Will Saudi Arabia Avoid A Winless World Cup?

Will Saudi Arabia Avoid A Winless World Cup? article feature image

The Odds

  • To win The World Cup: +150000
  • To win Group A: +3495
  • To advance to Round of 16: +995

Bet To Watch

Under 1.5 Points -180 

Group A is clearly the softest group in the tournament and that has a lot to do with the fact that Saudi Arabia is in it. The Green Falcons are tied with Panama as the biggest underdogs in the tournament at +150000.

Not only does Saudi Arabia lack talent, but they also lack stability. Bert van Marwijk, who led the team through qualification, was fired despite helping Saudi Arabia reach its first World Cup since 2006. His successor, Edgardo Bauza, didn’t last long at all and ultimately the team decided to hand the reins to Juan Antonio Pizzi.

Also not helping their cause is the fact that the Saudis struck a deal with La Liga that resulted in nine of their players moving to Spanish teams on loan. Unfortunately, the Spanish sides didn’t have much use for them, so a lot of Pizzi’s charges are coming into this tournament cold.

One player to keep an eye on is Fahad al-Muwallad. He, along with Mohammad Al-Sahlawi, will be counted on to provide any offensive spark. Pizzi has a reputation for playing attacking soccer, but he’s had very little time to work with this team, so nobody really has any idea how he will set things up.

The best thing Saudi Arabia has going for them is a comfortable draw. Group A is the weakest in the tournament with no real footballing powerhouse. Uruguay is the clear favorite, but they are a flawed squad. Russia are the host nation, but they’re not very good. Plus, Egypt was dealt a significant blow when Mohamed Salah injured his shoulder in the Champions League Final.

The Saudis play Russia in the tournament curtain-raiser. That figures to be a peculiar spectacle and might not pass by without any shenanigans. In a vacuum, that’s a match the Saudis have a chance to win, but given the, ahem, circumstances, I’m not totally sure it’s worth getting involved in.

The odds clearly suggest Russia, who are -245 to win the opener, will take care of the Saudis. If the Green Falcons don’t get a point in that tilt, they’ll need to get a result against Uruguay, which is a tall ask. Most likely they will head into their third match with zero points needing a win against Egypt to even have a prayer of advancing. At that point, the Pharaohs may have Salah back and could be playing for a spot in the Round of 16. I don’t see Saudi Arabia collecting a single point in Russia.

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