World Cup 2018: Favorites and Odds for All Groups in FIFA Tournament

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2018

Germany with world cup trophee Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany during the final of the FIFA World Cup 2014 on July 13, 2014 at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

The 2018 FIFA World Cup gets under way on Thursday as hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

It is hardly a blockbuster meeting of two footballing powerhouses, but the result could be vital to the course of the tournament.

Success for the hosts at a World Cup often makes for the good of the tournament as a whole, and the opener is arguably a must-win for Russia if they are to get out of a group that also includes Egypt and Uruguay.

Defending champions Germany are second favourites for the tournament, just behind Brazil, while Spain and France are also well fancied.

Here are the groups in full, along with each side's tournament odds, via OddsShark:          

Group A: Russia (+5000), Saudi Arabia (+100000), Egypt (+15000), Uruguay (+2500)

Group B: Portugal (+2800), Spain (+600), Morocco (+50000), Iran (+50000)

Group C: France (+650), Australia (+30000), Peru (+20000), Denmark (+10000)

Group D: Argentina (+950), Iceland (+20000), Croatia (+3300), Nigeria (+20000)

Group E: Brazil (+450), Switzerland (+10000), Costa Rica (+30000), Serbia (+20000)

Group F: Germany (+475), Mexico (+10000), Sweden (+15000), South Korea (+50000)

Group G: Belgium (+1200), Panama (+100000), Tunisia (+50000), England (+1800)

Group H: Poland (+8000), Senegal (+15000), Colombia (+4000), Japan (+20000)

Group B is arguably the toughest, boasting as it does the UEFA Euro 2016 champions Portugal and a Spain side that have recently looked resurgent under Julen Lopetegui following two disappointing major tournaments.

Friday's clash between the two Iberian nations in Sochi should be one of the highlight clashes of the group stage and is likely to determine who finishes top of Group B. 

France are the standout side in Group C. Per Get French Football News, manager Didier Deschamps had an extraordinary depth of talent from which to choose his squad, and if Les Bleus can get themselves together, they should be a genuine threat:

Get French Football @GFFN

Get French Football News analysis on Didier Deschamps' past decision-making & other factors including form and fitness used to offer percentage chances for each player making France's WC squad (Left to right - March, April & May) https://t.co/piwQBi5T5l https://t.co/IQlwrPbAF1

The same is true for Argentina, who have the attacking ability to blitz any team in the tournament but too often end up relying heavily on Lionel Messi.

None of their Group D opponents will be pushovers. Particularly based on the Albiceleste's struggles in qualifying, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria will all believe they can get something from their clashes against the Argentinians.

Brazil's 2014 World Cup at home ended in devastating fashion as they were routed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals. Manager Tite has rebuilt the Selecao into a major force that are being well backed to go all the way in Russia, and it would be a huge surprise were they not to top Group E with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

England have a remarkable history of choking at major tournaments, but it should surely be them and Belgium who advance from Group G. Panama and Tunisia are not strong teams, and June 28's clash between Belgium and England should be the decider for who tops the group.

Finally, Colombia were one of the most entertaining sides at the 2014 tournament and will hope to go deep again in Russia.

Poland are likely to be their toughest opponents in Group H, although Japan and Senegal cannot be taken lightly.