Rigobert Youmbi from Cameroon poses for ...

With the U.S. sidelined for the 2018 World Cup, there have been plenty of suggestions about which teams Americans should instead pull for. But that list could rightly be 32 teams long. Here is one reason to watch every team in the field.

GROUP A
Russia

Reason to watch: The injury-riddled Russians probably wouldn’t be here if they weren’t the hosts — they won only six of the 19 matches that followed a mostly disastrous showing at Euro 2016. But everyone loves an underdog, even if said underdog is from a country that seemingly is trying to replicate its cartoonish Cold War villainy. Right?

Saudi Arabia

Reason to watch: Hey, it’s another Group A underdog. Saudi Arabia, back in the World Cup for the first time since 2006, has advanced past the group stage just once, in 1994. Its finishes since then: 28th, 32nd and 28th. Not much more is expected this year, though Saudi Arabia’s attacking trio of Salem al-Dawsari, Yahya al-Shehri and Fahad al-Muwallad, who all spent time on loan with La Liga teams in Spain this past season, could give the Green Falcons a spark.

Egypt

Reason to watch: Assuming his shoulder is OK, forward Mohamed Salah will garner most of the attention after his record-smashing season at Liverpool, but Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary is a story in his own right: At 45, he will become the oldest player ever to step foot on a World Cup pitch, smashing by a full two years the record set in 2014 by Colombia’s Faryd Mondragon. El-Hadary made his first Egyptian national team appearance in 1996, 10 months before the youngest player on Egypt’s World Cup roster was born.

Uruguay

Reason to watch: With Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid) anchoring the back line and Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani (Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively) providing a …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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