The World Cup dark Horses
We’ve already discussed one dark horse in Belgium, so Dominiho7 looks at two other potential dark horses of the World Cup tournament.
For me there are a further two, possibly three teams that could upset the applecart in Brazil this summer. One has been severely weakened today by the news their star striker has not be able to return to fitness in time following his cruciate knee injury in January. Another, managed by the Italian Alberto Zaccheroni will be taking an experienced squad to Brazil and will be hoping to make a massive impact. Whilst Chile, led by Alexis Sanchez have their best team since the days of Salas and Zamorano and they will be a force to be reckoned with in these finals.
Colombia will be without Radamel Falcao this summer as his race for fitness has failed. Had he been fit he would have been one of the front runners for the golden boot award but a knee injury sustained in January has scuppered those plans. The task of goalscorer will firmly lay on Jackson Martinez now. Untouchable since he joined Porto he has developed into a top class goal getter and has been linked with many of the top European clubs. Another player to watch out for is Monaco playmaker James Rodriguez, he can really make Colombia tick and the pressure that was on Falcao’s shoulders may well be passed to James. Other attacking threats include Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado and another Porto player, Juan Quintero.
They will face a stern test against another dark horse, Japan, in the group stage but I fully expect them to be in the knockout stages potentially facing England. If they can get past the second round then anything is possible for the South American nation.
Honda, Kagawa, Kiyotake, Endo and Okazaki, just a few of the players expected to perform for Japan in this World Cup. A team that have always had good players, this is possibly their strongest ever squad and can easily cause an upset in Brazil. Players such as Honda and Kagawa are able to perform at the highest level and there is no better place than a World Cup. Kiyotake will be looking to put his clubs disappointing season behind him, (they were relegated from the German Bundesliga) as he will look to help Japan, at the very least, climb out of the group phase. Striker Kakitani hasn’t performed to the best of his ability for club side Cerezo this year as his striker partner, Diego Forlan, has been taking all the plaudits. He will be looking forward to the break from J1 and will hope to be amongst the goals in Brazil.
Like Columbia, they should get out of their group at the expense of Greece and Ivory Coast. A dodgy defence is worrying, but if Okazaki can bring his goalscoring ability with him (he has a goal every 2 games for Japan) then he could well be amongst the top scorers come the end of this tournament.
The days of Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamorano are long gone; all hail their new king in Alexis Sanchez. The Barcelona player will be key to everything that Chile do this summer. It looks increasingly unlikely that he will stay with Barcelona after this summer and this is a perfect place for Sanchez to put himself in the shop window. Midfielder Arturo Vidal will be expected to lead from the middle as he will add the grit and determination, coupled with some playmaking ability. With the tournament being on their continent expect a few upsets from the Chilean’s as they do look like strong opposition. They have already beaten England 2-0 in a friendly this year and they are a team that should not be underestimated.
Three teams that have much to prove and if they can qualify from their groups then anything is possible, none of the “big” teams will want to fancy these three and will hope to avoid them.