Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
This group is similar to Group B, which will be dominated by two European sides in Belgium and England. Eden Hazard will be looking to lead Belgium’s golden generation far into the tournament this summer. This Belgium team has the quality to go far, question is will they be able to put all the pieces together. England will look to rebound after a disappointing way of exiting EURO 2016 in the round of 16 against Iceland, which they were heavy favorites to beat Iceland. Harry Kane will lead the front line for England, who also captain England, along with Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. The winner of this group will come down to the last game played, on June 28th, between Belgium and England. Tunisia is making their first World Cup appearance since 2006, while Panama is making their World Cup debut this summer.
Predictions: 1. Belgium, 2. England, 3. Tunisia, 4. Panama
Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan
Group H is the most balanced group at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. All four teams have a decent shot at advancing out of the group. Poland, led by Robert Lewandowski, will look to make some noise this summer after a quarter-final appearance at EURO 2016; this will be Poland’s first World Cup appearance since 2006. Senegal making their second World Cup appearance will try to repeat the success they had back at their debut World Cup in 2002 when they made it to the quarter-finals. Colombia had a successful World Cup four years ago, where they made it to the quarter-finals. James Rodriguez was the top goal scorer at the 2014 World Cup and he will be looking to build his World Cup resume this summer. This time around they will have Radamel Falcao, who suffered an ACL injury during the 2013-2014 season for AS Monaco; Falcao will also be the captain for Colombia. Japan looks like the weakest of the four and firing their former manager Vahid Halilhodžić two months before the tournament starts does not help their cause. Now new manager Akira Nishino had about two months to prepare this Japenese team for the World Cup, and his task is to lead Japan out of the group stage for the first time since the 2010 World Cup.
Predictions: 1. Colombia, 2. Senegal, 3. Poland, 4. Japan
Dino Pavleka | @dino_ATL
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