Each football tournament produces plenty of surprises, some of them which become memorable. World Cup is also one of them.
Over the years, the football's biggest event has produced some results which were nearly unthinkable. The journey of South Korea to semi-finals in the World Cup 2002 is the biggest example of how any team can produce a shock on a given day.
The 2010 edition saw Uruguay reach the semi-finals against all the odds, before ending the tournament fourth. It summed up how the tournament isn't only about big teams, but about which team can deliver on that particular game.
Each year, there are favorites, who are expected to perform well and win the tournament. Then there are teams who have nothing to lose, given no one expects them to win. And in between comes the 'dark horses', who are expected to perform well, but very few tip them to win the tournament.
This year's competition also has a fair few. Let's take a look at who are those teams.
1. Belgium: There is a very strong reason to consider Belgium as favorites, but it's way too early for that. The team managed by Roberto Martinez has many outstanding players like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois and Kevin de Bruyne. The quality in their midfield is second to none. Yet, they are no Spain or Germany. The growth of Belgium has begun only in recent time, and its fair to say not many within the team would actually believe they go till the end. Though, it won't be wrong to say given the quality they have, a surprise is very possible.
2. Croatia: They are arguably in the Group of Death, yet, the Croatian team will feel extremely confident of passing the group stage comfortably. That is a very minimum which the team should dream of, given they have the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic. The quality in their midfield is particulary good, and that might make them dream of winning the trophy. But in all honesty, that is improbable.
3. Uruguay: They were the dark horses back in 2010, they are the dark horses in 2018 as well. There is no denying the quality they possess. Well, not many teams can say they have two world class defenders in Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, and two strikers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Yet, beyond these four players, there isn't much quality. The good thing for Uruguay though is the fact they can claim to have the easiest group, with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as their opponents. A qualification from group stages should be all but confirmed, and with the four world class players, you can put a cent on them doing the unthinkable.