Tue, Jun 12, 11:40am by Staff Writer
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is less than a week away, with group G featuring European powerhouses Belgium and England, as well as minnows Panama and Tunisia.
Belgium are $1.62 favourites to top Group G, with coach Roberto Martinez naming a very strong squad for his teams Russian campaign.
The Belgians have been a popular pick in recent major tournaments, but have failed to win pivotal games against quality teams.
They glided through qualifications with ten wins and one draw, ahead of Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At the 2014 World Cup, they were eliminated by Argentina in the quarter finals and by Wales at the same stage of Euro 2016.
They have a squad brimming with talent, including Chelsea goal keeper Tibaut Courtois and defenders Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen.
Their midfield and attack is just as strong, featuring Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku, as well as City’s title winning star Kevin de Bruyne.
Belgium are the shortest price of any team to qualify for the knockout stages at $1.03 in what is a weak group G.
They are among the favourites to claim the 2018 World Cup at $11.
They begin their campaign with fixtures against Panama and Tunisia, before their final group game on June 28 against England.
Gareth Southgate’s side are the nearest rival to Belgium in group G, as both teams will be fighting to finish top of the pile.
England are $17 to claim the World Cup, their first since 1966.
Emerging out of group G should be a formality for them, but they have buckled on the big stage in the past.
Captained by striker Harry Kane, the current England squad is not as strong as teams gone by, particularly in defence where Southgate has named a number of backline players in his squad, perhaps outlining his uncertainly in that position.
Dele Alli and Eric Dier will be important in the midfield, with Jamie Vardy sure to provide some goal-scoring spark as he did at Euro 2016.
England is $2.30 to finish atop group G, with their clash against Belgium sure to determine their fate.
Panama reached their first World Cup in Russia with an unlikely passage through qualification.
In order to gain automatic qualification, they needed a win against Costa Rica and for Trinidad and Tobago to beat the United States. Both of those scenarios occurred, wit Panama fighting back from a goal down against Costa Rica.
They will field a side with players predominately from the Latin American leagues and some playing in the United States.
Roman Torres is the country’s biggest star, with the uncompromising defender a lynchpin in the backline.
Panama are big outsiders in Russia, priced at $501 to win the Cup.
They are unlikely to progress beyond the group stages, as they are $46 to top group G and $9.50 to move into the knockout rounds.
Tunisia have struggled at World Cup’s historically, and despite being ranked an absurd 14th in the FIFA World Rankings, have only one win in their history at World Cup’s.
They have appeared in four tournaments, exiting after the group stage in each.
They have a shortage of international experience in their squad and will be challenged in group G.
They are $6 to qualify for the knockout rounds and $501 to win the World Cup. They have a tough duo of opening matches against England and Belgium, before a winnable game against Panama.
Suggested Bet: England to win Group G at $2.30
Sportsbet World Cup Markets
Group G Winner
Belgium $1.14 Draw $7.50 Panama $23
Tunisia $10 Draw $4.50 England $1.36
To qualify from Group G
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