World Cup 2018: Jefinho predicts Group A

Final part of blind football superstar’s team analysis 14 Jun 2018
a male blind footballer and two able-bodied footballers fighting for the ball

Jefinho has backed Luis Suarez (R) to lead Uruguay into the knockout stages

ⒸGetty Images

It is the opening day of the FIFA Football World Cup in Russia and while experts from all over the world make their predictions for the tournament, has asked for the analysis of a very special football pundit. Brazil’s blind football star Jefinho, one of the greatest 5-a-side football players of all times.

Born with glaucoma and completely blind by the age of 7, Jefinho began playing football at 10 and has won three Paralympic gold medals with Brazil. Right now, he is in Madrid, Spain, taking part in the IBSA Blind Football World Championships. But he will also try to follow all the action in Russia.

Today, Jefinho predicts Group A, with hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay. The hosts face Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the tournament on Thursday (14 June).

Jefinho’s predictions, Group A:

“Uruguay are the strongest team in the group as Egypt’s fate will depend on how fit Mohamed Salah will be for the World Cup. The injury he suffered in the Champions League final playing for Liverpool against Real Madrid was a huge blow for the Egyptians. If Salah recovers – especially for the second and third match, against Russia and Saudi Arabia, respectively – then I think Egypt can qualify. But Uruguay are a bit ahead as they have an experienced team with two great strikers, [Edinson] Cavani and [Luis] Suarez, who play very well in the national team. They also count with some younger talents like [Giorgian De] Arrascaeta, have a very strong defence and a team that have played together for long time. Uruguay should qualify without much suffering. Russia will have to rely on the home ground factor as the hosts don’t have a talented team. It might be enough if Egypt don’t have their star fully fit. Saudi Arabia don’t pose a threat.”

Who qualifies for the round of 16:

“If I had to bet, I’d say Uruguay first and Russia second.”

Match schedule

14 June

Russia v Saudi Arabia

15 June

Egypt v Uruguay

20 June

Russia v Egypt

Uruguay v Saudi Arabia

25 June

Uruguay v Russia

Saudi Arabia v Egypt