What makes the French national team, who haven’t won a World Cup since 1998, one of the likeliest teams to advance out of the group stage?
France has one of the deepest teams in the field in the 2018 World Cup and is a popular play to win its first World Cup since 1998. Before moving into the knockout stage, France will try to secure strong seeding with a win in its group.
The French team is going off at -335 odds to win Group C at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Antoine Griezmann is one of the top goalscorers in the world and will lead a French side with plenty of firepower into this tournament. France’s biggest threat in the group figures to be Denmark at +450, with the group being rounded out by Peru (+850) and Australia (+1400).
France is one of three huge favorites to win its group. The other two are Brazil in Group E at -500 over Switzerland (+550), Serbia (+750) and Costa Rica (+1400), and Germany (-335) in Group B facing Mexico (+450), Sweden (+550) and South Korea (+1200). Both of these groups have potential landmines, but Brazil and Germany—the favorite on the overall World Cup odds—will have a clear-cut skill and depth advantage in each of their group stage games.
Argentina’s path will be slightly rockier as -200 favorites in Group D. Croatia (+200) is a solid team currently sitting at No. 18 in the FIFA World Rankings and Nigeria (+900) defeated the Argentinians in a friendly in November.
A game on the World Cup stage is obviously a different story, but with the amount of pressure that Lionel Messi and this Argentina side have on them, an early slip up in group play isn’t out of the question. Iceland is the last team in the group at +1000.
Group B and Group E figure to come down to key head-to-head battles for the top spot. Spain (-200) and Portugal (+175) will clash for Group B over Morocco (+1400) and Iran (+2000) while Belgium (-135) and England (+120) will fight for the top seed in Group G over Panama (+1000) and Tunisia (+2000).
The top two teams in each group advance, but winning the group earns the team more favorable seeding in the knockout stage.
Uruguay (+100), Russia (+120) and Egypt (+600) all have a shot over Saudi Arabia (+2500) to win Group A. Group H is even more wide open with all four teams of Colombia (+125), Poland (+165), Senegal (+400) and Japan (+700) potentially being in the mix.