Egypt and Saudi Arabia will lock horns in what will be their final 2018 World Cup match, having each lost both of their opening fixtures. We has originally pencilled in Egypt as a contender for the Round of 16, but Mo Salah’s injury combined with Russia’s dominance sees them out of contention. Saudi Arabia have done as expected, although they showed character in their second match against Uruguay.
Egypt will enter the match as the favourite as they outrank their opponents and also boast a much better squad. The Saudi Arabians would have been reasonably confident coming into this World Cup given that this group is one of the easiest at the tournament, although it will always be tough for a nation that, compared to the best teams, is well behind in terms of quality.
It’s hard to predict a dead rubber match as you never know how teams are going to play. With only pride to play for, you could argue that there will be plenty of goals as both sides abandon caution, although on the other hand neither of these sides has been impressive in front of goal.
Egypt has an excellent record against teams from the AFC and has dominated their head to head matches against the Saudi Arabians. It’s therefore unsurprising that Egypt enter this match as the clear favourite, priced at -123 for the win. As has been the case in every match for the Asian nation, Saudi Arabia enter as outsiders, paying +343. You can also get +254 for the draw.
The Egyptians have never won a World Cup match, while Saudi Arabia are winless since 1994, so it will be a huge breakthrough if either side can manage it. While the draw is tempting, we are going to stick to our original pick now that Salah appears to be close to full fitness.
2-1 to Egypt in an entertaining match.