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Dark horses to progress to the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup



Dark horses to progress to the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is always full of surprises, and this year’s tournament in Qatar is once again shaping up to be one of the most competitive in the storied history of the world’s most popular sporting event. Kicking off on November 20th, Brazil, France, Argentina and England are the pre-tournament favourites at 4/1, 11/2, 13/2 and 15/2 respectively.

While there are half a dozen countries which are all but certainties to progress to the Round of 16, there are a number of talented teams who could be surprise packets and sneak into the knockout stages of the tournament unexpectedly.

With that in mind, read on and take a look at three nations who could cause the better teams some headaches and potentially come out of their group – even if the bookies don’t expect them to.



The Welsh go as far as their star winger Gareth Bale takes them. While the former Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid player is no stranger to big games – 2022 will be his first World Cup campaign. With Iran, USA and rivals England in their group, they have a good chance of finishing second if all goes to plan. If they are to beat Iran and lose to England as they are expected to do, that will set up a do-or-die clash with the United States.

While USA are currently slight favourites to win that game and continue onto the Round of 16, Wales have enough talent to cause the upset. If Bale can play up to his potential and get help from the likes of Aaron Ramsey – it may be an all-United Kingdom affair progressing out of Group B.

For those who enjoy punting on long shots, you can bet online and secure 125/1 odds for Wales to do the unthinkable and win the World Cup.



In what could end up being one of the most tightly-contested groups at this year’s World Cup, Serbia have a real chance of stealing second spot in Group G from the slightly favoured Switzerland. Pre-tournament favourites Brazil appears to be a lock for the top spot, while African nation Cameroon is widely tipped to finish bottom.

Serbia will take plenty of confidence into the tournament, having won their two most recent fixtures against respected sides Norway and Sweden 2-0 and 4-1 respectively. If they can take that form to Qatar and stay injury free – they’re a team you don’t want to face in a one-off knockout fixture.



In what has been an impressive run to World Cup qualification, of which included wins over the likes of Andorra, Albania, San Marino and Sweden – to coincide with draws to Hungary and heavyweights England – Poland is a solid team without too much expectation. Their qualification marks the first time they have reached the pinnacle of international football since 1986. Their success will be heavily dependent on the production of star Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski, whose goal scoring prowess makes him one of the most dangerous forwards in the tournament.

With Argentina tipped overwhelmingly to top their group, the second team to progress from Group C will likely be between Poland and Mexico. The Central American nation is the bookies’ favourite to move on to the Round of 16 – however – with Poland’s blend of experienced veterans and talented youth in their squad – don’t be surprised if Czesław Michniewicz can pull off the upset and lead his country through to the knockout stages.


We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Dark horses to progress to the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup.’ Who do you think will be the surprise package of the 2022 FIFA World Cup? Let us know!


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Jacob graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Reading. An avid footballer, he spent time under the FAW academy programme as well as Cardiff Corinthians. Later going on to play for his university and Wellington United whilst residing in New Zealand. He currently resides in Frome, Somerset. You can contact him at [email protected]


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