In this post we present our estimated results for the first matches in group A. In the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia will face the “Green Falcons” from Saudi Arabia, while Egypt with Liverpool striker Salah will meet Uruguay. We give predictions for the result of both matches in terms of probabilities, including predictions for the scores.
In the opening match Russia is clear favourite, but Saudi Arabia still has some chances to steal at least one point:
The estimated scores are as follows: we favour a 1-0 victory of Russia followed by a 2-1 victory or a 1-1 draw.
The situation in the second match in group A becomes more interesting. Vice-African champion Egypt seems to have a very good chance to score in this match:
Comparing our predictions with current bookmakers’ odds leads to the suspicion that Egypt is quite underrated, while Uruguay is slightly overrated. This has probably the origin in the fact that African teams are seen to be weaker than South American teams in general. The very last friendly match of Egypt vs. Colombia ended 0-0, where Egypt did play without Salah. This underlines the probable underrating of Egypt.
The predicted scores are as follows:
Our model favours slightly a 1-0 victory of Uruguay follows by a 1-1 draw.