World Cup 2018: Group A and B gameweek three preview

On Monday, Group A and B of the World Cup reach the third and final match of the group stages. There is still to be decided in the groups. Here is what is happening in those potentially crucial clashes.

Uruguay v Russia (Kick-off 3 PM)

This clash in Group A will decide who tops the group, as both host nation Russia and Uruguay have already qualified for the knockout stages after two wins from their two group games.

However, courtesy of a superior goal difference, Russia would qualify for the knockout stages as group stage winners with a draw.

Uruguay has won both their group games 1-0 in Russia. Defensive solidity has been a feature for La Celeste in recent games, as Oscar Tabarez’s team have kept clean sheets in their last five international outings. La Celeste’s stellar defensive displays have also contributed to four out of their last five games producing under 2.5 goals.

Host nation Russia heads into this game on the back of a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia and a 3-1 victory over Egypt. The home nation has built up good momentum and they will be confident of topping the group.

Prediction

Draw

Saudi Arabia v Egypt (Kick-off 3 PM)

This game will mean very little to these two sides, who both suffered defeats against Russia and Uruguay. The pair are now competing to avoid finishing bottom of the group, with the Saudi’s currently occupying bottom spot in the group, courtesy of their poor goal difference.

Saudi Arabia have now lost their last five games while failing to score in three of their last four games. Meanwhile, Egypt have failed to win in their last eight international games, while losing their last three. However, the quality of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah may just be enough to give the Pharaohs the edge in this clash.

Prediction

Egypt win and under 2.5 goals

Spain v Morocco (Kick-off 7 PM)

Spain would seal their place in the knockout stages of the competition with a victory against Morocco. However, a draw could also be enough for La Roja, depending on what happens in the other game in the group. Fernando Hierro’s team will be keen to win the game and the group, as they are neck and neck with neighbours Portugal in the race to top Group B.

Morocco have suffered 1-0 defeats in both of their group games against Iran and Portugal, which means the African side are already eliminated from the World Cup. They will be keen to avoid defeat in this one, but Spain should have too much quality for them.

Prediction

Spain win

Iran v Portugal (Kick-off 7 PM)

A win for either of these sides could see them through to the last 16 of the competition. However, Portugal could also qualify for the knockout stages with a draw, as the Selecao currently sit second in the group. Cristiano Ronaldo and co. will be looking to win the game in order to finish as group winners.

Portugal have lost just once in their last 14 outings, while they have also kept clean sheets in three of their last four games.

Iran followed up a 1-0 opening game over Morocco by losing by the same scoreline against Spain last time out. However, despite the narrow defeat by La Roja, the Asian nation are still in with a big chance of making the last 16.

Carlos Queiroz’s team have won four of their last six international games. A fifth win in seven international games would be a momentous one. Their recent games have been tight affairs with four of their last five games producing under 2.5 goals.

Prediction

Portugal win and under 2.5 goals

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