The teams that will compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup were eventually decided thanks to a goal scored by Gareth Bale with his left foot and an unsuccessful clearing attempt made by Andriy Yarmolenko, captain of the Ukrainian national team. From Europe, at least. It was Captain Bale and his Welsh gladiators – namely the Herculean Ben Davies and the brick wall known as Wayne Hennessy – who emerged victorious in Cardiff on Sunday afternoon, securing their passage to Qatar, which will be their first appearance at football’s greatest showpiece in over 60 years. This will be Wales’s first appearance at the tournament in over 60 years. Oddschecker, a website that evaluates and ranks the several online bookmakers who are offering betting opportunities and freebies in conjunction with the World Cup, has concluded that Wales had a respectable possibility of advancing out of Group B and into the knockout rounds. They may pull off some unexpected victories along the road, similar to what they did at Euro 2016 when they defeated Belgium on their way to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
The idea of teams who are not widely expected to do well but end up surprising everyone is known as “dark horses,” and it is a large part of what makes the FIFA World Cup such an entertaining competition. It also demonstrates how any side with pure resolve, smart tactics, unusual heroes, and a little bit of luck can carve their name into the annals of the World Cup.
At the last World Cup, it was Croatia that had one of the most impressive runs to get all the way to the championship game, where they were ultimately defeated by France. When the tournament was held in Brazil four years ago, Costa Rica advanced to the quarterfinals by claiming first place in a group that also included Uruguay, England, and Italy.
Dark horses are certainly a source of excitement, which is one of the primary reasons why fans consider it to be the finest game on the world. This is despite the fact that elite teams who are defeated by dark horses may not find them to be a source of pleasure.
So, who are the teams to watch out for in the World Cup in Qatar in 2022? We have picked the top five teams in this competition who have a chance to emerge as surprise winners.
The trophy for the World Cup
The next FIFA World Cup in Qatar will feature some formidable long shots.
Dark Horse Team 1- Netherlands
The fact that the Netherlands did not qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was one of the tournament’s biggest shocks. However, the Dutch are currently competing in the tournament with a powerful team, positioning them as the greatest underdog to win the competition.
Louis van Gaal has picked a roster that has an outstanding combination of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming young players. Remko Pasveer, who plays for Ajax, has been named the starting goalkeeper for Ajax in Qatar. Van Gaal is in the enviable position of having an abundance of defensive options to select from. The excellent Tyrell Malacia, Daley Blind, Jeremie Frimpong, and Denzel Dumfries are the team’s full-backs. Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Jurrien Timber, Stefan de Vrij, and Nathan Ake are the team’s center backs.
In the central area of the park, Frenkie de Jong will serve as the principal conductor and orchestrator. He will be accompanied by Kenneth Taylor, Xavi Simons, who is a good player, Teun Koopmeiners, who plays for AC Milan, and Kenneth Koopmeiners.
Although the Dutch assault is successful, it does not seem to be very striking on paper. In the assault, Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo will have the primary responsibility of delivering the goods. However, in order to unsettle the competition, they will want assistance from Luuk de Jong and Wout Weghorst.
Croatia is the Dark Horse Team No. 2
Will the Vatreni be able to pull off the same feat as in 2018? After Croatia made it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1998, many people thought it would be next to impossible for the country to go even better in subsequent tournaments. They had to wait for twenty years, but eventually they made it to the final in Russia. And now they are back, with the potential to improve upon their 2018 performance and win the World Cup.
A number of the team’s former World Cup stars, in addition to numerous new players, will compete in this year’s tournament. Dominik Livakovic of Dinamo Zagreb will get the nod to start in goal for this match. Additionally, Croatia has the defensive pairing of Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida, which played a significant role in the 2018 World Cup and is available to them. Josko Gvardiol of Red Bull Leipzig stands out as the most impressive member of the defensive unit.
They have competent backups in Lovro Majer and Luka Sucic, who can make their presence known as impact subs. Croatia are still strong in the modified formation thanks to Luka Modric, Marcelo Borozovic, and Mateo Kovacic, who will dictate the pace for the squad in the center of the park.
Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, and Ante Budimir are the three players that will most likely start in the attack position. Do not, however, write off Marko Livaja just yet since he was awarded a contract with HNK Hajduk Split as a reward for an outstanding season in the Croatian league.
Uruguay is the Dark Horse Team 3’s opponent.
The team that has won the world championship twice has always been considered a long shot to win the competition. On their best day, La Celeste is capable of defeating anybody (ask Portugal and England fans). The club has relied heavily on the striker pairing of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez for a number of years, and despite the fact that both players are still on the roster, it is unreasonable to anticipate stellar play from them given their advancing years. In this respect, the remarkable Darwin Nunez will be responsible for an important part.
The fact that the Liverpool player has begun to find his form at the ideal moment will certainly be music to the ears of the manager, Diego Alonso. The fact that Uruguay have players of world-class calibre in every position contributes significantly to the risk they pose as an opponent. In the back line, they feature defenders such as Mathas Olivera of Napoli, Ronald Araujo of Barcelona, and Jose Maria Gimenez of Atletico Madrid. In addition to that, they have the seasoned Diego Godin.
In the middle of the field, they have a formidable trio consisting of Matas Vecino of Lazio, Rodrigo Bentancur of Tottenham, and Federico Valverde of Real Madrid. In addition to that, they have players such as Lucas Torreira, Manuel Ugarte, and Facundo Pellistri, who is a rising star for Manchester United. They will have the dependable Fernando Muslera in goal for them, who has been the main goalkeeper for the squad since the year 2010.
Dark Horse Team 4- Senegal
The defending champions of Africa are excited to compete in this year’s FIFA World Cup. The squad is in a group alongside the Netherlands, Ecuador, and the host nation of Qatar, which should be rather straightforward. The fact that they were given a favorable draw, in addition to the strength of their team, positions them as one of the finest underdogs at the World Cup. After suffering an injury while playing for Bayern Munich, Senegal’s standout player Sadio Mane was in doubt as to whether or not he would be able to return to action. Fortunately, Mane was able to make a full recovery in time to go to Qatar.
Eduoard Mendy, who plays goalie for Chelsea, is a tremendous asset for Senegal. On the defensive end, it is anticipated that his colleague Kalidou Koulibaly would take the role of leader of the backline. He will get a significant amount of help from Ismail Jakobs of AS Monaco and Fode Ballo Toure of AC Milan. Ilimane Ndiaye, who plays for Sheffield United and has one cap for his country, was compared to Jakobs by the team’s head coach, Aliou Cisse.
The performance of Idrissa Gana Gueye of Everton, Cheikhou Kouyate of Nottingham Forest, and Nampalys Mendy of Leicester City will be crucial to the team’s success in the center of the field. They were all three included in the starting lineup for the championship game of the African Cup of Nations.
On the other hand, Senegal’s assault will be essential to how far they go in the World Cup. Mane and Ismaila Sarr of Watford will be entrusted with wreaking havoc on the flanks, while Famara Diedhiou, based on his achievements at the AFCON, may receive the nod for the striker position. Cisse has also shown confidence in attacker Nicolas Jackson, who does not yet have a cap for his country but was selected for the squad.
Dark Horse Team 5- Denmark
The Danes are quite experienced when it comes to playing the role of the underdog. Denmark’s national team was summoned from their vacation in 1992 to compete in the European Championships, where they went on to win their first major international championship. And they go to Qatar carrying the same notoriety with them. They have been drawn into Group D, which also includes the reigning champions France and Australia, thus their prospects of advancing to the next round are rather good.
Their top player, Christian Eriksen, is back to his old self only two years after having a heart attack during the 2020 European Championships. The fact that the midfielder has been one of the primary reasons for Manchester United’s spectacular revival since Erik Ten Hag took over as manager is excellent news for Denmark.
Kasper Schmeichel, who will be playing in goal, will be saddled with the responsibility of preventing the opponent from scoring. The seasoned combo of Simon Kjaer and Andreas Christensen will be competing against him in the next round. In front of them will be Thomas Delaney, who will play the position of primary destroyer in the center of the park with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. This will allow Christian Eriksen to join the attack higher up on the field since he will be freed up by Delaney’s presence.
In Qatar, the onus of the attack will fall squarely on the shoulders of Nice’s Kasper Dolberg, who will serve as the most important source of goals.