World Cup 2018: Eyecatchers | Four Sides To Watch
The World Cup in Russia is on the horizon and Ross Casey is pinpointing four sides that can outrun their odds at the tournament.
Denmark @ 100/1
Denmark have been drawn in a group with France, Australia and Peru and in my opinion they can get through to the second stage.
Australia proved at the Confederations Cup they don’t have the defensive stability, Peru are an unknown quantity on European soil and France are likely winners but even at the Euros they struggled against the likes of Romania and toiled once they reached the final.
In Christian Eriksen, Denmark of course have a world class playmaker and his hat-trick in the second leg play-off was proof of that.
They are probably overly reliant on him, but if he performs like that throughout the tournament they can kick and scream further than you initially think – especially as they would likely face Iceland, Croatia or Nigeria in the last 16.
Colombia can welcome a fit again Radamael Falcao back into their squad along with a rejuvenated James Rodriguez.
They are in one of the most open groups of the tournament with Poland, Japan and Senegal and for me they could be one of the dark horses of the tournament.
They had their best ever World Cup last time out with a quarter-final finish and James Rodriguez winning the golden boot with six goals.
They were playing in South America then of course, which suited them, but in an open group and the likelihood of playing England in the second round you have to fancy their chances of at least equalling their quarter-final finish of 2014.
Sweden @ 80/1
The Swedes knocked Italy out of the World Cup with a 1-0 aggregate win over two legs, which was mightily impressive.
Janne Andersson has built a side full of energy, determination and skill and without the huge focal point of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they seem more of a solid outfit to me.
Emil Forsberg is blossoming into a real talent at Red Bull Leipzig and he is probably their best flair player, but with hard working forwards Marcus Berg and John Guidetti defending from the front, they will prove difficult to beat – as Italy found out.
They will be fighting for a second placed finish along with Mexico and South Korea and I am backing the European conditions to suit Sweden the best of those three.
Egypt @ 200/1
What can be said about Mo Salah that hasn’t already been said this season? The Liverpool forward is having the year of a lifetime at present – top scorer in the Premier League and pretty much singlehandedly taking his nation to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
He scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Congo – the last of which was a last minute penalty that is certainly worth a watch for the unbeliveable scenes of celebration after he puts it away. If he shows no sign of the injury that saw him come off in the Champions League final, they can cause a shock or two.
They have been drawn in a poor looking group of Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay – all three matches look winnable to me and they could certainly defy their odds of 200/1 come the end of their tournament.