First Team To Advance: Belgium
Second Team To Advance: Russia
Teams Heading Home: Algeria, South Korea
If there’s one group that may be a tad boring in this World Cup, it is Group H. Belgium are a fun team to watch, but there simply is not going to be very good competition around them. Russia are on a downward trajectory, Algeria may be on an upward trajectory, but they are still very early in their development, and South Korea just aren’t very good. Belgium should advance out of the group easily, even without injured striker Christian Benteke, as Romelu Lukaku should pick up the goal-scoring load with great service from Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel and Kevin Mirallas. Belgium also have a great defense, lead by Vincent Kompany and keeper Thibaut Courtois. Russia are nowhere near as talented as they used to be, but they do have enough decent players to get by. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and midfielders Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Kokorin are all good players, but in any stronger group they would likely be overwhelmed. Algeria also have several decent players, but they are all fairly young, and Russia’s relative experience will likely win out. South Korea have a few midfielders with European experience, but they are very young at the back and their end product up front will not be nearly good enough. I predict Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku to lead the group in scoring, while I expect Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne to lead the group in assists.