The World Cup is the most-watched sporting event in the world for many reasons but watching underdogs put on a show is one of the best ones. Whether it's the host nation like South Korea in 2002 making it all the way to the semis or Uruguay winning the 1950 World Cup against the superpowered Brazil, the world (except the losing nation) rejoices.
We look at the five best underdogs who could make a serious run in the 2018 FIFA World Cup complete with betting odds. All odds courtesy of Sports Interaction.
After missing the last eight World Cups, Peru is back with a vengeance. La Blanquirroja will make the most of their opportunity in a group where France is the only legitimate contender. With star player Paolo Guerrero reinstated, the Peruvians are loving their chances.
Behind Guerrero are a few more great offensive players for Peru including Christian Cueva, an attacking midfielder who is small but speedy and Andre Carrillo, another quick and crafty player who has plenty to prove in a big stage.
If Peru clinches a spot in the knockout stage, they'll likely face Argentina or Croatia as the winners of Group D. Though they are outgunned on paper, this squad has enough firepower to not only make it interesting but pull off a huge upset. Don't count them out.
The defending European champions are still on the outside to win their first ever World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't skipped a beat at 33 but one thing has eluded him: a stellar performance at the international stage. His rival nearly captained Argentina to the last World Cup so maybe it's Ronaldo's turn.
Portugal managed to win the Eurocup despite Ronaldo being injured. They did this thanks to an underrated scrappy squad that includes midfielder Joao Moutinho, defenders Raphael Guerreiro and Pepe, and goalkeeper Rui Patricio. The onus is on Ronaldo to carry the offence.
In Group B, the Portuguese have only their Iberian rivals to worry about but they could soon contend with Uruguay in the knockout stage. Should they get past them, either France or Argentina awaits. Portugal has a rough road to the finals but they also have arguably the best player in the tournament.
Croatia was the Cinderella team of the 1998 World Cup. In their first-ever tournament, they finished third and upset the likes of Germany and the Netherlands. But since this magical run, they have failed to advance past the group stage.
Led by star midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, this Croatian team is loaded with talent but has the misfortune of being in the "Group of Death" with Argentina, Nigeria, and a surprisingly good Iceland. Coincidentally, when they made their 1998 run they were in the same group with Argentina.
The key for this team, which has the talent to repeat their third-place finish, is to start fast and hope for a bit of luck. They can't afford to lose to Nigeria or Iceland and maybe hope to face any team outside France in the knockout stage. If the stars align for Vatreni, they will go on a serious run.
An underdog list without the Senegalese is complete rubbish. The last time they were in the World Cup was in 2002 when they reached the quarters after opening with a shocker over France then tying Uruguay. These new Lions are short in experience but brimming with talent.
Any team that sports midfielders Idrissa Gana Gueye and Sadio Mane will be at least competent and they also have Kalidou Koulibaly anchoring the defence. Senegal may not have the firepower on paper but they are young, hungry, and athletic and play in a wide-open Group H.
Should Senegal advance to the next round, they face a top-two team from Group G, which is likely to be either Belgium or England. Both squads boast uber talent but Senegal has the goods to cause a major shocker.
On paper, this Russian squad doesn't have the talent to challenge the top contenders but it has plenty of intangibles starting with home turf advantage. The Russians will get an extra "boost" playing at home. What they lack in skill they make up for in heart and grit.
The team is anchored by veterans in goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and forward Fedor Smolov. Fedor Chalov is a young striker who could be the x-factor for the host nation with his deft playmaking.
All Russia has to do is beat Saudi Arabia and tie with either Egypt and Uruguay to advance to their first knockout stage. They get another lucky break as Egypt lost top goalscorer Mohamed Salah for at least one game.
Once they get to the knockout stage, they will face either Spain or Portugal (barring upsets), two powerhouses with a history of underachieving. An upset is unlikely but stranger things have happened!
Russia vs Saudi Arabia odds
Russia vs Egypt odds
Uruguay vs Russia odds
FIFA World Cup 2018 Broadcast in Canada
World Cup soccer-hungry Canadians will be glued to their televisions. There will be extensive coverage on CTV, RDS, and TSN. Similarly, these online sportsbooksoffer all-day betting for Canadians including live betting and props.
The European Super League (ESL) was supposed to be the breakaway club for top European football clubs, the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Liverpool to name a few.
The full list of Super League clubs:
English - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham.
Spanish - Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid.
Italian - AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus.
However, plans broke down the very next day after the featured clubs made the announcement, led by Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez. Perez has been defiant in the face of big clubs like Juventus and Manchester City dropping out, with the governing body FIFA also threatening to ban teams from their domestic leagues.
The anger and frustration at the decision to go ahead with a Super League boiled over when fans of Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham held mass protests outside the relative stadiums. The announcement caused a wave of protest across Europe, as UEFA made it clear that all clubs involved would face repercussions if they were to go ahead and compete in the breakaway Super League.
But, what upset the fans so much and is the Super League really so different from the Champions League?