There is less than a month to go before the biggest sporting event of the year gets underway in Qatar. France, the defending champions, and Brazil, the most successful team in World Cup history, are among the favorites to emerge victorious in mid-December.
However, as we saw with Croatia’s run to the final in 2018, this is a tournament that can spring some surprises. This year, anyone looking to back a dark horse could do worse than put a dollar or two on the USA.
The view from the bookies
If you want a realistic idea of how a team is likely to do at a major event like a World Cup, the first thing to do is check the sports books. BetJack is covering the FIFA World Cup at news.betjack.com/fifa-world-cup and the view from there is that it will be too tight to call between USA and Wales to qualify for the knockout stages. Both are even money to do so.
Clearly, it would be expecting a lot for the USA to lift the World Cup, and that is reflected in the 125-1 bookmaker odds. However, they are a 9/2 shot to reach the quarter finals, and that is a bet that many will find tempting.
A wining start is crucial
USA have been drawn in Group B alongside England, Wales and Iran. If all goes to form, England are expected to finish top in the group, while Iran are the rank outsiders. The question is whether USA can grab the runner up spot to proceed to the knockout stages. To do so, it is vital for the team to get off to a winning start – in fact, it is fair to say that their World Cup fortunes could rest on how they perform in their opening match against Wales. Start with a win, and a place in the round of 16 becomes almost a formality.
Daring to dream
If USA manages to secure the runner up spot in Group B, the team will play the Group A winner in the round of 16. Group A comprises Qatar, Senegal, Netherlands and Ecuador, by no means the strongest group in the tournament. Netherlands are favorites to finish top, and while they are not to be underestimated, a USA victory, and a quarter final berth, would not be outside the bounds of possibility.