World Cup 2018: What Were The Main Surprises Of The Group Stage?

Croatia - World Cup 2018

At the moment this article is being written, we’re eagerly awaiting the last 2 games of the World Cup Round of 16. After these are done, we’ll know the composition of the quarter finals and will be able to gear up for the home run towards the World Cup title.

This is a good time to take a breather, relax, and look back as well as in front of us: what were the main surprises? How did our initial predictions go, in terms of group stage exits, teams and goal scorers? And most importantly, after seeing each team play at least 4 times, which one can be considered heavy favorite to bring the trophy home?

So far, apart from the absolute biggest surprises, we haven’t committed lots of fouls when it comes to group stage qualifiers. We’ve only had 2 teams we predicted will exit the group, and they failed to do so: Germany and Poland.

The rest provided us with some good betting results – even Argentina, whom we all know struggled to exit their group. At the end of the day, we got lots of groups right even in terms of final standings (A, C, E and G). When it comes to the top goalscorer race, however, we’re very surprised with the outcomes so far.

What were our predictions?

Messi & Ronaldo World Cup 2018We recommended using World Cup bonus offers on the top goalscorer race, since the odds are quite nice. Our initial thought was that one should try betting on a team which will go the distance, and avoid the likes of Ronaldo, Kane or Lukaku.

Ironically, our top picks (Messi or Werner) are all out of the competition at this time, and Kane is leading the scoring charts.

France’s top scorer is Mbappe (3 goals), who sits at the same level as Dzyuba, Cheryshev (both Russia) and Cavani (Uruguay), just behind Lukaku (4 goals, Belgium) and Kane (5 goals, England). We’ll first jump into our top goal scorer analysis, and then move on to the teams.

World Cup Top goalscorers – Possible candidates

Harry Kane is the favourite, since he also has 1 extra game to score goals. He also takes penalties for England and is playing at the top of his game. The odds of him winning are still pretty good, since not a lot of bookmaker credit England with the chance to go very far. We expect him to score at least once against Columbia, and maybe more after this tie as well.

Lukaku is second in the race, but we don’t see him as a big favourite, since Belgium are underdogs against Brazil in the next round. Even if he scores once, we still rate him lower than Cavani or Mbappe.

Mbappe and Cavani are very similar – both have 3 goals, and both are not the mail (at least in theory) goal scoring threat of their team. They’re not hot in scoring many more goals, and need a few to surpass Kane – even if their teams go all the way, we’d still expect the Englishman to finish above them.

To bet, or not to bet?

England at World Cup 2018When it comes to using the World Cup betting offers, however, we’d be more inclined to recommend using it to bet on the winner of the entire tournament.

Now that Germany, Argentina and Spain are out of contention, the table looks very different. Sure, Brazil and France seem like favourites on paper, but they’ll probably meet in the semi-finals, and Brazil still must beat Belgium – not an easy feat.

On the other side of the table, we expect England to play Switzerland in the quarter finals, and then a semi-final against Croatia. If you still have World Cup free bets available, go for one of the latter to win the entire competition.

Why? Because they have an easier road, and are both experienced teams, with lots of ways to score goals. We love Brazil, but we’ve been shown again and again that this World Cup, the team which has more ways to score will win. Croatia and England are both teams which can dominate, can counter-attack, can score from set plays, long shots, and even nicely-constructed goals.


World Cup betting should also be about having fun and backing your favourite team, and not only seeing profits and winnings. We’d love to see a new winner of the competition – Croatia would be a first, while England’s last triumph came a while ago. So far, it’s been a very exciting tournament, full of surprises. Why shouldn’t this trend continue further?

Betting odds are presented at the time of writing. Please check them with the respective betting site. *T&Cs apply to all betting offers and sign-up bonuses. 18+, please gamble responsibly.

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