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5 World Cup teams that may surprise a few in Russia

Long shots but packed with talent.

THE WORLD CUP is shaping up to be unpredictable this summer with a number of nations in the running to bring home the trophy and with no clear favorite, there’s an opportunity for a number of underdogs.

France, Germany and Brazil are among the favorites but there are a number of outsiders who could do very well and become the so-called dark horses.

Here’s five nations that might surprise a few this summer:

Poland

Kamil Glik (POL) gol bramka radosc goal celebration, Robert Lewandowski (POL), Piotr Zielinski (POL), Arkadiusz Milik (POL) Poland players celebrate a goal during their World Cup 2018 Qualification campaign. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The Polish dropped just five points on the way to topping their group in qualifying for the tournament and are seeded first in what can be looked at as an easier group this summer.

Spearheaded by one of the world’s best in Lewandowski alongside experienced international players like Błaszczykowski, Piszczek, Glik, Zielinski and Milik; Poland will have a strong squad in Russia.

Senegal, Colombia and Japan will all be competitive group games but you can expect them to reach the knockout phases at the very least. They won’t fear anybody and have already proved in the past that they even have world champions Germany’s number.

Denmark

Ireland: Republic of Ireland v Denmark - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg Andreas Christensen celebrates a goal in their playoff victory over Ireland last year. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The Danish are a talented bunch. They had a strong qualifying campaign and convincingly dispatched of Ireland to book their place in the tournament last November.

With Eriksen the architect in attack, this Danish team is an industrious unit who can hurt you up front. They only conceded nine goals in their 12 qualification games, meaning they’ll be hard to break down and could frustrate opponents.

The French may be too strong for them but Peru and Australia in Group C are definitely winnable games for Denmark and with a favourable draw, they are potentially good enough to go far in the tournament.

Mexico

Poland: Poland v Mexico - International Friendly Mexico's Jesus Gallardo in action against Poland last November. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Mexico is another side with a strong blend of youth and experience, even Rafael Marquez was named in the squad at 39-years-old.

Javier Hernandez will form the spearhead in attack while the performances of the Dos Santos brothers, Hector Herrera and Hirving Lozano are all major factors in how they will get on in Russia.

In a group alongside defending champions Germany, South Korea and Sweden, Mexico will be difficult to beat and who knows if they muster up some momentum.

Croatia

Ukraine: Ukraine v Croatia - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Andrej Kramaric celebrates scoring a crucial goal in Croatia's qualification campaign. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The World Cup comes at the perfect time for the Croatians. Zlatko Dalić will bring a squad possessing a great blend of youth and experience in what may be their best chance of success at a major tournament for the foreseeable future.

Luka Modric, Mario Mandžukić , Vedran Corluka and Ivan Rakitić will more than likely play in their last World Cup and will form the spine of the team while the likes of Ivan Perišić, Dejan Lovren, Mateo Kovačić, Sime Vrsaljko and Marko Pjaca are all in their prime.

In one of the more exciting groups, Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria will make for tough company but the two teams that come out of this group will do well in the tournament. They could give the Argentinians a good rattle too.

England

England v Italy - International Friendly - Wembley Stadium Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling will be a key man for Gareth Southgate's side this summer. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

They consider themselves contenders but although England probably won’t win it, don’t be at all surprised if they do reasonably well in Russia. They’ve a stronger squad than they’re given credit for and a good start would instill a dangerous confidence.

The foundations of this team will more than likely consist of Spurs’ Dier, Alli and Kane and a positive start against Tunisia would do wonders for England’s big ambitions.

Gareth Southgate’s side could definitely surprise a few.

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