#WorldCup2018 Profile: Salah, Suarez and Cavani are the key men in Group A

Generally, there is less excitement about Group A of the upcoming World Cup in Russia as attention will be focused on the so-called groups of death. However, with careful observation it is quite clear that this group will bring excitement to the tourney in about 9 days from now.

The group comprises the host Russia, South American powerhouse Uruguay, Mo Salah’s Egypt and a rejuvenated Saudi Arabia. It will definitely be a hard-fought group with three strong contenders, and it can swing anyway.

Egypt play a 4-2-3-1 system with two holding midfielders, Mohamed Elneny and Tarek Hamed. They have a solid defence line led by West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi. Stoke City’s Ramadan Sobhi is a threat cutting in from the left in attack and the team relies on Salah’s pace, trickery, movement and his goal scoring ability from the right wing to cause havoc in the opposition’s box. Despite this, Egypt is far from a one-man show with Abdallah Said occupying the number 10 role why Braga’s Ahmed Hassan Kouka leads the frontline in attack – both are talented attacking players.

Russia is a team that lacks outstanding quality but they line up in a 5-3-1-1 formation. Alan Dzagoev is the most creative in the squad and he plays behind the striker but in reality, he pops up everywhere. Fyodor Smolov is likely to lead the line with competition from Artyom Dzyuba. The three centre midfielders are hardworking with one acting as a shield for the defence. Russia will heavily rely on the experience of Igor Akinfeev in goal to navigate through a tough group while hoping to see promising stars like Alexsandr Golovin blossom on the world stage.

Saudi Arabia line up in a 4-3-3 system with Mohamed Al-Sahlawi leading the line in attack after finishing as the joint top scorer in World Cup qualification with 16 goals. Tasisser Al-Jassam pulls the strings from the midfield as a deep-lying playmaker. Saudi Arabia like to absorb pressure then hit long passes to the wide space with the left wing of Salem Al-Dawsari their most potent threat from the wing.

Uruguay play an extremely solid 4-4-2 with Fernando Muslera in goal, Atletico Mardid’s centre-back pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez in defence. Oscar Tabarez loves to play with two holding midfielders in the midfield four, which sometimes can become a lopsided 4-3-3 in attack if the wide right midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur pushes forward to join the attack. Obviously the danger men for Uruguay are their two strikers, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez who will likely scare defences in the tourney. However, Lucas Torriera is a young midfielder that will most likely play a key role for Uruguay to succeed in Russia.

 Predicitions

1st – Uruguay {Group Winners}

2nd – Egypt

3rd – Russia {Dark Horses}

4th – Saudi Arabia

With Uruguay’s tournament experience, solidity in midfield and defence, plus the quality from their two main strikers, it is hard to see them not finish top of the group.

Egypt has a really good side that has improved from their last Nations Cup Final appearance. A healthy Salah with the support from his supporting cast is good enough to finish second in the group.

Russia as the host nation gives them an edge, and if there is likely to be an upset it will be the Russians at the centre. Home support cannot be underestimated.

Finally, Saudi Arabia boast a decent side, however, their style of play wouldn’t be so effective for the teams in this group because the teams are not incredibly focused on attacking. They will leave a good mark in the tournament and surely there would not be any 8–0 drubbing like it was in 2002 against Germany.

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