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World Cup 2014 – Four Potential Surprise Packages

With 2014 now starting to appear on the horizon, we take a look at four sides who will fancy their chances of following in the foot steps of the likes of; South Korea (2002), Uruguay (2010), Turkey (2002) & Croatia (1998) as the shock success story of next summers world cup.


These days the talents of the current Belgium side are not exactly amongst football’s biggest secrets so there will be some who question their place on this list. It should however be noted that this is a nation who have failed to qualify for the last five major tournaments – on the majority of those occasions not even getting anywhere near.

That baron spell looks set to end this time round with Scotland’s shock win over Croatia meaning Belgium are now favourites to clinch automatic qualification. Whilst management will be keen to keep a lid on expectations if Belgium can hit the ground running they could cause real damage in Brazil – you only have to go through their squad for evidence to support that view. Along with that they should only continue to improve as the event approaches given the youthful make up of their squad, with both Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke in particular likely to have grown yet further by next summer.

Despite their notable talents what is perhaps most key to their success is coach Marc Wilmots – for prior to his appointment Belgium were more a team of talented individuals rather than effective unit they are now.


Colombia have failed to make the last three finals; that however should not be the case this term as they sit comfortably second in the ever competitive South American qualification group. Despite their persistent struggles in recent qualifications their form this time round should come as no shock – given this is as strong as a team as Colombia have ever been able to call on.

Radamel Falcao needs no introduction, James Rodriguez has like Falcao just been signed by money bags Monaco whilst his ex Porto team-mate Jackson Martinez is also attracting vast transfer interest this summer. These three attacking talents are not the only European based players the Colombians can call on with a strong core of the squad plying their trade for some of the continents top clubs; such as the likes of Juan Zuniga, Pablo Amero, Christian Zapata and Fredy Guarin – all who are key assets to some of serie A’s top sides.

What though makes the Colombians such a danger is that things have very much clicked on the pitch and with home continental advantage in their favour they certainly have the ability to go far.


Egypt are another side who have suffered a prolonged absence having not been present since 1990 – a particularly poor return considering the manner in which they dominated African football during the 00′s. That said recent times have been more than a little turbulent, with the nation failing to even qualify for the African Cup of Nations in both 2012 and 2013 – a tournament which prior to those failures they had won three consecutive times.

Under the leadership of American Bob Bradley they look to have overcome those recent troubles, progressing to the final round of qualification as comfortably as anyone. Progress to the finals is far from secure given the final round play off format of the African qualifiers could yet deal them a cruel hand. That said if they overcome that final obstacle they could become the African success of the games – with Bradley’s USA experience likely to prove a key advantage.

The Egyptians squad is one which is predominantly domestic based, that though should not be considered a weakness given the strength of that league – whilst this also means that unlike other nations their personnel are more than familiar with each other. Finally in Mohamed Salah Egypt might just possess one of the hottest young talents in world football.

Bosnia and Herzegovinia

Having been the nearly men of European qualification for so long Bosnia look set to finally make their major championship debut next summer. Their bids to make both the last world cup and European championships were ended by close play off defeats to Portugal. The most recent defeat was particularly hard to take given they were only a whisker away from beating France to top spot of their qualification group.

This time round though there should be no play off heartache with the Bosnians unbeaten in their six games to date – having scored 23 and conceded just three. Given their wait for this opportunity Bosnia will be keen to make the most of it – this is a squad packed with experience who will bring with them a strong togetherness given the majority have been part of the national set up for a vast number of years. There is also no shortage of class within the Bosnian set up – Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Vedad Ibisevic being the most notable of these.

If the draw is kind then 2014 could be a huge one for Bosnia and their prolonged wait for major tournament football might well prove well worth it.