Odds to win
By: Jason Green
In terms of the odds Group H is the tightest group while not the toughest. Columbia has the best odds followed closely by Poland, but Senegal is dangerous and Japan plays a tactic that often frustrates teams. Here are the odds to win Group H.
Columbia made it to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup and they have a solid attack up front. Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado, and James Rodriguez are the stars of the club, but one key player may be youngster Davinson Sanchez. He may be thrown to the wolves right away and will have to lead the defense. The midfield is solid and their main goal this summer will be to set the plate for the legit attack. I say legit and while on paper it is just that, but they failed to Scorein their last two World Cup friendlies facing Egypt and Australia. Still, the squad has the players and did beat France earlier this year in a friendly. Their first match is facing Japan and if they stumble in that match they have a major uphill battle just to make it out of the group.
In World Cup qualifying Poland was impressive and they have one of the best strikers in the world in Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. He led all scorers in European qualifying and he is supported by a solid midfield. The defense is a little bit of a concern and this is especially the case since they conceded five goals in their last two friendly matches in a loss to South Korea and a draw against Chile. The Poles face Senegal in their opening match this summer and that will be a good one to watch with the style of play each team uses. Lewandowski their best player and big gun up front, but with other teams keying on him the other guys, especially the strikers, have to take pressure off him.
Senegal only has the 3rd best odds to win Group H, but they are very fast and athletic and they did not lose a single match in African World Cup qualifying. Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane are the key players and Mane is the guy that will be counted on to really pressure the opposing defense. While Senegal uses big-time pace that sometimes leaves them exposed on the counter attack. They have not looked great in friendlies leading up to Russia, did not face any powerhouse teams, and also played to a pretty embarrassing 0-0 draw facing LUxembOurg. Still, with Mane and an electric team that always pushes the envelope they are dangerous to say the least.
Japan may not be the most fun team to watch with their very tactical play, but they are good at possession the ball and have a pretty good midfield. Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa is their main guy up front, but the counter will still be the squad’s best chance to Scorewith some attacking talent in the middle of the field. While changing lineups often in friendlies they did not look good in them and lost to Ghana and even played to a 1-1 draw against Mali.