Before every major tournament starts, there is always a lineup of the “usual suspects” most likely to win it and more often than not, one of these usual suspects usually does win it.
For La Liga trophy, it’s either Real Madrid or Barcelona, for the Premier League, it’s either of the Manchester clubs (City or United) or the London clubs (Arsenal or Chelsea). The same goes for the World Cup as before every tournament, it’s usually the same names mentioned: Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Uruguay, France, Spain, England, The Netherlands etc.
Russia 2018 could, however, see the emergence of a new winner (in the mould of Greece at Euro 2004, Hellas Verona in the 1984-1985 Serie A season or Leicester City in the 2015-2016 Premier League season).
Here is a look at 5 teams that have the potential to cause major upsets in Russia 2018:
Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio will be looking to do better than he and the team have done at the last two tournaments; semi-final loss to Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup (though it was with an experimental team) and an okay performance at the Confederations Cup where the team went out in the semi-finals.
The jury is still out on coach Osorio as certain members of the Mexican press have still not forgiven him for his naïve decision to go toe-to-toe with Chile at the Copa America Centenario, a game where the Mexicans recorded their worst ever defeat (a 7-1 thrashing).
The team is finally shedding some of the experienced dead weight it has been carrying way too long. Long-serving center-back Rafael Marquez is no longer a certain starter in the team while some of the other veterans in the team including captain Andreas Guadardo have had to step up their games at both club and national level.
PSV winger Hirving Lozano is the hottest property in Mexican football right now and his pace, directness, and willingness to take on defenders will be a huge part of Mexico’s attacking threat as evidenced in his 2-goal salvo against Belgium in a recent friendly.
Prodigal son Carlos Vela is back playing his football in his homeland and has found his way back to the national fold while fingers are crossed that all-time top scorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will forget his horror show at West Ham and deliver the goods.
With the team’s characteristic doggedness, refusal to know when they are beaten and penchant for springing surprise results, El Tri will be a tricky opponent for the favoured nations at the World Cup.