The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is only a matter of weeks away, and punters everywhere are still desperately trying to decide who their World Cup dark horse bet will be for the title. It’s a common theme that runs through World Cups every four years; we all remember South Korea scaring the best of teams in 2002.
Despite this, there will always be the (rightful) temptation to strongly consider the favourites. Yes, Brazil will have a home advantage and are favourites at 3/1. Yes, Argentina have a blistering attack featuring Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero and are strong second favourites at 5/1. However, there is one thing you can guarantee about a World Cup: there will be surprises, and if you can find them, they will be available at extremely tempting odds.
The Dark Horses
Belgium: It is maybe a bit of a stretch to call the Belgians ‘dark horses’, it is well worth noting that they have a good chance at decent odds. Featuring such players as Premier League stars Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany, the Belgians are enjoying an excellent time for talent. With a relatively kind group, they should be locks to advance to the knockout stages, and have the talent to beat anyone on their day.
Uruguay: Uruguay provide serious value. Not only do they boast two incredible strikers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, but they also have the advantage of playing on their home continent. As no non-South American team has yet won a World Cup in South America, Uruguay could have both history and form on their side.
Japan: The Japanese team features some underrated talent that has played in some of Europe’s top leagues, including the likes of Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda. They play nice football and, if they can find a reliable striker, could scare a few teams and it is fair to say that their group could have been worse; Japan could be well worth a punt.
Bosnia: Despite this being their first ever World Cup, Bosnia are definitely not going to be a tournament whipping boy, but an extremely strong qualifying campaign and star players such as Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko could provide an excellent foundation on which to build. With a bit of luck, the Bosnians could surprise people.