World Cup Qualifying Group A looks an extremely exciting contest, with the likes of France, Sweden and Holland all battling it out for the No. 1 spot. We should be in for a fascinating race to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

With our live odds comparison, tips, analysis and predictions, we will do our best to tell you who we believe has what it takes to get out of this difficult looking World Cup qualifying group.

After just one round of fixtures, Ivaylo Petev's Bulgaria surprisingly top the group. The Bulgarians left it very late to secure a thrilling 4-3 win over Luxembourg in Sofia.

Whilst Bulgaria were topping Group A, the 2016 European Championship finalists France were struggling to break down a resolute Belarus defence, with the game in the Borisov Arena finishing goalless.

Elsewhere, Janne Andersson's Sweden and Danny Blind's Netherlands played out a 1-1 draw in the Friends Arena in Stockholm.

The fact that all three of the group favourites drew their opening games means that the Bulgarians' win over Luxembourg has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons in Group A. Of course, it's still early days, but Petev's side have already stolen a march on the big boys, and they will be enjoying life at the top.

Still, the bookies don't fancy Bulgaria to stay there, as Bet365 are offering outright odds of 50/1 for them to win the group. Despite only managing a 0-0 draw in Belarus, France are still the 5/6 (Coral) favourites to top the group come the end and qualify for the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Holland are second favourites, with odds of 7/4 available at Bet365 as shown by our live odds comparison. BetVictor are offering you the generous price of 10/1 for Sweden, who are without their former influential talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic who retired after the Euros, to win the group ahead of the French and Dutch.

However, we would still suggest going with Didier Deschamps' men to win the group. Let's face it, despite losing out in heart breaking fashion to Portugal during the summer's tournament, the French were arguably the best team in the competition. On another day, we could have quite easily been sitting here taking about France as the champions of Europe.

The hunger and desire to win a major tournament has never left Les Bleus' camp, despite it being 16 long years since their last triumph. Not only will France be the favourites to qualify from Group A, they will also undoubtedly be one of the frontrunners to lift the trophy in Russia in two years' time.

However, with the likes of the Dutch and the Swedes also in Group A, Deschamps' troops must be wary of their threats, and they must be prepared for the possibility of dropping more points along the way. We may be predicting the French to win the group, but we believe the runners-up spot is well and truly up for grabs.

It was a real travesty to see Holland fail to qualify for Euro 2016, so much so, it would be great to see them participating on the grandest stage in Russia. In truth, they have a better side than Sweden, and they should have enough in their locker to make the play-offs.

Blind's men are priced at 1/3 with BetVictor for a top two finish, and we can see them laying the ghosts of Euro 2016 qualifying to rest by following France to Russia in 2018. Backing the France/Holland forecast is also an interesting bet for those wanting something at longer odds.


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