GROUP A concludes on Monday afternoon with Saudi Arabia facing Egypt in Volgograd. Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) discusses the betting.
Saudi Arabia v Egypt | Monday 25th June 2018, 15:00 | ITV
Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt come into this game with nothing to play for. Both teams will be heading home and that could mean we see goals.
World Cups only come around once every four years and appearing at them is especially significant for sides whose qualification isn’t regular.
Both sets of players this Monday have the chance to play without pressure and will surely look to enjoy themselves.
Egypt’s defensive success in qualification came down to their rigid system. They abandoned that late-on against Russia and will surely play more freely here. Likewise, Saudi Arabia might have been overwhelmed by the occasion in the tournaments opener but begun to get forward in numbers at the death versus Uruguay.
Both sides elimination was all but certain in the latter stages of their second games. Uruguay v Saudi Arabia saw 21 shots in total, yet seven of those came after the 75th minute. Similarly, after Egypt went 3-0 down they had six shots, which is just one less than the seven shots taken in the 66 minutes prior.
At the 2014 World Cup, five of six final groups games involving a team already out saw Over 2.5 Goals. In 2010 the number stood at three of four.
Over 2.5 Goals is 36/25 (Marathon) and that looks a great price.
Saudi Arabia to leave their mark
There have been rumours of discontent within Egypt’s camp in the last couple of days with Mo Salah apparently considering leaving early.
The Egyptian FA are also set to file a complaint against the standard of officiating, and if that attitude is mirrored in Hector Cuper’s squad, lifting the players and preparing for this game may have proved tough.
I’m wary of reading too much into previous performance and numbers given this is a one-off circumstance. If it does play out to be an open encounter, perhaps Saudi Arabia are of appeal at 5/1 (Marathon).
The Green Falcons remained competitive against Italy and Germany coming into the tournament and have beaten the likes of Algeria and Greece in 2018.