The top five underdog sides at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Who are the underdogs of the 2018 World Cup?

Every four years, we sit back and watch as the best countries from around the globe battle it out to get their hands on the World Cup trophy.

We all expect the winners to be one of the usual favourites such as Brazil, Germany or Argentina but it is not uncommon to see an underdog side take the world by storm.

In recent years, we have seen Portugal, Greece and Denmark win the European Championships. Whilst sides such as North Korea, Ghana, South Korea and Costa Rica have stunned us all with brilliant performances at the World Cup.

Here are the top five nations who may cause major upsets in Russia 2018.


Iceland fans

Iceland fans during the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between France and Iceland at Stade de France on July 3, 2016 in Paris, France.

The footballing world was bewildered by Iceland’s Euro 2016 campaign.

Somehow, Iceland held Portugal to a 1-1 draw before beating an Austria side that contained both David Alaba and Marko Arnautovic.

In the last 16 of the tournament, Iceland humiliated England before being knocked out in the quarter finals by the hosts France.

Iceland then proved that their Euro 2016 campaign was not a fluke as they became the smallest nation ever to qualify for a World Cup.

The entire population of Iceland is less than 350,000 but they still managed to find 23 players who are capable of beating the best sides in the world.

Iceland topped their World Cup qualification group which contained the likes of Turkey and Croatia, the latter of which will face Iceland in Russia on the 26 June.

Croatia were beaten by Iceland during qualification and they have proved that they are fearless and capable of beating the biggest teams around.

Iceland’s team isn’t exactly filled with household names but the side plays as a unit and their passion and determination is what tends to lead them to victory.

Iceland Squad

Goalkeepers: Hannes Thor Halldorsson (Randers FC), Runar Alex Runarsson (FC Nordsjælland), Frederik Schram (FC Roskilde).

Defenders: Kari Arnason (Aberdeen), Ari Freyr Skulason (K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen), Birkir Mar Saevarsson (Hammarby), Sverrir Ingi Ingason (FC Rostov), Hordur Magnusson (Bristol City), Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson (Maccabi Haifa), Ragnar Sigurdsson (FC Rostov).

Midfielders: Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley), Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa), Arnor Ingvi Traustason (Malmo FF), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Olafur Ingi Skulason (Kardemir Karabukspor), Rurik Gislason (FC Nurnberg), Samuel Fridjonsson (Valerenga), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).

Forwards: Alfred Finnbogason (FC Augsburg), Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (FC Rostov), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Reading), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV Eindhoven).


Sadio Mane

SEVILLE, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 21: Sadio Mane of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Sevilla FC and Liverpool FC at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on November 21, 2017 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Group H is going to be very interesting to watch.

Senegal will face Colombia, Poland and Japan during their World Cup adventure and it is difficult to determine which of these teams will progress to the knockout stages of the competition.

Most would presume that Colombia and Poland will reach the last 16 but a Senegal side containing Sadio Mane, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Keita Balde Diao often refuse to be beaten.

Senegal have a strong, quick and skilful side who could cause problems for both Poland and Colombia.

The Colombians are expected to top the group but Senegal are capable of pulling off some shock results.

Group H is one of the toughest groups in Russia this summer and every team has the ability to beat one another if they are on top form.

It is absolutely vital that Senegal perform well if they are to live up to their potential.

Senegal have lost just one match in 90 minutes since March 26, 2016.

Senegal have been to just one World Cup previously, in 2002 and they reached the quarter finals.

No African team has ever reached the semi finals of the World Cup but that could change this year.

Senegal Squad

Goalkeepers: Khadim Ndiaye (Horoya AC), Abdoulaye Diallo (Rennes), Alfred Gomis (Torino).

Defenders: Kara Mbodji (Anderlecht), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Moussa Wague (Eupen), Saliou Ciss (Angers), Youssouf Sabaly (Bordeaux), Lamine Gassama (Alanyaspor), Armand Traore (Nottingham Forest), Salif Sane (Hannover 96).

Midfielders: Pape Alioune Ndiaye (Stoke), Idrissa Gueye (Everton), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham), Cheikh N’Doye (Birmingham).

Forwards: Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Diao Balde Keita (Monaco), Ismaila Sarr (Rennes), Diafra Sakho (Rennes), Moussa Konate (Amiens), Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke), Mbaye Niang (AC Milan).


The whole of Egypt watched in horror as Sergio Ramos brutally injured their King, Mohamed Salah, during the Champions League final in Kiev.

The Liverpool winger had a terrific season at Anfield as he netted 44 goals in all competitions for The Reds.

Salah also scored the goal that sent Egypt to their first World Cup in almost 30 years.

However, Salah isn’t the only reason why Egypt could be the dark horses in Russia. Egypt have a strong side including the likes of Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny and West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi.

Uruguay are the favourites to win Group A but if Egypt can beat the hosts, Russia, during match day 2, they will almost certainly progress to the last 16 where they will most probably face either Spain or Portugal.

Egypt have a fantastic record on home soil and have won the African Cup of Nations on 7 occasions.

The Egyptians have been to just 2 World Cups in their history and have scored just 3 goals.

Football is full of surprises and if anybody can defy the odds, it’s Mo Salah.

Egypt preliminary squad

Goalkeepers: Essam El Hadary (Al Taawoun), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly), Mohamed Awad (Ismaily).

Defenders: Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf (all Al Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Al Fateh), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Karim Hafez (Lens), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC), Amro Tarek (Orlando City).

Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz (both Zamalek), Shikabala (Al Raed), Abdallah Said (KuPS), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Kahraba (Al Ittihad), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Trezeguet (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos Athens).

Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Ahmed Gomaa (Al Masry), Kouka (Braga), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).


Christian Eriksen v Ireland

DUBLIN, IRELAND – NOVEMBER 14: Christian Eriksen of Denmark celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Republic of Ireland and Denmark at Aviva Stadium on November 14, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Denmark stunned football fans back in 1992 as they won the European Championships despite not even qualifying for the tournament.

The Danish national side were taken in as a late replacement for Yugoslavia and won the whole tournament.

This year, the Danes have a fantastic squad fronted by Tottenham’s talented midfielder, Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen is one of the most gifted playmakers in the world and he is bound to pick up plenty of goals and assists this summer in Russia.

Denmark haven’t lost a match since 2016 and have held the likes of Germany and Chile during their fantastic run.

Denmark don’t solely rely on Christian Eriksen. Their squad is filled with talented players who perhaps don’t get the credit that they merit.

Kasper Dolberg has the chance to prove himself on the World Stage this summer whilst Kasper Schmeichel and Andreas Christensen will protect the Danish goal.

Denmark will obviously face some tough opposition during their World Cup campaign but they have a strong enough squad to beat the best.

Denmark Preliminary squad

Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester), Frederik Ronnow (Brondby), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield).

Defenders: Simon Kjaer (Sevilla), Andreas Bjelland (Brentford), Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford), Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Jonas Knudsen (Ipswich), Peter Ankersen (FC Copenhagen).

Midfielders: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Lasse Schone (Ajax), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Deportivo La Coruna), Mike Jensen (Rosenborg), Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen), William Kvist (FC Copenhagen), Lukas Lerager(Bordeaux).

Forwards: Andreas Cornelius (Atalanta), Kasper Dolberg (Ajax), Martin Braithwaite (Bordeaux), Nicklas Bendtner (Rosenborg), Nicolai Jorgensen (Feyenoord), Pione Sisto (Celta Vigo), Viktor Fischer (FC Copenhagen), Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig).


Wahbi Khazri

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND – APRIL 29: Wahbi Khazri of Sunderland takes on Lewis Cook of AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match between Sunderland and AFC Bournemouth at the Stadium of Light on April 29, 2017 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

England fans know that winning the World Cup is extremely unlikely however it is inconceivable to the public that the Three Lions won’t get out of the group stage in Russia.

It is a situation that could become a reality if England aren’t clinical in their opening matches against Tunisia and Panama.

Tunisia are a seriously under rated side who are currently ranked as the 14th best team in the World by FIFA.

Their side doesn’t contain any world beaters or even any particularly well-known players but their team is known for grinding out results and keeping teams at bay.

Tunisia were undefeated in qualification for the World Cup and conceded just four goals during their run to Russia.

They have never progressed past the group stage but that could all change this summer.

Tunisia Squad

Goalkeepers: Farouk Ben Mustapha (Al Shabab), Moez Hassen (Chateauroux), Aymen Mathlouthi (Al Baten).

Defenders: Rami Bedoui (Etoile du Sahel), Yohan Benalouane (Leicester), Syam Ben Youssef (Kasimpasa), Dylan Bronn (Gent), Oussama Haddadi (Dijon), Ali Maaloul (Al Ahly), Yassine Meriah (CS Sfaxien), Hamdi Nagguez (Zamalek).

Midfielders: Anice Badri (Esperance), Mohamed Amine Ben Amor (Al Ahli Riyadh), Ghaylene Chaalali (Esperance), Ahmed Khalil (Club Africain), Saifeddine Khaoui (Troyes), Ferjani Sassi (Al Nasr), Ellyes Skhiri (Montpellier), Naim Sliti (Dijon), Bassem Srarfi (Nice).

Forwards: Fakhreddine Ben Youssef (Al Ittifaq), Saber Khalifa (Club Africain), Wahbi Khazri (Rennes).

Read more: World Cup 2018: Golden Ball betting guide

World Cup 2018: Golden Boot betting guide

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Denmark to win World Cup Group C: 9/2