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2018 World Cup: 5 underdogs who can make a deep run in the tournament

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4.98K   //    14 Jun 2018, 14:37 IST

The year of the surprises?
The year of surprises?

Every tournament or competition in the world has a team which overperforms to an extent. This 'fairy-tale' that sports promises is something that excites fans. In the recent past we have seen teams like Leicester City win the Premier League, Atletico Madrid usurping the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid etc. Even teams like Burnley, Southampton and Newcastle United have clinched unlikely European spots in the last few years.

In the past few World Cups, teams like Costa Rica, Senegal, Ghana, South Korea and Turkey have all made impressive and unlikely runs in the competition. Costa Rica topped a group with heavyweights England, Italy and Uruguay. They were eliminated by the Dutch in the quarterfinals in 2014 on penalties. South Korea and Turkey both made it to the semi-finals in 2002 and the African teams always surprise in the World Cup.

This year has a few wild-cards as well, so let's look at which teams may pull off a surprise at the World Cup.

#5 South Korea

The Taegeuk Warriors are here to wage war in Russia.
The Taegeuk Warriors are here to wage war in Russia

In a group with Germany, Sweden and Mexico, South Korea aren't fancied at all. Germany are the obvious favorites in this group, with most people pegging Mexico or Sweden to take the second berth with Die Mannschaft. However, South Korea are getting lost in the discussion. Led by their talismanic forward Son Heung-Min, South Korea are underdogs in every right of the word.

South Korea may not have the deepest squad, but their talent cannot be disputed. Their captain Ki Sung-Yueng has been a star in the Premier League for quite a few seasons. They have the young and exciting star Hwang Hee-Chan and can trust midfielder Koo Ja-Cheol. Their organised system saw them finish runners-up behind Iran in the AFC Qualification.

The friendlies haven't been kind to South Korea. In 5 friendlies, they have one win, one draw and three losses. However, I believe that they have enough oomph to impress in the tournament. They have been drawn against Germany, Mexico and Sweden, and feel they should be able to get through the group stage and face either Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland or Costa Rica in the next round. Unless they face Brazil, they may just get to the quarters of the tournament.

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