Neighbour Dave has featured in a few of my columns over the years. He is my sounding board for the daily issues that present themselves in both football and sport in general.
The final four countries make their first appearances at the 2018 World Cup and Group A play reignites with the home nation back in action against Egypt on Day 6.
In the two Group H matches, dark horse Colombia take on Japan at the Mordovia Arena, while Poland clashes with Senegal at the Spartak Stadium.
In another great night of football, crucial points will be on offer. Subsequently, the tournament will move into the second round of matches that will begin to give a clearer picture of which teams look likely to advance to the round of 16.
The Roar of The Crowd continues to do well yet not as well as Roar Editor Daniel Jeffrey who has taken an early lead in the tipping competition despite some stunning shocks and upsets.
Make sure to include your tips on the sheet below and have your say as the voice of The crowd. Everyone will have a slightly better read on the teams after seeing them play a match and the tipping should be easy from here on in. Surely?
Colombia, Poland, Egypt
The hot word on the street is Colombia could be a sneaky chance for the quarter-finals and after seeing them in action a few months back, it’s hard to argue. They look to have class across the midfield and front line and certainly far too much for a Japanese team who have battled away in its preparations.
Poland will be too organised and polished for Senegal and make short work of their Group H clash with the hosts then back on the pitch to take on Egypt in Saint Petersburg. As strange as it sounds, the Russians look like they are riding a wave and could find a way past the Egyptians, yet, something tells me a little fella from Liverpool might just make the difference.
Colombia, Poland, Egypt
Will the Asian sides pull their weight at this World Cup? Japan may not be the team to do it. In Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, Colombia should have too much quality for a Samurai Blue side struggling to settle on its first-choice starting eleven.
Poland make their much-anticipated tournament debut against an unpredictable Senegal. The Poles will do well to avoid relying too heavily on star striker Robert Lewandowski, but they should still claim all three points in their World Cup opener.
Will Mohamed Salah feature for Egypt? It’s now or never for the African nation. Russia will be buoyed by their 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia to start the tournament, but they’ll run into an Egyptian side desperate to win – and that could prove the difference here.
Colombia, Poland, Egypt
Colombia start their World Cup against an opponent Australian fans are all too familiar with: Japan. But while the Samurai Blue are an Asian heavyweight, they’ve not been in good form, and Colombia have the edge – just – in the talent stocks here.
Poland and Senegal are the last two nations to start their World Cup campaigns in a match which is frighteningly difficult to call. Senegal are probably the strongest of the African nations in Russia and have a genuine star in Liverpool wide man Sadio Mane, but do they have enough to shut down Poland’s strong attack, which is led by skipper and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski? I’d guess they don’t, but this one could really go either way.
Matchday 2 starts in the early morning with a clash which will largely decide who progresses to the round of 16 from Group A. Russia were clinical in the tournament opener, but I put much of that down to the complete absence of their opponents. Egypt, on the other hand, proved their defensive quality against Uruguay, and with Mohamed Salah to come back into the side (he has to, doesn’t he?) the Pharaohs will win the match, and contest for coolest team name.
Colombia, Senegal, Draw
Japan are not as good as they could’ve been a year ago, after changing coaches and tactical approach. They might struggle to keep up against a strong Colombian side, boasting the incisive James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao as number ten and number nine – not a bad combination to have.
Jose Mourinho surprised many by tipping Senegal to progress, but it’s clear why when you see their disciplined, rugged approach to defending that the Portuguese manager embodies. Senegal had an amazingly successful qualification campaign, much of the squad is still intact and I feel they can be the surprise packet that always emerges at a World Cup.
I thought Saudi Arabia were worse than Russia were good in that opening game thrashing, and Egypt actually played quite well for long periods despite their eventual late defeat against Uruguay. With Mohamed Salah surely far more likely now to feature off the bench, I can see this being a tight 1-1 draw.
Colombia, Poland, Russia
Since a brilliant victory over France in March, Colombia has only managed two nil-all draws in their most recent friendlies. The Colombians will rely heavily on Bayern Munich midfielder, James Rodriguez, who has started to find his old form.
Japan has gone backwards in recent times and are 61st in the rankings, compared to their 16th ranked opponents. With a smattering of German-based players in their squad, Japan should at least be well organised and tough to beat. Still, I expect the South Americans will have too much class for the Blue Samurai.
Poland head into their opening Group H game at number 8 in the FIFA rankings, ahead of Spain and England. They boast a world class striker in Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and if he is on song then Senegal will struggle.
Senegal have their own star in Liverpool’s Sadio Mane. With many European-based players, including seven in English leagues, Senegal might fancy themselves but I think Poland should take all three points.
Russia meet Egypt in the first of the second round of matches. Can Russia keep the fairytale alive? Can Egypt, perhaps strengthened by Mo Salah, create their own fairytale?
In the opening match, Russia surprised many, including me, with their convincing 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia. It could be that having a largely Russian-based squad gives them an advantage, particularly playing in front of their home fans. I expect Russia to win and keep the fairy tale alive.
|Day 6||Stuart||Mike||Daniel||Tim||Paul||The Crowd|
|COL vs JAP||COL||COL||COL||COL||COL||COL|
|SEN vS POL||POL||POL||POL||SEN||POL||POL|
|RUS vs EGY||EGY||EGY||EGY||Draw||RUS||EGY|
The first match of the night is the hardest to pick – Sweden are the favourites to beat South Korea, priced at $2, but the Koreans would still have to be considered a chance at $4.20.
The odds are a bit less kind to Panama on the other hand who’ll have a baptism of fire making their world cup debut against Belgium ($1.16). The Panamanians are out to $19.
In the final match of the night, England will enter as heavy favourites to get the win ($1.40), with Tunisa long odds of causing an upset ($8.50).
|COL vs JAP|
|POL vs SEN|
|RUS vs EGY|
Odds via Pointsbet are correct as of 3pm (AEST) Monday, June 18.
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