The three underdogs to look out for at the 2018 World Cup

Off The Ball assesses three outsiders who could be dancing in the streets of Moscow

BY offtheball.com 19:32 Wednesday 13 June 2018, 19:32 13 Jun 2018

FIFA World Cup Trophy. Image: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/PA Images

Ireland fans are hungry for a slice of football action this summer with the World Cup only two days away.

Brazil, Spain and reigning champions Germany are the overwhelming favourites to compete for the trophy in Russia this summer.

But which teams under the radar are capable of springing a surprise at the world’s single biggest sporting event?

Off The Ball assesses three underdogs who could be dancing in the streets of Moscow on July 15.

Uruguay

Led by Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay have at their disposal two of the most feared attacking players in world football in the form of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

The Celeste should have no problems topping a group which includes hosts Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but are likely to face a trickier task of advancing in the knockout stages.

Uruguay could come up against European champions Portugal before meeting France and Brazil on their way to a potential final.

The South American outfit are undoubtedly on the easier side of the knockout phase draw and could spring a surprise against a collection of teams with something to prove in Russia.


Croatia

Reaching the last 16 is the minimum expectation of the most talented generation the country has produced since their vintage side of 1998.

Croatia’s expected starting XI has an average age of nearly 30 but can rely on the likes of the vastly experienced Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic.

Finishing second behind Argentina in Group D would likely see Croatia face France, Uruguay and Brazil in the knockout stages.

However, Croatia’s collection of serial club winners could see them transfer their domestic success to the international stage at long last.

Colombia

Colombia proved to be one of the teams of tournament in Brazil four years ago as they reached the quarter-finals.

James Rodriguez, who starred for the nation before sealing a dream move to Real Madrid, will be joined by Radamel Falcao this time around after the striker suffered a serious knee injury in the lead up to the 2014 edition.

Colombia are likely to face Belgium or England in the last 16 before potential ties with Germany and Spain in the quarter and semi finals.

And should Colombia advance past their South American rivals, who would bet against them topping it off with a final triumph.

Make sure you’re matchday ready with Domino’s new summer signing “The Meatfielder”, a meaty winner made up of Domino’s own tomato sauce, 100% mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, ham, pork meatballs, chorizo and smoked bacon rashers.

GAA

Is it time for a 2nd referee in Hurling and Gaelic Football?

13:14 Tuesday 12 June 2018 2 Minute Read
Soccer

Team 33 | "It's probably the worst group of players Russia could pick from"

13:12 Tuesday 12 June 2018 2 Minute Read
Rugby

Joe Tomane joins Leinster on two year deal

11:34 Tuesday 12 June 2018 2 Minute Read
Soccer

John Duggan's World Cup Diary

22:02 Monday 11 June 2018 3 Minute Read
Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week