THE BLOG
29/05/2014 13:12 BST | Updated 29/07/2014 06:59 BST

Six 'Dark Horses' Who Could Be Contenders at the World Cup

With the World Cup just over two weeks away, fans from each nation will be predicting their team's chances in the prestigious tournament.

Tournament favourites Spain, Germany, Argentina and hosts Brazil are the teams on the lips of football fans when discussing who could lift the historic trophy.

But what about the teams who are not considered to have much chance of winning?

Over the years, the World Cup has thrown up its fair share of surprises and 2014 is sure to be no different.

So, read on to find six nations who could be 'dark horses' at this year's World Cup.

6. Chile

The South American team do not boast a squad brimming with star quality.

They do, however, work well together and with the correct tactics and some momentum could put together a great string of results at the World Cup.

Jorge Sampaoli's side earned wins in friendlies over Brazil and England and over both Uruguay and Paraguay during qualifying.

Chile may have hit their peak at the right time and they will be hoping that their star man Arturo Vidal will be fit after suffering a knee injury in May.

However, a difficult group featuring both Spain and the Netherlands may see them struggle to reach the knockout stages.

5. France

Despite a team full of world class players and a rich history, France have recently found themselves in limbo when it comes to major tournaments.

They failed to advance from the group stages at the Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 tournaments before managing to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.

They also only just managed to squeeze into this year's tournament, beating Ukraine 3-2 over two legs after losing the first 2-0.

However, it is hard to look past the talent of players such as Franck Ribery and Olivier Giroud.

If France can work together as a team and if Didier Deschamps can get the best out of his players, the team may be able to overcome their recent slump when it really matters.

4. Ivory Coast

The African nation went through their World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten, meaning that they are now unbeaten in their last 21 qualifiers.

This year's tournament is sure to mark legendary Ivorian and captain of the national side Didier Drogba's final World Cup.

At 36, the forward leads the line for the side whilst other top players such as Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony offer sublime support.

Sabri Lamouchi's side face Colombia, Japan and Greece in their group, which should see them at least reach the knockout stages.

Seen as the best African side at the tournament, the Elephants may have the chance to show the world what they can do this summer.

3. England

The Three Lions are never considered to be in with a chance of even reaching the final, especially given their history in the World Cup and the European Championships.

But Roy Hodgson has gone with a young, exciting side sprinkled with experienced players this year.

A decent qualifying campaign helped lift the side, whilst a challenging group consisting of both Uruguay and Italy will see them having to perform from the get-go, possibly benefiting them later on.

Many players are hitting a rich vein of form too, like Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, which should fair well in Brazil.

Never considered favourites, but never really counted out, England may have enough about them to offer up some surprises this time round.

2. Colombia

Colombia have failed to qualify for the last three World Cups and will be hoping to make a strong impression this year.

Fifth in the world rankings, boss José Pekerman has turned the national side into possible surprise contenders.

The nation's hopes somewhat rest upon the performance of star man and captain Radamel Falcao, whilst eyes will also be on club team-mate James Rodriguez.

The squad is expected to easily qualify from their group consisting of Japan, Ivory Coast and Greece.

1. Belgium

Considered by many to be one of the biggest dark horses for this year's World Cup, Belgium boast talent in every area of the pitch.

The squad consists of many Premier League stars, such as Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany and Chelsea star Eden Hazard, along with Adnan Januzaj and Romelu Lukaku.

But Belgium still remain dark horses due to their inexperience in the latter stages of national tournaments.

However, the European side seem to have come out of nowhere with their world class squad, so much so that the bookies have astonishingly made them fifth favourites to lift the trophy.

Marc Wilmot's side have an easy group featuring Algeria, Korea and Russia and have become genuine contenders to lift the trophy in Brazil.

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