World Cup 2018: Monday's Match Odds and Updated Group Predictions

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJune 18, 2018

England's Harry Kane during a friendly soccer match between England and Nigeria at Wembley stadium in London, Saturday, June 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues on Monday with England, Belgium and Sweden all favourites to open their campaigns with a win, according to the oddsmakers.

Sweden face a tough challenge in Group E, which also contains Germany and Mexico, but they are expected to see off the challenge of South Korea on Monday.

England and Belgium look to be the strongest sides in Group G, explaining why they are being backed to claim victory in their opening games. The Three Lions take on Tunisia, while Belgium face Panama.

             

Monday's Match Odds

Sweden (99/100) vs. South Korea (27/10), draw (11/5)

Belgium (9/50) vs. Panama (14/1), draw (27/5)

Tunisia (17/1) vs. England (39/100), draw (31/10)

Via OddsShark

                

Group F

Sweden pulled off a shock in World Cup qualifying as they beat Italy in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate win over two legs.

It was an impressive result from the Swedes, who look tough to beat but struggle for goals; they warmed up for the competition with goalless draws against Peru and Denmark.

Sweden will need to show there is life after charismatic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and he has told the squad to enjoy themselves because the pressure will be off without him in the team, per Catherine Koppel at Reuters.

"I think Sweden, they have less pressure when I'm not there, because when I'm there we're supposed to win everything," he said. "Just enjoy. No pressure, because I'm not there."

In his absence, Sweden will look to RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg for inspiration. Tifo Football explained what to expect from the winger:

South Korea came away from the 2014 World Cup with just a point from their three group games. The team have also struggled in their recent friendlies and have managed just one win in their last seven matches.

Tottenham Hotspur forward Heung-Min Son is their star man, but the team looks as though it lacks the quality to make an impact on this tournament, which explains why Sweden are so heavily favoured.

Prediction: Sweden to sneak past South Korea but finish third behind Germany and Mexico.

              

Group G

Belgium have a reputation for underachieving but should have no problem seeing off Panama.

Panama manager Hernan Dario Gomez has explained how he sees the group, per freelance football writer Dan Kilpatrick:

Belgium have a wealth of attacking talent in their squad, including Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, and they will be expected to win comfortably.

England are favourites to beat Tunisia as the Three Lions bid to improve on a dismal showing at the 2014 World Cup where they failed to make it out of the group.

Manager Gareth Southgate has picked a young squad that possesses plenty of attacking talent in the shape of captain Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling.

Tunisia are expected to adopt a defensive approach and showed in their 1-0 defeat to Spain how difficult it can be to break them down.

Sports journalist Stefan Bienkowski said England are difficult to predict:

England's inexperience makes it difficult to judge how they will fare in Russia. However, the team warmed up with wins over Costa Rica and Nigeria to create a sense of cautious optimism.

Prediction: Belgium to cruise past Panama and top the group. England to beat Tunisia but finish second.

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