to win their game, to them scoring the next goal or even taking the next shot. With three group games against Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia, there will be plenty of opportunities for Egypt to show what they are made of, and plenty of betting opportunities for those who think they will do well.
As ever, fans can expect to see many African teams heading to the World Cup, and the team who looks to be best prepared and in the best form is Egypt. They have performed very well in 2017, coming close to winning the African Cup of Nations and qualifying in style for the World Cup. They will want to take those performances with them into 2018 and to Russia next summer; if they do, then you wouldn’t bet against them making the knockout stages. They have been given a draw that will give them hope, despite playing the hosts of the tournament, and they will fancy their chances of success.
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