Today, we start the second set of group stage matches, but not before Group H kicks off with their first matchday of this World Cup, and it is on Group H that we shall focus in this post. Belgium enter as group favorites, with Russia and South Korea not far behind. Algeria trail but could play spoiler. There are lots of possibilities in the group, but here's where B&RU staff think it will end up.
Belgium is the dark horse that really isn't because everyone is picking them. Yep, I'm going to do so as well. Courtois carries Belgium to 9 points in the group and the pole position. South Korea pulls off a mild upset of Russia and advances in 2nd place by goal differential.
Belgium wins the group, and easily. Look at them, they're loaded! Plus their black away jerseys are the best in the whole tournament.
Oh wait, I have to pick someone else here. Russia has the most talent, but they're going to be miserable playing balmy Cuiaba against South Korea. Korea doesn't have a particularly good team by their standards, but they will be as fit as anyone, which means a win over the Russians on June 17th. I see Algeria going out with three losses, so that win should be the game that sends South Korea into the round of 16. Why couldn't this be our group?! Gaw!
Belgium is everybody's dark horse in this tournament, which means they aren't a dark horse at all. Look for this collection of incredible young talent to take the group, while Russia outclasses a struggling South Korea and a listless Algeria side. Russia celebrates, but doesn't invade any countries (so that's a win).
Belgium is an easy pick as far as group goes, though somewhat anonymously I think South Korea may make their lives inconvenient, along with the Russians who ran through their qualification. But I think Russia hangs on...barely.
Adam M Taylor
If Belgium fail to advance out of this group after all the "dark horse" hype they've garnered over the last couple years, I'm pretty sure the country might just sink into the North Sea (which it's been trying to do for years, really). I don't see that catastrophe happening, and they should win the group easily. The more interesting question is who gets second. It won't be Algeria, and it's a coin flip between Russia and Korea. I'll say Russia gets the nod via goal differential, but I am in no way confident of that.
What do you say, commentariat? Agree that this is Belgium's group to lose? Think the South Koreans can get past Russia? Share your predictions in the comments.