As the best online sportsbook USA could tell you, group H of the World Cup seems put together from spare parts. In that sense, reading the groups from A to H gives you the impression of looking at a palindrome. All other six groups have a World Champion. Group A has Russia, which is, for better or worse, the host. Group H has, well, four national football teams. And those teams are Colombia, Poland, Senegal, and Japan. Colombia finished fourth in the CONMEBOL round robin. Poland were UEFA Group E winners. Senegal were CAF Third Round Group D winners. And Japan were AFC Third Round Group B winners. As The Big Lead puts it, it’s a fascinating mix of teams. Except for the fascinating part.
Colombia missed three straight World Cups before returning with a vengeance in 2014. They posted their best finish yet in Brazil, reaching the quarter finals. James Rodriguez was arguably that tournament’s breakout star. His performance earned him a contract with Real Madrid. After which he promptly faded into obscurity. At least he had the chance to make a mark. Unlike Radamel Falcao, who missed Brazil with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Which, despite the way it sounds, is not the name of a curse in Harry Potter. It is now Falcao’s turn to make his presence felt in the world stage. He has already made quite an impression at the club level, and was nominated for the 2017 Ballon d’Or.
Poland was, until now, never heard from after the 2006 World Cup, during which Germany beat them. Huh. That sounds oddly familiar. Poland’s return to the World Cup has been engineered by Robert Lewandowski. He’s so fast he once turned off the light switch in his room and was in bed before it was dark. He’s so fast he can spit in the wind, duck, and let it hit the old lady behind him. He’s so fast he once scored five goals in nine minutes. The last one actually happened. In addition to Lewandowski, Poland has a strong core of players. Such as centre-back Kamil Glik, defender Lukasz Piszczek, and midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak. As well as up-and-comers like Piotr Zielinski and Karol Linetty. Unfortunately, Glik will almost certainly miss the World Cup with a shoulder injury.
This is only the second World Cup appearance for the Lions of Teranga, but their first one was memorable. Senegal became, in 2002, one of only three African teams to reach the quarter finals. Maybe that’s the reason why the best online sportsbook USA gives them better odds than Japan. Allou Cisse provides the link between the 2002 national football team and its current iteration. The midfielder-turned-head coach was the captain of the Senegal team in Korea and Japan. A team which, by the way, defeated then-defending champions France. Cisse is now the national team’s manager. As such, he led Senegal to top their World Cup qualifying group with four wins, two draws, and no losses.
The Japanese have much more World Cup experience than Senegal. They have qualified for the last six straight World Cups. But that doesn’t mean they have better odds. At least not according to a best online sportsbook USA. As matter of fact, confidence in Japan’s national football team is at an all-time low. Even among the Japanese themselves. As ESPN reported, “Four years ago, 700 fans saw Japan off at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Last weekend, the squad departed for the 2018 World Cup and only 150 made the trip to farewell the Samurai Blue.”
Thank you to MyBookie Sportsbook for their odds. In our hearts, you are the best online sportsbook.