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Dark horses in the World Cup Qatar 2022

By Munir Sulaiman Nov 8, 2022
An artist paints flags of participating nations on a wall ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Karachi, PakistanPhoto: Shahzaib Akber/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Some nations enter the World Cup as overwhelming favourites, however history has shown never to underestimate the underdogs. 

Senegal  

Senegal team on the pitch. Photo: Backpagepix/Shutterstock.

Senegal will be chasing even more glory after securing their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2021. The Lions of Teranga hope to surpass their highest-ever finish in the tournament, reaching the quarter-finals in 2002.  

This team possesses a strong selection of stars from big clubs worldwide such as Chelsea, Everton and Liverpool. The winner of The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper, Édouard Mendy, stands in goal for Senegal at a towering 6ft 6ins.

Kalidou Koulibaly, holds the position of centre-back with his pace and power being a great asset to the team. In addition to Idrissa Gueye, known for breaking up play and frequent assists to the likes of Sadio Mane. 

The combination of these factors means Senegal should not be overlooked as a potential winner.   

Netherlands   

Netherlands team standing on the pitch. Photo: Mikolaj Barbanell/SOPA Images/Shutterstock.

A great footballing nation, the Netherlands enter the World Cup with an unwanted record for playing the most World Cup finals (three) without ever winning the tournament.  However, their fortunes may change following the appointment of Louis Van Gaal in 2021.  

The Dutch head coach arrived with an impressive resume, having coached world-renowned clubs such as Ajax, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Manchester United. He has lifted 20 trophies, most notably the Champions League in the 1994/95 season. Since his arrival, the Netherlands remain unbeaten in 15 matches, with 11 wins, four draws, and zero losses.  

The tactical switch from four at the back to three means Van Gaal’s side could pose an air of unpredictability and play to key players’ strengths. Captain Virgil Van Dijk’s leadership will be necessary if the Netherlands are to achieve greatness, and he has won every trophy at club level.

Another star man will be Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong. De Jong can control the tempo of a game with his passing and dribbling ability. This solidifies the Netherlands’ midfield dominance as they will not have to constantly chase the ball.  

These factors cannot be ignored and make them a dark horse. 

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