Group H in the 2018 FIFA World Cup is intriguing for obvious reasons. The absence of a traditional footballing powerhouse means that this group will probably contain one or two of the surprises packages in the last 8. The teams that qualify out of this group will face the top two from Group G - where the big teams are capable of early exits and the other two might be the weakest in the tournament.
Colombia, Japan, Poland and Senegal each have their own style and merits, but, here are the qualification chances from the group.
My model has been kind to the Asian sides and that trend continues with Japan most likely to qualify followed by many people's favourites in the group - Colombia. Poland have never done well in big tournaments and while their squad is the strongest on paper, the rest of the group should be good competition. Senegal have an excellent squad too, and will be burdened by having to emulate THAT team from 2002.
In terms of individual match predictions,
Plenty to disagree about but what is clear is that Japan and Colombia's games against Poland will be the decider. Japan are a team that scores a lot and concedes a lot but they have generally struggled to score freely in World Cups. Much will depend on their ability to find the net and ageing set-piece specialist, Keisuke Honda.
Colombia & Poland will fight to keep a clean sheet and bank on their talent up front to create goals. They have World Class forwards and a tricky midfield but how will they handle the pressure? Senegal have attacking flair and defensive steel in equal parts. They do not have a history of participating in big tournaments, so, it's hard to know what to expect. The one thing you can expect, is to be surprised.
Probabilities of finishing by position in the group,
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