France, England or Belgium? Which Traditional World Cup Underachiever Could Win?



The 2018 World Cup commences this week, and we’re all excited for the tournament we’ve all been waiting for since 2014, when Germany achieved glory in Brazil. The Germans made it three World Cup titles in a row for the continent of Europe, and the prospects of a fourth straight champion emerging from UEFA look very promising.

The Germans are the co-favorites along with CONMEBOL powerhouse Brazil, but don’t sleep on Spain, as La Roja could be the Euro power to take home the silverware this time around. Of course, everyone will naturally be focused on the front-runners, but who are some of the dark horses to keep an eye on?

england world cup

We look, naturally, at Europe where you have three extremely talented sides that have the roster capable of winning it all.

Unfortunately, all three also have a tendency to crash out early in tournaments, and thus most people view these currently highly ranked UEFA teams as severe underachievers. France (+650), Belgium (+1200), and England (+1800) have two things in common:

(1) all three are among the second-tier of favorites to win the World Cup; and

(2) all three have under-performed in the last couple tournaments, relative to their talent. These three teams odds are an average, however if you do decide to wager on the World Cup has a list of trustworthy betting sites, that are expertly reviewed and given a star rating with deposit bonus next to each sportsbook.

Getting back to the action France has had the most recent success, reaching the finals in 2006, and at first glance, appear to be the best positioned to make another deep run because they reside in a weak Group C. That consists of Denmark, Australia, and Peru.

However, even if they take top spot, they will meet the runner-up from Group D in the Round of 16, which is likely to be Argentina or Croatia.

While England and Belgium have to battle each other in the group stage, they should overwhelm the other two teams in Group G: Panama and Tunisia and then have the luxury of facing the Group H winner/runner-up in the next round, which will be some combination of Colombia, Poland, Senegal and Japan.

All in all, that’s a more favorable route to the quarterfinals and beyond.

You’ll hear and see a lot of analogies between Belgium and England this week in the World Cup preview coverage. Belgium forward Eden Hazard made sure of that given his controversial “golden generation” comments last week. For Hazard’s side, their championship window is right now, given the ages of most of their star players. The Red Devils core is currently in their prime while England boasts a squad that is significantly younger.

belgium national team

For Three Lions supporters, they can take solace in the fact that their best football likely lies ahead of them, should they crash out early again. If you’ve read this excellent piece by author and England supporter Nick Hornby, then you know their chances of coming home early from Russia are quite likely.

As for France, their unpredictability is best personified by their star midfielder, Paul Pogba. He, like much of the France side, and also manager Didier Deschamps, have a lot to prove in this tournament. Perhaps the motivation to answer all their critics could propel them forward.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud and YouTube.

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