Group H features the extremely hyped Belgium along with Algeria, Russia and South Korea. Many pundits are picking Belgium to cruise through this group, but it might not be quite as easy as they hope. They certainly shouldn’t go in feeling complacent.
Certainly not a powerhouse, but Algeria are not new to the World Cup. In 2010 they pushed England and the United States and earned a point off of England. The Desert Foxes do boast some talent, including the young Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb. They have several other quality players including midfielder Sofiane Feghouli and defender Faouzi Ghoulam. This is a team that should not be underestimated.
The Red Devils are currently put at 18/1 odds to win the World Cup and have been hyped to the extreme. They certainly do have a lot of talent, and most of it is young. This is also a team that includes the most players from the Premier League with 11 of them playing in England’s top flight. They have had some concerns with injuries, including striker Romelu Lukaku, but they should still go far. Along with Lukaku there are a wide variety of excellent players, but a big key to their success will be the defense with Jan Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany partnering in front of Thibault Courtois. This is a formidable defense to break down and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get through the group stage without allowing a goal.
Russia is another team with a solid defense, the problem is that they have very little up front to help compliment this. They will be sturdy and will frustrate teams, but their leading scorer in qualifying was Aleksandr Kokorin with just four goals. Still, they could do enough to qualify for the knockout round.
South Korea has been something of an adventurous team. They could be the team to score against Belgium as they are fairly good going forward. At the back, they have had some struggles and this could be their downfall. At the same time, there is a very good chance that they go through, especially if they can defeat Russia.
Belgium – Winner
Russia – Runner-up
South Korea – Third
Algeria – Fourth
Belgium should be able to win this group rather easily, provided they don’t get complacent and believe they can win by showing up. Second place will be a battle between Russia and South Korea, but I’m giving Russia the edge here. There is still a slim chance that Algeria gets a couple results and are able to shock everyone and advance, though, that is quite a slim chance.
Head over to the World Cup Guide page to find links to all of my World Cup information.