Now that the World Cup groups have been drawn and the tournament is right around the corner, the fixture list can be salivated over with undivided attention. And while the tournament has its favourites to lift the trophy, there are plenty of underdogs ready to sweep the world off its feet with captivating performances. These three matches in particular are susceptible to upsets, which can shape the outcomes in each group when all is said and done.
Egypt vs. Russia
Russia has been favoured in multiple matches in Group A play, with the fact that they are the host nation surely playing into that to a degree. While that designation is understandable against Saudi Arabia, it is less so against an Egypt team that boasts a more dynamic attack than Russia by a longshot thanks to striker Mo Salah.
The Russians have been anything but impressive in recent international competition, failing to advance past the group stage of the 2014 World Cup as well as Euro 2016. Their listing as a favourite to move into the knockout rounds seems to be entirely based on the fact that they are hosting the tournament, because their form as an actual footballing squad has been dismal. While Russia knows that their players will not be suspended for doping as of now, that won’t save them from this potential upset.
Croatia vs. Argentina
Argentina are frequently one of the teams on the short list of contenders to win the World Cup. But this time around, they barely qualified for the tournament and have some squad concerns heading into Russia. They will be using a backup goalkeeper as their starter thanks to a knee injury to Sergio Romero, their back line is ageing in some spots and too inexperienced in others, and they don’t appear to have faith in any of their strikers.
Croatia, meanwhile, seem to be on solid footing heading into the World Cup. While the team and its fans do not have the cosiest relationship, their squad at least looks to be at its best with the tournament looming. In a battle between continuity and chaos, Croatia could have an unlikely advantage. At the very least, getting odds as lengthy as they will be for Croatia in this match will make them worth a look at using World Cup free bets from companies like Betfair and Ladbrokes on.
Switzerland vs. Brazil
While Brazil are one of the best teams in the World Cup, Switzerland could be a great play at long odds if they can put pressure on Brazil early and call into question their confidence. After the destruction of Brazil at the hands of Germany in 2014, the experienced Swiss team could rattle Brazil with a quick goal. With a veteran team full of skilled midfielders and defenders who have played at high levels, it is entirely possible that Brazil suffer another setback at the World Cup.
There will always be upsets at the World Cup, and these three matches appear to be strong candidates to fall into that category in Russia.