A look at some dark horses that could be worth a bet for World Cup glory

By on May 25, 2018

Brazil and Germany are the runaway favourites for success in the World Cup, while passionate fans across England will be hoping that Harry Kane will be at the top of his game and help his team punch above its collective weight. But part of the fun of a World Cup is to look a little further down the bookmakers’ lists and try and spot the teams that are capable of pulling off a surprise or two.

Everyone likes a dark horse – particularly the punters

The growth of the online betting sites over recent years has led to far more everyday fans speculating a pound or two on the football. This year, fans will be poring over the World Cup schedule, studying the form and the odds with all the intensity of a seasoned racing tipster. Everyone likes a dark horse, so here, we have selected three of the teams that should be on your radar.

Croatia

You might struggle to find Croatia on a world atlas, but their national football teams has some names that could seriously put them on the map. Luka Modric is considered by some to be the best midfielder on the planet, and has become something of a legend at Real Madrid. With the two Ivans, Peresic, of Inter and Rakitic of Barcelona, by his side, that is a formidable unit by any standards.

Croatia have been drawn in Group D, where all the talk is about Argentina – but don’t be surprised if they give the South Americans a run for their money. At the very least, they should, on paper, be too strong for Iceland and Nigeria, so expect them to feature in the knockout stages.

But can they go even further? Bookmakers have quoted them at 9/2 to make the quarter finals and 12/1 to make the semis.

Colombia

What is it about South America and football? Brazil’s pedigree is well-know, and Ecuador came close to eliminating Argentina in the qualifiers. Their neighbours, Colombia are through to the World Cup proper, however, and are not a team to be underestimated.

Four years ago, they made it as far as the quarter finals before coming unstuck against Brazil, and those in the know feel they could go even further this year. James Rodriguez was the top goal scorer in the entire tournament last time around, and the team has definitely matured in the past four years.

Drawn alongside Poland, Japan and Senegal, it would be a major shock if Colombia didn’t make the knockout stages, but just how deep could they go? They are 11/1 to make the semis and 25/1 to feature in the final. Don’t rule it out.

Peru

Here’s yet another South American outfit that can take on anyone on their day. A team that lost four of its first six qualifying matches might not sound like a great shout – but a team that does so and then has the tenacity to fight back and scramble into the final stages of the World Cup is another matter.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that Peru drew both legs of their matches against Argentina in the qualifiers. This is a team that seems to relish being underestimated. They are alongside France, Denmark and Australia in Group C, and if they can get past Denmark to make the knockout stages, who is to say what additional shocks they can pull off? In many ways, Peru are the ultimate dark horses – 14/1 to make the quarter finals? Now that has got to be worth a couple of pounds.

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