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Which surprise package tips will come to light?

| 17.06.2010

Every four years lesser-known teams arrive at the World Cup with blossoming reputations and get branded with the dark horses label.

We seem to have a glut of such sides in South Africa with squad unity, kind draws and star players all factors.

With all the first group games now played we run the rule over which of these outside bets looks like running the furthest.

Looked extremely impressive in dismissing Honduras and could now finish top of Group H after Spain’s shock loss to Switzerland. That would likely mean missing new favourites Brazil in the round of 16 but Ivory Coast or Portugal would still be tough opposition.

With an array of attacking options and an adventurous attitude Chile could go as far as the semis and, with Humberto Suazo back, they will surely improve their finishing.

Having looked disjointed vs France, the partnership between goal-getters Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez sparked into life against South Africa, granting the former two goals. Their bond will be key to how far the two-time champions go but after a convincing win it seems probable they will top Group A, meaning an easier last-16 tie.

Their defence has looked rock solid in both their games so far and a potential quarter final with England beckons.

Nemanja Vidic and co looked to have flattered to deceive again after a lacklustre performance in the defeat to Ghana. Four years ago, having qualified unbeaten, they lost all three games and will want to avoid a similar fate here.

That will be a difficult task given they face Germany in their next outing with the three-time winners the stand-out side so far. A group-stage exit after a last hurrah against Australia seems likely.

Morten Olsen’s side is one crafted in his image, functional and experienced. They gave Holland a bit of a scare early on in their opening game but succumbed to the Oranje’s superior skill.

They have the ability to beat Cameroon and Japan in their next two games, which would mean second place and a match with either Italy or Paraguay. The Danes will fancy their chances against either and could yet snatch a quarter-final place.

What happens in their match against France today is crucial. Win and they look assured of qualification – their final match with Uruguay could well be played out as a draw to satisfy both – lose and they are all but out. A draw would leave things delicately in the balance.

They looked sharp at the start against South Africa but failed to put away their chances and looked susceptible at the back, having the post to thank for avoiding defeat. Will need Guillermo Franco and Javier Hernandez to start scoring.

How far will these dark horses run? See the full tournament betting market.



John Klee