With the first week of September came an influx of teams that booked their place at next summer’s World Cup. Here, we take a look at four of the latest teams to qualify, some footage of their fans how they might fare in Russia !
Japan (150/1 – qualified 31 August 2017)
Japan finished bottom of Group C in 2014 and were sent packing from a ‘Group of Death’ that also contained the Ivory Coast – arguably the best African side bar none – and a Colombia squad considered something of a ‘dark horse’ ahead of the tournament.
Tip: The competition is shaping up to be stiff and, as decreed by popular culture, countries are only as good as their last World Cup. However, if the Japanese can avoid the rotten luck of being drawn into an extremely awkward group again, they will be worth watching.
Mexico (66/1 – qualified 1 September 2017)
Last time out, Mexico successfully negotiated the group stage for the fifth time in succession, but ‘El Tri’ would once again be a plaything for the stronger teams in the competition. Nonetheless, West Ham striker Javier ‘Chicarito’ Hernandez looks set for a strong World Cup next year, and his efforts could be the key to the success of the Mexicans.
Tip: Mexico have a knack for progressing from the group stage, and we fancy them to do it again!
Belgium (16/1 – qualified 3 September 2017)
Now that the golden generation will be four years older and wiser, and in a more familiar climate, the current Belgium squad has what it takes to go all the way. With Hazard now returning to full fitness, the latest football betting odds price Belgium at 16/1 to lift the cup.
Tip: Backing Belgium for a top four finish is well worth considering.
South Korea (250/1 – qualified 5 September 2017)
South Korea finished bottom in the group stage of 2014. Opposing sides should still watch out for danger man Son Heung-min, the lithe and versatile Tottenham forward who can also play out on the wing.
Tip: South Korea are very much a ‘form’ team. When the going is good, the team’s lightning-quick pace can stun far superior opponents. We’re quite confident they can get out of the group this time around!