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World Cup 2018: 4 surprises that can happen in the tournament

SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
5.06K   //    09 Jun 2018, 03:14 IST

Mane will spearhead Senegal in Russia
Mane will spearhead Senegal in Russia

Every World Cup edition brings with it a whole package of drama, delight and despair. It arouses emotions that can hardly be triggered by any other tournament in the world. But what it also brings to the table, like many other tournaments, is the element of surprise.

And surprises always around the corner in the World Cup. It was Costa Rica in 2014 and the knockouts of Italy and France in the group-stages left many rattled in 2010.

This World Cup has been full of surprises already, with the likes of United States, Italy and the Netherlands not in the tournament. The fact that Panama, Peru, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia are on their respective planes to Russia shows that we could be set to witness one of the most surprising World Cups of all time.

While surprises can’t be predicted before they hit us like lightning that very moment, here are things that can surprise us in the FIFA World Cup 2018.


#1 Senegal and their firepower

This time around, Senegal’s group has Colombia, Japan and Poland. These are three sides that aren’t really one of the top ones. While Colombia is a very good side, they don’t fall under the list of World Cup favourites. They do have the likes of Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, but one can’t really be sure if they will repeat their heroics of the last edition.

This will be the second time that Senegal will be playing the World Cup after their largely successful and impressive campaign back in 2002 when they beat France and held onto an entertaining 3-3 draw against Uruguay.

At the back, Senegal boast of the defensive prowess of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, whose performances for the Partenopei have attracted interest from other clubs and he is a vital part of the side at the club.

They have West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate and Everton’s Idrissa Gueye in midfield and both of them are one of the most feared midfield operators in England, despite playing for sides that are outside of the Premier League’s top six - West Ham and Everton.

This time around, Senegal will be spearheaded by the mercurial Sadio Mane, who played a vital role in guiding Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League this season. Keita Balde Diao scored eight times and assisted five times for Monaco in the Ligue 1 this season and will be an important part of Les Lions de la Teranga.

One would be making a grave error in underestimating this Senegalese side, which will look to repeat its heroics of 2002 all over again.

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SENIOR ANALYST
Freelance Football Writer. CalcioMercato, TheseFootballTimes InBedWithMaradona, VAVEL, OutsideoftheBoot, ForzaItalianFootball, BackPageFootball. Articles have been cited at The Sun, The Mirror and Manchester Evening News
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