Uruguay were pre-tournament favourites to prevail in most World Cup 2018 Group A predictions but Russia go into the last round of matches as table toppers.
The hosts were cut to 1/2 to finish as pool winners after following up a 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia with a 3-1 triumph over Egypt.
La Celeste are 3/2 to end up at the summit due to 1-0 wins over the same opponents leaving them on the same number of points but behind on goal difference.
We’ve already posted our World Cup 2018 Group A betting tips for the third set of games and like a draw in the Uruguay vs Russia preview.
In the battle to avoid the wooden spoon, the Pharaohs get the nod in our Saudi Arabia vs Egypt selections.
Standings Group A
Russia went into the tournament under a cloud following poor results in friendlies but they have risen to the occasion so far.
Ahmed Fathi’s own goal gave them a boost against Egypt before Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba added well-taken efforts, having also impressed versus Saudi Arabia.
Stanislav Cherchesov was applauded out of a press conference that also saw recent allegations of doping raised.
“This is actually a post-match press conference, isn’t it?” the Russian coach said. “It has no relation with the match whatsoever.
“Maybe you have a question about the match we just played. If you do, I’ll be happy to answer you.”
Mohamed Salah bagged a consolation goal for Egypt from the penalty spot but still looked short of peak fitness following a shoulder injury.
“I think that nobody can deny or argue Mo Salah’s importance in the Egypt national team,” said head coach Hector Cuper.
“What would have happened if he’d been on top form in both matches? Well, that’s very hard to say now.”
|Russia vs Saudi Arabia||5 - 0||Luzhniki Stadium|
|Egypt vs Uruguay||0 - 1||Ekaterinburg Arena|
|Russia vs Egypt||3 - 1||Saint Petersburg Stadium|
|Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia||1 - 0||Rostov Arena|
|Saudi Arabia vs Egypt||Volgograd Stadium|
|Uruguay vs Russia||Samara Arena|
Luis Suarez celebrated his 100th international cap with the only goal in Uruguay’s victory over Saudi Arabia at the Rostov Arena.
The Barcelona forward had looked out of sorts versus Egypt but took his chance to get off the mark for the tournament.
“I thought he played a lot better in this match, especially because he was fighting hard, he was very fit, very physical,” said manager Oscar Tabarez.
“He always shows his character and with an enormous sense of responsibility. He takes on the pressure and he lives with pressure all the time and that’s a very distinctive feature of Luis.
“He has so much potential that he always gives us hope. We must recognise that he’s a crucial player to our national team because he shows solidarity on the pitch.
“He has a sense of responsibility and he has that enormous capacity to score goals.”
Saudi Arabia offered more resilience than when routed by Russia but rarely threatened an unlikely draw.