Each World Cup edition has one or more “surprise” teams – the one no-one really backs to produce any fireworks or even exit the group, but they somehow manage to exceed expectations and make an incredible tournament.
Some are fairly predictable – they have a great generation of players, have had good results going up to the World Cup, and all they lack is a little bit of tradition.
Other, on the other hand, come completely out of nowhere. In today’s article, we want to analyze a few examples of teams which we believe can be the surprises of this year’s competition.
Betting on 5 underrated teams that could make surprising run
To start off, we want to take a look at the model overachievers of the World Cup. Recently in the past, in 2014, Costa Rica managed to stun everyone by winning a group with Italy, Uruguay, and England, and even eliminating Greece on the way to a quarter-final appearance, where they finally lost against the Netherlands – although a penalty shoot-out was needed.
Further back, we can look as Senegal or South Korea at the 2002 edition of the World Cup, or at Ghana’s run in 2010. There are quite a lot of examples of wonderful overachievers in the past, but who will it be about this year? Here are our ideas:
The South American nation qualified with relative ease for the World Cup, their first appearance in quite some time. They’re drafted in the group with France, Australia and Denmark, where they just might win second place. Their game against Denmark will prove decisive, but they might be a tough nut to crack for the French as well.
Their generation lacks extraordinary talent, but is very well-organized and extremely hard-working, reminding us of some of the best Chilean squads in history. Even if they fail to exit the Group, the fact that they qualified for the final tournament is a feat in its own.
Nobody backed the small, Nordic nation to qualify, even though they were the surprise of Euro 2016. Now, they have to face the likes of Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria, in a group which they might win or might place last as well.
They divided their points against Croatia in the qualifying group leading up to the World Cup, but Nigeria might also pose a threat.
If they manage to exit the group and pick up another impressive result in the round of 16, it will be another chapter in an incredible story about footballing success – from minnow nation to global performance. All in one generation of players, a few of which are still amateurs!
For Colombia, simply exiting the group and winning one game will not be enough to consider them a real overachiever. They have to reach the semi-finals in order for us to be really impressed, or take down one of the big contenders en route.
They have an extraordinary generation in the prime of their footballing years, led by James Rodriguez. He spent the last 4 years developing from a young, raw talent into a complete footballer who can decide games by himself.
Surrounded by talented teammates, his and Colombia’s aim is to at least reach the quarter-finals. We’d love for them to go even further and present them as one of the success stories of the World Cup.
Always around for the World Cup, always exits the Group, never goes past quarter-finals. Even quarter-final appearances have been rare in recent tournaments for the Mexican squad.
This time around, led by Chicharito, Hector Moreno and Hirving Lozano, the American team can hope to exit a group with defending champions Germany and go as far as possible in the competition.
They’ve always been a very disciplined a hard-working team, and nobody has easy games against them. Maybe this year is their time to shine and go further than they’ve ever gone at a World Cup.
Who would believe that Australia has a chance to progress from a group with France, Denmark and Peru? Not a lot of people – including their most die-hard fans.
But if you look into their squad a little deeper, you will see a lot of Premier League and Championship talent, as well as other players who are very used to playing in Europe’s top leagues.
Sure, they’re not the most talented, disciplined or otherwise flashy bunch, but isn’t that the beauty of the game? Pair them against a team like France, which we all know has its issues with complacency, and you might just see them succeed.
All in all, we recommend caution when betting around these teams. We strongly believe that neither will suffer humiliating defeats at this World Cup, but we can’t vouch for a lot of positive results either. Even if they do manage to progress further in the competition, expect a lot of 1-0 wins or penalty shootouts to be involved. If you do manage to bet on them and win, however, you will be in for a treat – their odds to win are usually a joy to behold.