Five World Cup Dark Horses
The World Cup kicks off in just 6 weeks’ time, and there are some familiar names amongst the bookie’s favourites. Brazil, Germany, France, Spain and a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina offer the shortest odds, followed by a talented Belgium squad that could finally fulfil its potential. While it would be something of a surprise if one of those sides weren’t crowned champions come July 15th, you never can predict major tournaments with any great certainty. Football betting systems are a decent way to mitigate risk. Should the favourites slip up, there then are plenty nations waiting in the wings to spring a surprise. Here are five of the most likely ‘surprise’ winners of the World Cup 2018.
Ok, so they are the reigning European Champions, and yes, they have a certain Mr Ronaldo in their ranks. But their victory in the Euros was achieved more through industry than invention, and there’s no doubt that more talented Portuguese teams have tried and failed to win the World Cup in the past. However, this team is solid, well drilled and has European pedigree. Plus, Ronaldo has been in red hot form towards the end of the season and will be hell-bent on add a World Cup to his mammoth collection of titles. He might just lead his country to glory. Portugals world cup odds are currently 25 to 1.
Perennial underachievers England usually start among the favourites but then crumble under the weight of an expectant nation. Their very own golden generation failed to advance beyond the Quarter Finals and now with the likes of Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard and Terry retired, the England squad is bereft of stellar names. That might just play into their hands. Only the most optimistic fans expect them to figure in the last four but coach Gareth Southgate has quietly created a solid system that suits the players he has at his disposal. The team is very reliant on Harry Kane for goals but if he continues his fine club form on the biggest stage of all, England might just surprise a few people. England’s world cup odds are currently between 14 to 1 and 18 to 1.
The South Americans delighted with their attractive band of football in 2014 and they’ve retained the core of that squad into 2018. Star Man James Rodriguez has played his way back into form on loan at Bayern Munich after a difficult couple of years at Real Madrid and his nation will hope that his trickery and ability to score world class goals will inspire the team to glory. That said, they only qualified during the last round of matches in an ultra-competitive South American section that saw Chile eliminated. They should get out of their group comfortably and are likely to meet Belgium or England in the last 16. Neither nation will relish that prospect you fancy. Colombia’s world cup odds are currently 33 to 1.
Croatia is another nation that has traditionally under-achieved given the talent at its disposal, but they will hope to change all that in 2018. Inspired by the Barcelona-Madrid midfield combination of Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, they are a match for most teams in the tournament on paper. They can also call on the attacking talents of Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic, while the evergreen Vedran Corluka provides plenty of experience in defence. Recent results have been typically inconsistent, with a 2-0 defeat by Peru followed by an encouraging 1-0 win over Mexico. If Croatia can get it right this summer, they could be a threat. The current odds of Croatia winning the world cup are 33 to 1.
Talking of Peru, few would have predicted their appearance at the tournament. They pipped a much-fancied Chile side to fifth spot on goal difference and comfortably disposed of New Zealand over a two-legged play off. This is a team of few stars but lots of spirit, and they boast an impeccable defensive record over the last 12 months or so. That said, their preparations have been disrupted by a drugs ban for Captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero, who looks set to miss the tournament unless his appeal is upheld. Still, the South Americans boast a stubborn squad that won’t lie down for anyone at this summer’s tournament. It would be massive shock if they went all the way, but you wouldn’t bet against them springing a surprise or two in Russia. The current odds of Peru winning the world cup are 125 to 1.