Each team at the FIFA World Cup will have their eyes on the famous trophy that only eight nations have managed to get their hands on. But before they can dream of lifting the cup, they must first navigate their way through the treacherous group stage. Every team will play three matches, and only the top two will progress to the knockout stages. We take a look at the best sportsbooks odds for Group H and discuss each team's chances of topping the group as well as our standings predictions.
World Cup 2018 Group H Standings
Throughout the World Cup, you will find the up to date standings of each Group H team right here. Check back regularly for updates after the completion of matches, study the stats, and watch as the odds fluctuate based on the outcome of each match on the board.
World Cup 2018 Group H Outright Odds
Group H is easily the most open in the whole tournament, and is the only group that does not feature a former champion.
Top seed Poland have the best record at the tournament, recording two third-place finishes in the 1970's and 1980's, although since the turn of the century the best result has been a quarter final berth, achieved by both Senegal in 2002 and Colombia in 2014. Japan, the fourth team in Group H, have never progressed beyond the Round of 16, and went winless in three of their last five tournaments.
This leaves us with a group that could be won by almost any team. Poland enter as favourites, thanks to their lofty ranking of sixth in the world, impressive World Cup qualification record, and also thanks to the fantastic Robert Lewandowski. Yet we smell an upset, and believe Senegal and Colombia are also a genuine chance.
Poland reached unprecedented heights when they completed their qualification for the World Cup and climbed to within touching distance of the top-five nations in world football. It had been a long decade without qualification for the world's biggest sporting event, and Lewandowski and company emphatically booked their place with time to spare ahead of Denmark and the chasing pack.
Yet we're not sold on the Poles. Firstly, their lofty ranking has been achieved through a combination of good luck (their qualifying group lacked any big guns) and their lack of friendly fixtures (which often cost the better teams ranking points as they attempt to experiment or bring in new faces). Also, their ten qualification matches featured just two clean sheets - they conceded goals against every nation they faced including Kazakhstan and Armenia, not to mention a 4-0 loss at the hands of Denmark.
Lewandowski is a strong figure at the point of Poland's attack and is lethal when given any chance, but should he break down or be contained there isn't really a visible plan B. The lethal counter-attacking style that Senegal and Japan possess, in addition to the talent and skill within the Colombian side, lead us to believe this may not be Poland's first foray into the second round since 1986.
We have picked few upsets in the group stage of this World Cup, but this is our biggest one by far. We believe Poland will be the only team from Pot 1 to be eliminated at the group stage, finishing third when the dust settles.
Senegal defied the odds at the 2002 World Cup, securing a trip to the quarter-finals in their first ever appearance. We believe that they are a great chance of repeating this feat, particularly as they find themselves in a much less difficult group than they did 16 years ago. Oh, and they are now led by Aliou Cissé, who was the captain when the Senegalese last appeared at the tournament.
The Africans excelled during qualification and boast a skilful and creative lineup. Liverpool's Sadio Mane has been pivotal in the club's Champions League quest in 2018, and alongside M'Baye Niang and Keita Balde should prove formidable in offence. Senegal are oozing with potential, and should at the very least defeat Japan and make life difficult for their other opponents.
We believe that Senegal will finish second in Group H, just ahead of the Poles, and book a date with either Belgium or England in the second round. At +475, they are a worthy outsider pick for top spot, although it is hard to see them knocking off both Colombia and Poland.
Colombia are the best value pick for a group winning bet at this year's World Cup. They are blessed with a number of world-class players, most notably James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, and will enter the tournament with most of the squad that excelled in Brazil four years ago. The Colombian's quarter-final finish was their best ever, and we believe they are a chance of repeating the feat.
Colombia have once again been grouped alongside Japan, which will greatly please their supporters given that they beat them 4-1 in the final group match of their 2014 campaign. With history behind them, they should once again be too good for the AFC nation, and will therefore only need a win against Senegal or Poland to potentially clinch top spot.
We think they are a great chance of defeating both teams and may record back to back flawless group stages. +125 is a great price for what we feel is one of the safest bets of the group stage.
Japan qualified for their sixth consecutive World Cup tournament with little difficulty, despite having to navigate through the tougher of the two Asian confederation groups. The traditional possession-based style employed by the nation have been ousted in favour of counter-attacking football now that Vahid Halilhodzic has taken the reigns, and that has meant spells on the sideline for Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, two of Japan's biggest stars.
They will arrive in Russia with an outside chance of progressing due to their favourable group, and could well ruffle some feathers here. Their style of play should work well against Poland, although we're not sure that their matches against Senegal or Colombia will result in positive results, especially considering the latter defeated them comfortably in 2014.
We're of the opinion that Japan will struggle in this tournament. Don't be fooled by their success during qualification - Asian soccer is suffering at present and this side will be exposed against their higher-ranked opponents. We're tipping that the Japanese will finish the World Cup winless, and in last place in Group H.
Our Prediction For Group H