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Digne to the rescue for Everton

Everton defender Lucas Digne snatched a 2-2 draw against Watford in the Marco Silva grudge match at Goodison Park with an equaliser in the sixth minute of added time.

5

Sporting Life Advent Calendar: Day 11

The Sporting Life Advent Calendar brings you some festive joy via the Sky Bet EFL's best moments of 2018.

World Cup 2018: Which stage will each team be eliminated from Russia?

When will Gareth Southgate's England be leaving Russia? (Article originally published: 2nd May 2018)
When will Gareth Southgate's England be leaving Russia? (Article originally published: 2nd May 2018)

The World Cup in Russia is just five weeks away with 32 nations hoping to lift the trophy in Moscow on July 15.

Some teams will crash out at the first hurdle, with others holding more positive expectations of reaching the latter stages.

The groups mean that we'll see some highly entertaining clashes early on, with the Round of 16 set to host some intriguing ties.

The FIFA World Rankings favour the likes of Germany and Brazil, but the other nations possess in-form players that have been stealing the headlines in top domestic leagues worldwide.

Tom Carnduff looks at every team in each group, and alongside odds from Sky Bet, and assesses at which stage they will be eliminated from this summer's tournament.

Group A

Egypt

Stage of elimination: Round of 16 (Sky Bet odds: 9/4)

The talented Mo Salah will be the star of the show for Egypt after enjoying a terrific Premier League season.

The Egyptians will most likely battle Russia for second spot, but I’d back them to progress given some of the talent that they possess.

Going through in second would match them against the winner of Group B – likely to be Spain – which is when their World Cup journey could come to an end.

Russia

Stage of elimination: Group stage – third in Group A (Sky Bet odds: 10/3)

They may be the hosts, but Russia will have a tricky time in Group A.

Russia sit 66th in the FIFA World Rankings, 20 places below their most likely competitors in Egypt.

The squad is largely based in Russia and they don't have a ‘star’ player to the level of Uruguay and Egypt.

Getting 10/3 to finish third in Group A seems decent enough value as they’ll have enough to beat Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia

Stage of elimination: Group stage – fourth in Group A (Sky Bet odds: 4/11)

They’re the lowest ranked team at tournament and their World Cup journey shouldn’t last too long.

Saudi Arabia are the 2000/1 longshots to win the tournament, and a huge 9/1 just to progress from their group.

Backing them to pick up no points in their group seems good value at 7/4 as well.

Uruguay

Stage of elimination: Quarter-finals (Sky Bet odds: 7/2)

Uruguay have enough to win Group A, and I’d back them to see off European champions Portugal in a potential Round of 16 meeting.

That puts them up against France in the quarter-finals, but I’d fancy Les Bleus to reach the latter stages of the competition looking at their squad.

The price available on Uruguay to be knocked out in the quarter-finals is 7/2, which looks potentially generous when you explore their likely route.

World Cup Group A
Click on the image for our in-depth World Cup Group A guide

Group B

Iran

Stage of elimination: Group stage – fourth in Group B (Sky Bet odds: 10/11)

It looks pretty obvious who will go through in Group B, which leaves Morocco and Iran battling it out to avoid finishing bottom.

It’ll be a close one, with the winner of the game between the two coming out on top.

Backing Iran to finish bottom is just a shade of odds-on, which seems about right given how close these two are in terms of ability. They're given the narrow vote for the wooden spoon.

Morocco

Stage of elimination: Group stage – third in Group B (Sky Bet odds: 6/4)

As mentioned above, Portugal and Spain should progress with Morocco looking to avoid bottom spot.

There's 6/4 available on them finishing third in the group, which they are likely to do if they get the better of Iran in the first game in this group.

Portugal

Stage of elimination: Round of 16 (Sky Bet odds: 2/1)

Portugal will most likely finish runners-up to Spain in Group B, and they’ll potentially meet Uruguay in the following round.

I’m backing Uruguay to progress and reach the quarter-final stage in what would be a highly entertaining game.

This gives odds of 2/1 available on Portugal to crash out at the last-16 stage, that price looks good as long as Uruguay win their group and Spain pip their rivals to top spot.

Spain

Stage of elimination: Quarter-finals (Sky Bet odds: 3/1)

Spain are my bet to win Group B, and should be able to see off a meeting with Egypt or Russia in the round of 16.

That would mean a likely clash with Argentina, who have an incredible wealth of talent, just like Spain.

It’d be a close encounter which could go either way but I'll give the edge to Argentina in what could be Lionel Messi's swansong.

Spain are expected to come out on top of Group B
Click on the image for our in-depth Group B guide

Group C

Australia

Stage of elimination: Round of 16 (Sky Bet odds: 9/2)

Australia could be a bit of a dark horse in a group that is quite open in terms of who takes the runners-up spot.

That’s why Australia’s 9/2 odds of round of 16 elimination seem generous.

A second place finish would set up a likely meeting with Argentina, who would be able to dispatch of the Socceroos.

Part of the case for Australia relates to their manager. Bert Van Marwijk will be leading them in Russia. The 65-year-old has a wealth of experience, most notably leading the Netherlands to the final back in 2010 where they lost to Spain.

He took over in January following Ange Postecoglou’s resignation. Prior to Australia, he led Saudi Arabia to qualification, concluding their 12-year absence from the World Cup.

Denmark

Stage of elimination: Group stage – third in Group C (Sky Bet odds: 9/4)

Group C is an incredibly tough one to call for qualification, but as said above I fancy Australia to cause a bit of an upset.

That means that Denmark and Peru would miss out, and the meeting between the two in the second game of this group could signal who finishes bottom.

Peru

Stage of elimination: Group stage – fourth in Group C (Sky Bet odds: 6/4)

The same reasoning as above, it’s a bit of a guessing game on who finishes bottom in this scenario.

That said, I’d fancy Denmark to see off Peru in their encounter in Saransk.

France

Stage of elimination: Semi-final (Sky Bet odds: 9/2)

Clear favourites to win Group C and they should do that with little issue.

They’d likely play one of Nigeria, Croatia or Iceland in the round of 16, who they’ll be able to get past.

France could then come up against Uruguay. It’d be a close game, but one that Les Bleus are capable of getting through.

Germany would be the probable option awaiting them in the semi-finals, where I fancy their World Cup adventure to come to an end.

France are the powerhouse side in Group C
Click on the image for our in-depth preview of Group C

Group D

Argentina

Stage of elimination: Semi-final (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)

Argentina head to Russia hopeful of a strong tournament with some of the talent that they possess.

They should have no problems winning Group D, where they'll meet a team like Australia in the round of 16.

That could set up a fantastic clash against Spain, and Argentina will have enough to win.

Brazil would be waiting in the semi-final. An all-South American clash will be highly entertaining, but I'd look at the team in yellow to be the ones who make the final.

Croatia

Stage of elimination: Group stage - third in Group D (Sky Bet odds: 11/4)

In similar fashion to Group C, it's incredibly open for who could come second to Argentina in this group.

Croatia will be strong contenders, and the likes of Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic will be key players for them in Russia.

Their final game against Iceland could prove to be the one which decides who goes through, and I think Iceland will once again exceed their underdogs tag.

Iceland

Stage of elimination: Round of 16 (Sky Bet odds: 9/2)

I fancy Iceland to live up to their Euro 2016 status and cause a few surprises, that includes progressing from Group D.

They have gone up to 22nd in the FIFA World Rankings and beat Croatia to top spot in UEFA Group I in qualifying.

I think they can once again beat Croatia, and a clash with France in the round of 16 stage would end their World Cup adventure.

Nigeria

Stage of elimination: Group stage - fourth in Group D (Sky Bet odds: 11/8)

Iceland could steal second in this group, meaning Croatia and Nigeria battle it out for third.

I'll back Croatia to beat Nigeria when the two meet in Kaliningrad on June 16 meaning that Nigeria would need victories over the top two to leapfrog Croatia.

Backing Nigeria at 11/8 to finish bottom of the group seems decent enough value in this scenario.

Argentina will be aiming for top spot in Group D
Click on the image for an in-depth preview of Group D

Group E

Brazil

Stage of elimination: Runners-up (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)

They come into this World Cup as joint-favourites with Germany and will be looking for revenge after humiliation to Die Mannschaft back in 2014.

I expect Brazil v Germany to be the World Cup Final in 2018, and once again I think the Brazilians will fall short.

It'll be a very entertaining match if that's the case, and even though Brazil beat Germany in a friendly, I'd look at the Germans as the stronger of the two outfits.

That's why Brazil to lose in the final looks fair value at 7/1, with Germany available at the same price.

Costa Rica

Stage of elimination: Group stage - fourth in Group E (Sky Bet odds: 5/6)

They may have caused upsets in Brazil in 2014, but I'm not too sure Costa Rica will be able to replicate that here.

They'll have to battle Brazil and Switzerland to a qualification spot, with Serbia also fancying their chances of making the top two.

Costa Rica are 5/6 favourites to finish bottom of their group, and I'd be looking at Serbia and Switzerland to be battling it out for second above them.

Serbia

Stage of elimination: Group stage - third in Group E (Sky Bet odds: 7/4)

They'll push Switzerland close, but ultimately I think that Serbia will miss out on a spot in the round of 16.

That said, they should finish above Costa Rica and finish third.

The fixture list isn't kind to them, with their last game being against Brazil, a situation that could require them to win to progress.

Switzerland

Stage of elimination: Round of 16 (Sky Bet odds: 2/1)

Switzerland come to the World Cup as a strong European outfit, and should be able to finish runners-up to Brazil in Group E.

They may have finished second in UEFA Group B qualfiying, but can count themselves incredibly unlucky given the fact that they won nine of their ten games and missed out to Portugal on goal difference.

It puts them in a good place in Russia, but they'll likely meet Germany in the Round of 16 which would be the end of their adventure for 2018.

Brazil are expected to top Group E
Click on the image for an in-depth preview of Group E

Group F

Germany

Stage of elimination: Winners (Sky Bet odds: 9/2)

Germany won the title back in 2014 and they come back as strong contenders to defend it in Russia.

They may have lost a couple of key players since then, but the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and Timo Werner will go to Russia in terrific form after their domestic seasons.

I fancy them to win it again, with a Germany v Brazil final - 11/1 with Sky Bet - a real possibility.

They'll have little trouble in Group F with the draw being kind to them in that respect, and they'll have the strength to go the distance.

Mexico

Stage of elimination: Round of 16 (Sky Bet odds: 9/4)

It's incredibly open when it comes to who will join Germany in the knockout stages, but Mexico could be the best bet to do just that.

They sit 15th in the FIFA World Rankings and could capitalise on this opportunity to progress.

Players such as Javier Hernandez and Raul Jimenez will provide goals up front, with Andres Guardado a stalwart in the midfield.

There are odds of 15/8 available on them progressing and runners-up, with Brazil likely to eliminate them in the Round of 16.

South Korea

Stage of elimination: Group stage - fourth in Group F (Sky Bet odds: Evens)

South Korea line-up in Group F but may struggle to progress to the knockout stages.

They're 61st in the World Rankings and will find themselves as the bottom team in this one at even-money.

Sweden

Stage of elimination: Group stage - third in Group F (Sky Bet odds: 15/8)

It's a tough one to call but Sweden could just miss out with Mexico advancing.

They'll have enough about them to avoid bottom spot, with the group suggesting that it will go down to the final game between Sweden and Mexico in Ekaterinburg on June 27.

Both Sweden and Mexico are 15/8 to finish in third, but in this scenario, it will be Sweden missing out.

Germany are expected to top Group F
Click on the image for an in-depth preview of Group F

Group G

Belgium

Stage of elimination: Quarter-finals (Sky Bet odds: 9/4)

Belgium will be favourites to finish top of Group G and a victory over England in their final game will secure that spot.

They'd be fancied to see off Colombia or Poland in the Round of 16, which would see them likely meet Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Brazil might prove to be too strong of an outfit for Belgium, although they currently have their 'golden generation' playing for them.

Previous tournament experience might help them now they have some under their belt, but Brazil should have enough to get past them.

England

Stage of elimination: Quarter-finals (Sky Bet odds: 9/4)

Like their Group G rivals in Belgium, England could come crashing out at the quarter-final stage when they meet a strong opponent.

Finishing runners-up to Belgium would see them face old rivals in Germany, who should once again emerge victorious.

The 9/4 available looks a good price for England to be eliminated at this stage.

Panama

Stage of elimination: Group stages - fourth in Group G (Sky Bet odds: 1/2)

They come to the World Cup as massive outsiders, and it is difficult to seeing Panama getting anything in Russia.

Belgium and England will progress from this group, and Panama's odds-on quotes to finish bottom signals their underdog status.

Tunisia

Stage of elimination: Group stages - third in Group G (Sky Bet odds: 5/6)

Similar to Panama, Tunisia will be the victim of two good teams in the same group as them.

They should have enough to pick up the points when the two meet on the final game, meaning that third spot should be theirs with little issue.

Belgium and England are expected to battle for top spot in Group G
Click on the image for an in-depth look at Group G

Group H

Colombia

Stage of elimination: Round of 16 (Sky Bet odds: 13/8)

Colombia line-up in the incredibly open Group H, but could have enough to progress as winners.

Regardless of whether they finish first or second, Belgium or England will be waiting for them in the next round and either should be able to get through.

Japan

Stage of elimination: Group stage - fourth in Group H (Sky Bet odds: 6/4)

They come into this group as slight outsiders, and Japan might be the victim of the competitiveness between these four teams.

Japan can be found at 6/4 to finish bottom, which could be the case given that they are the lowest-ranked team by some distance.

The second game against Senegal could be crucial in deciding who finishes where.

Poland

Stage of elimination: Round of 16 (Sky Bet odds: 7/4)

Poland may be the highest ranked team in this group, but I'll be backing Colombia to progress in first.

The European side should still get through, but a contest against Belgium would likely see them out.

They have some talented players, with Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski having a terrific season in Germany, and 7/4 looks good value with their potential World Cup path.

Senegal

Stage of elimination: Group stage - third in Group H (Sky Bet odds: 9/4)

Senegal have enough about them to finish in third place at 9/4.

Group H is likely to be the most entertaining of them all and Senegal, who boast a talented squad, can play their part.

Colombia are tipped to top a tricky Group H
Click on the image to read our in-depth Group H verdict


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Odds correct at 1400 BST (02/05/18)

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Most Read Football

The latest from the back pages1

Paper Talk: Blues in for right-back

Chelsea 'hold talks' with Serie A right-back, Man United have 'no intention' of selling Paul Pogba and more in Tuesday's Paper Talk.

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