World Cup 2018: Top 5 dark horses in Russia
After a very eventful club football season, it is now time to turn our attention to one of the biggest competitions in the game. Yes, the FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and things are getting more exciting day by day.
32 teams will participate in the tournament with the hope of giving their all and making their countries proud. However, there are a few sides with solid squads who have already received the 'World Cup favourites' tag going into the event; Germany, France and Spain to name a few.
While everyone is busy putting their money on these big guns, there are some dark horses in the background who could surprise the football world by taking home the trophy just like that.
Here are top 5 dark horses in this term's FIFA World Cup:
Led by veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner, Switzerland are placed in Group E along with Brazil, Costa Rica and Serbia. It is certainly not one the easiest groups, but the Rossocrociati have what it takes to qualify to the round of 16 of the tournament.
Switzerland is managed by Vladimir Petkovic, who took charge as the head coach of the side immediately after the 2014 World Cup, and has got a pretty decent record under the 54-year-old. Since the former Lazio manager took over, the team has won 24 of all the 38 games played marking a win record of 63.16%.
La Nati squad has a perfect mixture of experience and prospect. Lichtsteiner, who is expected to join English Premier League club Arsenal, will be leading the side from the back while youngsters like Denis Zakaria will play a crucial part in deciding the team's fate in the tournament.
Star Player - Xherdan Shaqiri
Despite his current club Stoke City being relegated from the Premier League, Xherdan Shaqiri had a decent season as he managed to score eight goals and assist seven more in the league.
The former Bayern Munich player hasn't exactly lived up to the initial expectations but remains as Switzerland's ray of hope in the World Cup.
Shaqiri scored three goals last term and is just four away from breaking the record for the most goals in the tournament by a Swiss player. His team needs him to be on the top of his game to be able to progress to the latter rounds.