This article is part of our Fantasy World Cup series.
Thursday, June 14 - 11:00 a.m: Russia v. Saudi Arabia
Friday, June 15 - 8:00 a.m: Egypt v. Uruguay
Tuesday, June 19 - 2:00 p.m: Russia v. Egypt
Wednesday, June 20 - 11:00 a.m: Uruguay v. Saudi Arabia
Monday, June 25 - 10:00 a.m: Saudi Arabia v. Egypt
Monday, June 25 - 10:00 a.m: Uruguay v. Russia
Uruguay are the heavy favorites to win Group A, with Russia also expected to advance to the knockout rounds. However, the Russians have been awful leading up to the tournament, one in which they automatically qualified because they are the host nation. As a result, they've spent the past two years playing international friendlies, which was preceded by a rough showing at the Confederations Cup in June 2016 (which was also at home). Russia won their first friendly after that tournament, a 4-2 win over South Korea, but they are winless since, drawing 1-1 to Iran (Oct. 10) and 3-3 to Spain (Nov. 14) while losing to Argentina (1-0), Brazil (3-0), France (3-1) and Austria (1-0). That set of teams is mostly better than what they'll face in Group A, aside from Uruguay, but it tough to be too optimistic given their struggles.
Egypt looked to be the spoiler for Russia, but Mohamed Salah appears likely to miss the entire