Odds to win
By: Jason Green
Group G may look like a two-team race with Belgium and England, but Tunisia and Panama may shock the big boys in group play. However, oddsmakers don’t think so and those two teams have longshot odds to win the group. Here are the odds to win Group G.
Belgium is a great team and they have one of the best midfields of the Tournament, but time may be running out for them. They have had a great team for a while, but have not broken through in the last few major international Tournaments. Belgium is loaded with world-class talent with the likes of Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu LUkaku Eden Hazard, Moussa Dembele, and Thomas Vermaelen. The squad is great creating scoring chances in the midfield, but they also have to be wary of the counter attack and this is especially the case facing Panama and Tunisia. The squad was pretty good in friendlies leading up to the World Cup and they played to a draw facing the tougher teams of Mexico and Portugal.
England has a solid all-around team that has many players from the Premier League and they look to get over their last few disappointments in the World Cup. Harry Kane from Tottenham and Raheem Sterling from Manchester City lead the attack and the defense is a good one. However, a couple of big concerns are in goal, where Joe Hart may get the starting call, and the midfield has been decent at best. They did Scoretwo goals in each of their last two friendlies and they played to a draw against Brazil, keeping them scoreless, and Italy. England’s first match is facing Tunisia and they cannot afford to get upset in that match with Belgium still on the Schedule.
Tunisia did not have the toughest African qualifying group, but they did make it out and they have a good team that plays well together. The one glaring weakness on the squad is that they do not have a lot of world-class talent. Youssef Msakni is one of the better players and plays in Qatar and his playmaking skills on the pitch will be key, especially in the midfield. The counter-attack will be their best chance to Scoreand when facing England and Belgium they will likely pack the back-line defense. While Tunisia was winless in their last three friendlies, two draws and a loss, they played to a 2-2 draw facing Portugal and only lost to powerhouse Spain 1-0.
Panama is like Tunisia in that they don’t feature much world class talent, but they have some good veteran players and they have a good counter attack. MF Armando Cooper is one of the better players and the midfield will be key dropping back to help the defense and creating attacking chances and there may not be many. They play Belgium in their group opener and that will be a tough start for the squad. The Panamanians only won one of their six friendlies leading up to the World Cup and that win came against Trinidad and Tobago.