Iran To Senegal: 4 Underdog Teams In FIFA World Cup Likely To Surprise Fans
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is likely to see several underdog fairytales like the Croatian golden generation's run till the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is less than a month away and Qatar is going to make history by becoming the first Arab country to host football's most prestigious title. A total of 32 teams will be playing for the coveted trophy and aim to achieve the World Champion dream.
While some top-ranked, seeded teams are often considered favourites to progress ahead in the knockout stages and eventually win the title, the FIFA World Cup has witnessed stories of many underdog teams that have written history during their time at football's biggest stage.
From the Croatian golden generation's dream run in 2018 to Costa Rica's campaign in 2014, football as a game always remains unpredictable until the end and these teams left a legacy as an example.
Here are some of the underdog teams that can script fairytales in Qatar during the FIFA World Cup 2022.
To begin with, Iran is going to Qatar as the highest-ranked Asian team in the World Cup, representing the Asian Football Confederation. Currently ranked at number 20 globally, they find an experienced coach in Carlos Quieroz, who has managed the national team in the last two world cups (Brazil 2014, Russia 2018). Under Quieroz's management, Iran was able to stop Argentina until the final minutes before Lionel Messi curved the ball to beat Iran 1-0 in 2014. Iran proved to be a challenging opponent for Argentina, who later cruised to the finals of the World Cup.
Fast forward to Russia 2018, when Quieroz guided the team against Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo's decisive penalty got saved and a late penalty helped Iran finish the match with a 1-1 draw. They also faced Spain in that edition of the World Cup.
This time, a series of uphill tasks awaits Iran after getting drawn into Group B alongside the US, England and Wales. The US vs Iran match is one of the most anticipated in the upcoming world cup, especially from the lens of history and contemporary politics. Quieroz and his team will also count on the Iranian fanbase that will travel to Qatar and support their national team at a time when the World Cup is being played in close proximity to Iran.
Also Read: Éder Militão To Virgil Van Dijk: Defenders To Watch Out For In FIFA World Cup 2022
Following their 4-0 victory against Jamaica in Toronto, Canada qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 after 36 years. They last appeared in the 1986 World Cup held in Mexico. The Canadians have a huge task ahead of them for qualification to the knockout stage after getting drawn into Group F with Morocco, Croatia and Belgium.
Manager John Herdman would hope to pull off a miracle by counting on the experience and the skills of star defender Alphonso Davies, who has taken the footballing world by storm with his pace and skills. His performance against FC Barcelona and his idol Lionel Messi saw Bayern Munich defeat the Catalans 8-2. With a challenging group ahead, Herdman would aim for glory and script a fairytale that sees Canada qualifying for the knockout stage at Qatar 2022.
Denmark is going to the World Cup with a bold message, protesting against Qatar as the host. The Danes will be donning jerseys with faded crests and logos to protest against the human rights violations and the deaths of migrant construction workers in Qatar, who made the World Cup in the desert country, a possibility.
Denmark had a splendid run in the EURO 2020 where they lost their star striker Christian Eriksen after he suffered a heart attack on the pitch while playing against Finland. The Finnish players came together with the Danish players and helped Eriksen get out of the stadium. Finnish fans also showed support for the Danish fans during the tough time. But from here, Denmark went on to the semi-finals of the EURO 2020 before losing to England in a heartbreaking semi-final match.
The Danes are likely to make a statement both on and off the pitch. In the previous World Cup in Russia, the team went to the Round of 16 before losing to eventual finalists Croatia on penalties. They will hope to bounce back and make another impact in Qatar.
Denmark was drawn into Group D where they will face Tunisia on November 22, Australia on November 30 and defending champion France on November 26.
Senegal will be going to the World Cup as the current champions of the Africa Cup of Nations. Manager Aliou Cissé takes a team stacked up with some of the game's best players featuring in particular positions. In goal, Cissé will rely on the safe gloves of Chelsea first-choice goalkeeper Édouard Mendy.
In defence, Cissé gets the experience and leadership of Kalidou Koulibaly, who will provide a hard time for defenders to go past him and break the clean sheet. Former Paris Saint-Germain player Idrissa Gueye will feature in the midfield, with Cissé hoping to build up the attack. For attacking, Senegal can rely on their best player, Sadio Mané. The Bayern Munich forward and Liverpool legend has got the experience required to play at the highest level. Mané finished second in the 2022 Ballon D'or votings behind Karim Benzema and the Senegalese maestro would aim for national glory at football's biggest stage in Qatar.
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