With the World Cup less than a year away, it's time to look at some potential dark horses that could shock the competition next year.
In the 2010 World Cup, there would have been few pundits to have predicted Uruguay would have come to within 90 minutes of making a World Cup final.
Here, we look at three potential teams to look out for in the next World Cup:
Belgium are a national team that have gone from strength-to-strength over the last couple of seasons, with most of their squad plying their trade in the top European leagues.
This has meant a surge in their rankings in recent years and their reputation as a team that could have an impact in a 2014.
They are regarded as the main ‘dark horse’ for next year’s competition, with them possessing one of the most solid defences on the international stage.
Their defence contains the likes of Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen and if the opposition can’t score then they can’t win the game.
Couple their solid defence with some of the best attacking talent with the likes of Eden Hazard means that this team has goals in them and they could cause a lot of teams problems.
I fully expect them to qualify beating Croatia to first place in their group and then dependent on the draw I would presume the team could easily make the quarterf-inals and maybe even go further.
Their key is a tight defence.
Colombia have risen in the world rankings to currently occupy third spot and are having a very impressive qualifying campaign.
Currently sitting second in the South American qualification campaign, three points behind with a game in hand against Argentina, shows this team possess the capabilities to shock some of the more fancied international teams.
Their strength comes from having a solid spine to their team with the likes of David Ospina, Freddy Guarin and Radamel Falcao having a lot of pressure put on their shoulders to be the start performers for their country.
Ospina has only concede seven goals in qualification, which is the best in South America and is a keeper highly regarded who could be playing in the Champions League next season with Nice form France.
Guarin is the heartbeat of the team keeping things ticking over nicely and links the defence and attacking player, such as James Rodriguez. Falcao’s is the star of Colombian football and his goals alone could bring them some success in the next World Cup.
They will easily adapt to the conditions in Brazil as it is within the same continent, an issue some European nations may fail to overcome, and like Belgium their aim will be the quarter-finals and they hope to progress even further.
After entering the last two World Cups both with squads that could have made an impact the draws for the group stages have hindered their progression. In 206 they were in a group also occupied by Argentina and Holland, then in 2010 they were in a group containing Brazil and Portugal.
This time in the World Cup, if the draw is less harsh on the Ivory Coast and they can make it out the group stages they could easily make an impact on the knock out stages. Their squad contains the likes of the Toure brothers and the legendary Didier Drogba, who on his day can win a game single handed. Therefore like the Colombians the spine of their team is very solid.
Yaya Toure is the box to box midfielder that doesn’t stop running and he could definitely be the difference in Ivory Coast making it out of the group or not. I feel their first aim will be to qualify from their group and then once they enter the knockout stages just play with freedom.
This aim is definitely possible as the players previously mentioned, are probably entering their last World Cup and will therefore be motivated to go out and leave an impression on the world stage.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12evFlH
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms