As we head ever closer to the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar, fans of the beautiful game are getting increasingly excited about the upcoming tournament. As always, this will be a showcase of the best players and teams, and all with one singular ambition in mind, which is nothing less than lifting the iconic golden trophy itself.
While many of us undoubtedly focus our attention on the most famous talents, highlighting the favourite teams and their superstar players, we should also spare a thought for the underdogs. You know, those teams who are expected to do little more than make up the numbers, while competing amongst the 32 international selections that qualified.
The thing that makes football so special is that quite often, more frequently than many of us might care to admit, the minnows can sometimes cause huge upsets. Those classic David versus Goliath encounters can end up with the giant being felled, creating wonderful and unforgettable moments in World Cup history.
Arabian Betting has published the full World Cup 2022 schedule, drawing our attention to the initial group phase where potential upsets could happen, along with highlighting recommended and reliable online betting sites we can trust. But which teams are capable of producing the most unexpected results? Let’s take a look at underdogs who could have more bite than we imagined…
Picking a previous World Cup finalist might seem strange as a potential underdog, although that’s entirely because nobody expected Croatia to perform so well at the last tournament. First and foremost, they surprisingly dominated a group containing Argentina, Nigeria, and Iceland, willing all three games against those rivals.
After edging aside Denmark on penalties in the Round of 16, the Croatians then ousted the 2018 World Cup hosts Russia in the quarter-finals, then halted the march of England in the semi-finals after extra-time. The only side that could eventually stop Croatia was France in the Moscow final, but only after a pulsating match that could literally have gone either way.
They might have scraped past New Zealand to reach the 2022 World Cup, yet nobody should be fooled about the ambitions of Costa Rica in Qatar this year. They have become habitual qualifiers for the showpiece finals, having now reached three tournaments in a row, meaning they are certainly not here just to make up the numbers.
While their last appearance in 2018 was rather disappointing, few can forget the exploits of Costa Rica at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. This is because they actually topped a group featuring past winners and footballing superpowers, including England, Italy, and Uruguay. Sadly, after beating Greece on penalties in the Round of 16, their journey ended against the Netherlands, although not without a fight and another tense penalty shoot-out.
Impressed by Cameroon performances at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, footballing legend Pele was convinced an African team would claim the biggest prize before the year 2000. Many of Brazilian icon Pele’s predictions have caused amusement amongst fans, often for being considerably wide of the mark or seeming outlandish. Yet when it comes to his expectations for Africa, he could eventually be proven right.
Nobody will forget Cameroon at the 1990 tournament, especially when veteran forward Roger Milla danced at the corner flag to celebrate every goal. But while subsequent tournament appearances have been largely disappointing, there’s a growing sense they could be set to surprise again in 2022. The current generation is filled with talent, making The Indomitable Lions worth taking seriously and monitoring very carefully.
Considering the talented players Wales has produced over numerous generations, this will be their first appearance at a World Cup finals tournament since 1958. Just let this fact sink in for a moment, because when we think about Liverpool striker Ian Rush in the 1980’s, then Manchester United wing-wizard Ryan Giggs in the 1990’s, neither appeared at a World Cup tournament.
Fortunately for the darling of the current generation, Gareth Bale will be playing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. And after failing to qualify for the last fifteen tournaments, the whole of Wales will be urging their national team to success, hopeful that Bale and his compatriots can do their country proud. Do not underestimate their possibilities, because on their day, The Dragons might be capable of torching any rivals they face.