Fùtbol Sports

2018 World Cup preview: Group H

Colombia

(Image courtesy of theparisreview.org)

Squad

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (Once Caldas)

Defenders: Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Yerry Mina (Barcelona) Johan Mojica (Girona), Oscar Murillo (Pachuca)

Midfielders: Abel Aguilar (Cali), Wilmar Barrios (Boca Juniors), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Carlos Sanchez (Fiorentina), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus), Mateus Uribe (America)

Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Miguel Borja (Palmeiras), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton), Luis Muriel (Sevilla)

Manager: Jose Pekerman

FIFA Ranking: 16

Odds to Win: 40/1

Preview:

Athletes galore. And the skill is driven by James Rodriguez. Rodriguez became a star at the last World Cup in Brazil. Can Rodriguez now lead this team with fellow Colombian star, Falcao? Radamel Falcao was not fit for the World Cup in 2014. The projected favorite to win Group H, Colombia will be the most attractive brand of football the group has to offer.

Poland

(Image courtesy of CBS Sports)

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Bartosz Białkowski (Ipswich Town), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus)

Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria), Thiago Cionek (SPAL), Kamil Glik (AS Monaco), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Michal Pazdan (Legia Warsaw)

Midfielders: Jakub Błaszczykowski (VfL Wolfsburg), Jacek Goralski (Ludogorets Razgrad), Kamil Grosicki (Hull City), Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Bromwich Albion), Rafal Kurzawa (Gornik Zabrze), Karol Linetty (Sampdoria), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdańsk), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moscow), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)

Strikers: Dawid Kownacki (Sampdoria), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli), Lukasz Teodorczyk (Anderlecht)

Manager: Adam Nawalka

FIFA Ranking: 8

Odds to Win: 66/1

Preview:

Two words: Robert Lewandowski. While Poland have solid players throughout their squad, this team will only go as far as Lewandowski takes them. His finishing will be heavily relied upon having scored 16 of Poland’s 28 goals in qualification. Other names to keep an eye on in this squad include Grzegorz Krychowiak, Kamil Glik and Arkadius Milik. Poland have the ability to either make a deep run or not make it out of the group stage. Will any defense in Group H be able to stifle or frustrate Lewandowski? That will be the question for this group to answer.

Senegal

(Image courtesy of guardian.org)

Squad

Goalkeepers: Abdoulaye Diallo (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), 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 (Rennes).

Forwards: Keita Balde (Monaco), Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City), Moussa Konate (Amiens), Sadio Mane (Liverpool, England), Mbaye Niang (Torino), Diafra Sakho (Rennes), Moussa Sow (Bursaspor).

Manager: Aliou Cisse

FIFA Ranking: 27

Odds to Win: 125/1

Preview:

If any opposing team wanted to make it a track meet playing against Senegal, they would lose. Speed is abundant throughout this Senegal side and no one exemplifies it more than Liverpool winger Sadio Mane. Mane, the biggest name on the team, will have to keep Senegal in every game with his pace and work rate; he should have no trouble with that since he plays that style at the club level. Senegal is touted as a dark horse for possible upsets should they get out of the group.

Japan

(Image courtesy of fifa.com)

Squad

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz); Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka); Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol)

Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray); Tomoaki Makino, Wataru Endo (both Urawa Reds); Maya Yoshida (Southampton); Hiroki Sakai (Marseille); Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg); Gen Shoji, Naomichi Ueda (both Kashima Antlers)

Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt); Keisuke Honda (Pachuca); Takashi Inui (Eibar); Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund); Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka); Genki Haraguchi, Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf); Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe); Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)

Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester); Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen); Yoshinori Muto (Mainz)

Manager: Akira Nishino

FIFA Ranking: 61

Odds to Win: 250/1

Preview:

While this team hasn’t been highly rated, they have been known to play with pride; they will battle all the way through the 90 minutes regardless of the score. No team will have fun playing against them. Shinji Kagawa will be in the driver’s seat of the Japanese bus. His creativity will spur the attack and create chances for Shinji Okazaki and Keisuke Honda. They may not have the most quality of players in the group, but they will remain competitive.

Prediction

“Group of Death” may not be what comes to mind when looking at this group due to its lack of juggernaut teams, but “most competitive” is what should come to mind. This group is the hardest to call because there is not an easy prediction to finish first. However, Colombia have the edge in the flare department so they will place first. Senegal will snatch second place on matchday three.

 

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