Nothing can get the pulse racing quite like the World Cup, and the 2022 tournament in Qatar will be no different in that regard, as the most famous international teams and players arrive with lofty aspirations of success.
But for some of these top teams, their pride may be accompanied by an almighty fall, when they lose against the most unfancied rivals.
Back in 1950, the United States produced the “miracle on grass” by beating England, who featured the most famous footballers of the period in their side. Cameroon stunned reigning champions Argentina in 1990, defeating a team that included legendary Diego Maradona.
In 2002 Senegal beat another previous winner, inflicting a 1-0 loss on France, while South Korea registered a memorable win against Italy in the same tournament.
These upsets prove that during the heat of competition at the highest level, quite literally anything is possible. This is also why punters will eagerly wager on the upcoming tournament, looking for guides to placing World Cup bets, including where to find the best odds at online bookies backed by honest reviews.
Whenever surprise results produce winning bets, there’s always a reason to celebrate, given they can happen with more frequency than we often realize.
But as our attention turns to the 2022 FIFA World Cup over the next month, which teams might be capable of shocking their opponents, turning themselves from underdogs into unexpected heroes with plenty of bites?
The Roar of the Indomitable Lions
Back in 1990 they were 500/1 rank outsiders, yet Cameroon still managed to beat Argentina, who were the reigning 1986 World Cup champions. That result will forever live in the national memory of the African team, while repeating such an incredible performance is hardly expected in 2022. After all, they are one of the lowest-rated teams in the latest official FIFA World Rankings, that will be appearing at the tournament.
Now that interesting statistical data point is out of the way, don’t be fooled by what any rankings might suggest on paper. Cameroon does have a tough group, which includes World Cup favourites Brazil, alongside Switzerland and Serbia.
They also play Brazil in the final game of the group stage, which means they could have nothing to lose and everything to gain, bringing us the potential for what would be a monumental upset.
The Hopes of the Hosts
After so much time waiting for the tournament to begin, some twelve years after winning the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, there is inevitably plenty of eager anticipation amongst Qatari football fans.
They have never played on this massive international stage before, therefore doing so at home will undoubtedly provide the team with added incentive, keen to get positive results before their own crowds of supporters.
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Group A is also filled with opportunities to cause upsets, while the schedule is even potentially quite favorable for Qatar, who take on Ecuador in the opening match of the tournament.
Get a positive result in that game and in the next encounter, the potential for progress increases when they face Senegal. Then comes the final match of their group fixtures, against the Netherlands, and beating them would be a truly magnificent achievement.
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The Danish Dynamite
Given they provide the most numerous qualifiers at any World Cup, the ambition of European sides is backed by the continent being regarded as the traditional power base in football.
For their part, while Denmark is seen by the bookies as long-shot outsiders, they will be keen to bring the explosive recent form to the tournament. Indeed, they are a side that is more than capable of upsetting the odds, optimistic about their chances, and for good reason.
Denmark comfortably beat France twice during the UEFA Nations League campaign, which took place just a few months ago.
They will face the French again in World Cup Group D, fancying their chances of a repeat performance, along with expectations of navigating their way past both Tunisia and Australia. Should they progress to the knockout phase, the Danes could genuinely become the surprise package of this tournament.