Palmerbet Sports Team looks at the outsiders from each World Cup group who could either win or qualify against the odds.

Group A: Egypt ($2.40 to qualify)

With Uruguay ($1.15) and Russia ($1.42) favourites to qualify, the Pharoahs (yes, that is their nickname…) represent a shrewd bet. Few players at the World Cup are as pivotal to its country’s hopes as Mohamed Salah for Egypt. After injuring his shoulder for Liverpool in the Champions League Final, Salah’s been on a frantic race to be fit for his football-mad country. He may miss the first game – but that could be a good thing. Uruguay would likely win that clash anyhow, and if Salah is fit to have a crack at Russia and Saudi Arabia, Egypt is a good chance to progress.

Group B: Portugal ($2.80 to win group)

It looks almost certain that Spain and Portugal will progress in Group B, with Morocco and Iran big outsiders to qualify. After news emerged that Spain has controversially sacked manager Julen Lopetegui less than 48 hours before the first game, European champions Portugal are a great bet to win the group. The destabilising effect on Spain could be huge, and the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal will be ready to strike.

Group C: Australia ($5.00 to qualify)

It would be rude not to, wouldn’t it? With the toughest game first, even if Australia is handsomely beaten by France on Friday, they have got winnable games against Denmark and Peru to come. Sure, they’ll be outsiders but like in Germany 2006, four points could be enough to qualify to the round of 16. A draw against Denmark and a win against Peru isn’t out of the realms of possibility. Plus – as Bob Hawke said – always back self-interest, at least you know it’s trying.

Group D: Nigeria ($3.50 to qualify)

Besides the fact they have the best kit at the 2018 World Cup, Nigeria are also a chance to knock off favoured opponents Croatia ($1.45) and even the under-pressure Argentina ($1.13). While not a vintage Nigerian side, there’s enough experience to give Group D a real crack. John Obi Mikel is a shrewd operator and Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi will provide plenty of spark. They were the first African side to seal a place in Russia and while unpredictable, are a big chance to qualify.

Group E: (Costa Rica $5.00 to qualify)

It’s tough to eke some worthy value out of Group E, which Brazil is heavily-favoured to win ($1.28). But outside of Brazil, it’s a very open playing field. Costa Rica qualified comfortably for Russia 2018, and beat the US both home and away. The Central American side made it to the Quarter Finals in 2014 and, with an increasingly professional international setup, are a good chance to get results against Serbia and Switzerland and again progress to the knockout stages.

Group F: (Sweden $2.30 to qualify)

Much like Brazil in Group E, Germany hold all the cards in Group F and are huge favourites to progress in first place ($1.35). With Mexico the second-favoured side, Sweden represent a strong bet to progress. Remarkably, the Swedes haven’t lost their last nine group games in the World Cup (three wins and six draws). This side doesn’t have the big-name star of yesteryear (think Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrik Larsson, Freddie Ljungberg). But, it has a strong core and a good spine. And after knocking out Italy in qualification, they ride a good wave coming into Russia.

Group G: (England $2.20 to win group)

This group is one of the World Cup’s easiest, with Belgium and England heavily favoured to progress over Tunisia and Panama. It’s almost impossible to see either outsiders getting into the Round of 16. England have had a great run into Russia and have reinvented themselves under Gareth Southgate. Playing attacking football with advanced fullbacks and quick wingers, the new manager is therefore getting locals slightly excited and expectant. Although, they’ve been here before…

Group H: (Japan $3.20 to qualify)

Tactically sound and technically strong, Japan are a World Cup-constant these days. One of the most experienced sides (caps-wise) in Russia, they will be led by the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki. While recent coaching changes and perhaps not-as-talented a squad as previous World Cups, the four-time Asian Cup champions are always a threat. They took top-spot in Asian qualifying and are a side chock-full of seasoned pros.

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