All the spots for this summer’s World Cup in Russia are penciled in and the typical big boys Brazil, France, and Germany are favorites to hoist the trophy come July. While they are more than favored to become the world champions, there are plenty of underdogs that could shock the tournament. The qualifiers provided plenty of drama as Argentina barely managed to qualify, former world football powerhouse Italy fell short, and the Americans were unable to make it. The World Cup finals will hopefully provide just as much drama as we look at the possible Dark Horses in Russia this summer.


Poland is back on the world stage for the first time in 11 years and many are calling this the greatest Polish team of all time. Robert Lewandowski led all players in qualifying with 16 goals and has the ability to change a game at any time. If Arkadiusz Milik is able to get healthy by the summer their attack has the potential to become even more lethal. Łukasz Piszczek and Kamil Glik are both experienced defenders in Europe and rocks at the back. Piotr Zieliński and Karol Linetty eject some youth into this team and have shown how much talent they have in the Italian top division. With a good mixture of youth and experience, this “golden generation” of Polish football could turn some heads in Russia next summer.


The shock nation of the 2016 Euros will be looking to cause some more chaos in Russia this summer. They showed no nerves, relishing the underdog role and will have to continue to carry a chip on their shoulder as they appear in their first ever World Cup. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, depending on his health, will be crucial to this Iceland side if they want to get close to the knockout rounds.

They have no expectations from outside Iceland, with their odds at 250-1 according to SkyBet, and they will look to build on their impressive campaign in the Euros.


Julen Lopetugui has his Spanish side looking rejuvenated heading into Russia this summer. After back-to-back disappointing outings in the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Euros, they appear ready to get back on the big stage.

The experience of Gerald Pique, Sergio Ramos, and Cesar Azpilicueta at the back along with David De Gea in goal gives Spain a massive boost. In the qualifiers, Isco was utilized to great effect as a false nine and will be one to watch in Russia to possibly steal the show, especially if he carries over his club form. A much-needed mixture of youth and experience has been injected into Lopetugui’s side and they are riding high into Russia expecting to go far.


James Rodriguez was mostly unknown before he led Columbia into Brazil 2014 and completely stole the show. Rodriguez torched the nets scoring six goals in route to the quarterfinals four years ago. Now they are much more experienced along with a healthy Falcao this time around.

After missing the World Cup in Brazil with a knee injury, Falcao looks healthier than ever and primed to lead his nation in Russia. Columbia has some promising youngsters, Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina, in defense. If Sanchez can continue the form he’s shown for Tottenham in the Premier League, he’ll be a lock for a starting spot in Russia. Mina has had a rough start to life in Barcelona but he’s one of the most promising center backs in the world and Columbia will need him to be at his best. Columbia’s outing in 2014 was a surprise to many but don’t be so surprised if they light up Russia this summer.


The seven-time African Champions are back on the world stage appearing in their first world cup since 1990, and Egyptians are more than excited.

Expectations are not high at all for Egypt, as their odds to win it are 200-1 according to SkyBet, but the players believe they are more than capable of going far. Mohamed Salah is the headliner for The Pharaohs, but they have a squad of hardworking capable players. Ahmed Hegazi and Ahmed El Mohamady are both solid at the back and Mohamed El Neny holds down the midfield. In the qualifiers, they only netted eight goals in six matches and if they want any chance of advancing, they'll have to get their attack firing. Look for Salah to put on a show for Egypt in route to the knockout rounds.