By James Connolly
There’s nothing we love more than a shocking result at the World Cup, and for that this tournament never lets us down. 2014 saw a number of them. There was of course Costa Rica’s valiant efforts to reach the quarterfinal, as well as Germany’s 7-1 battering of the hosts, Brazil.
This summer we expect more of the same and potentially even a shock winner. There are a number of teams who could potentially upset the likes of Germany, France and Brazil and go all the way. As we’re currently on the final international break before the World Cup, here are three dark horses to keep an eye on:
Colombia made it to the quarterfinal in 2014 with the likes of James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao emerging as stars. They recently beat France in a friendly, coming from 2-0 behind to win 3-2, which is sent a statement (at least as much of a statement as you can get from a friendly).
They have a decently favorable grouping, with Poland the only real potential stumbling block in the Group. A potential round of 16 is again winnable for them and they’d be on most World Cup tips for pundits ahead of the summer.
They still have some real stars and Falcao seems to have found his goalscoring form for Monaco once more.
The Belgians are always talked up, but they always fall short of the ultimate goal. A Euro 2016 knockout by Wales was embarrassing for the Red Devils and they’ll be looking to make up for that this summer.
Few will be giving them a huge chance, but perhaps this underestimation could work in their favor.
They have some world-class talent playing at the top of their game with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne in scintillating form. Roberto Martinez will have them well drilled. If they can play together as a team, which they’ve struggled to do in the past, they could upset the odds and beat absolutely anyone.
The Croatians have experience across the pitch and plenty of talent to boot. In a group which contains Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria, they’ll have to be at their best in order to avoid any potential banana skins. If they get through a tough grouping, they have a pretty good chance.
The creativity of Luka Modric in the midfield will be massive towards determining their results, while the experience and finishing talents of Mario Mandzukic will make them incredibly dangerous.
In Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic are also vastly talented.
They will definitely be one to watch, just as they were in the 1998 World Cup and we quite fancy them to make it deep into the knockout stages.
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