The final group!
Colombia, Poland, Senegal & Japan.
Plenty of value on offer in this group, with every side at least 1/1 to win it! Very open group, potential for any side to qualify!
Here’s my take on it all:
Struggled through qualifying with only 21 goals in 18 games – but have the quality throughout the spine of their team to go far.
David Ospina in goal, Santiago Arias at right back – who had a stellar season with PSV. Cristian Zapata, Yerri Mina and Davinson Sanchez all very handy centre backs, with Franck Fabra a pacey left back. Barrios and Sanchez industrial defensively midfielders, with the likes of Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Quintero and Izquerido running the show in attacking midfield. Then the likes of Falcao, Carlos Barca and Luis Muriel the striking options.
Very handy side! 5/4 to win the group, 1/1 for Over 5.5 Points.
Another side capable of doing well, but one you always feel will be found out.
With multiple good keepers, Piszcek and Glik in the back four, Grosicki, Krychowiak in midfield and the likes of Lewandowski up-front – they have a good first 11, but outside of that very little. Severe lack of pace in terms of strikers – Lewandowski, Milik and Teodorczyk all big men/poachers/finishers. Wingers look decent on paper, with the likes of Rybus and Zielinski who can also play wide or central.
Overall – they are favourites to go through alongside Colombia – but with Senegal lurking, they will need to be on their A game!
I’m 50/50 on them. Offensively talented – Keita-Balde is a fearsome winger with immense talent, whilst on the other wing you have Sadio Mane, a Champions League finalist! Kalidou Koulibaly leading the defence after a cracking season with Napoli – but against quick, nimble forwards the lack of agility could be a curse.
Salif Sane had a cracking season in Germany, likely to partner Koulibaly – while midfielders mainly by the name of N’Diaye/N’Doye will be in the engine room (there are about 4 with similar names, I believe one plays for Stoke). Add in Mame Biram-Diouf, Mbaye Niang, Moussa Konate, Ismaila Sarr…they have quite a forward line!
My concern is the lack of experience – only their 2nd finals appearance. However, with Poland’s poor defensive records, and the insane amount of talent surging through this Senegal side – I think they will qualify!
From the offset I’ve been pretty concerned. Even with the likes of Honda and Kagawa – they have a real lack of talent and and ageing squad. Plenty of known players, with many from Germany and Spain including Hasebe and Inui, who both had decent campaigns.
Halihodzic was abruptly sacked as coach late last year, even the famed Bosnian struggling to get the best out of a limited squad He’s been replaced by a very inexperienced ex-International – which will have an effect in a major tournament. Given the quality of opponents, I think they will struggle and end up bottom, which is currently 7/5 – for me, good value.
Stern defence, will be needed against the Colombian and Senegalese.
Group Forecast – 1: Colombia / 2: Senegal @ 7/1
Excellent Value: Colombia Group Winner @ 5/4
High Value: Japan Under 1.5 Points @ 2/1
Banker: Colombia Over 4.5 Points @ 8/11