Underdog Teams to Watch in the World Cup

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Back view of a soccer player about to kick a ball.
BetMGM May 12, 2022, 5:43 AM

If you’re a fan of soccer betting, then you’re in for a major treat with this year’s FIFA World Cup. The event is set to feature some of the greatest teams and players of this generation, along with young, talented players that are keen to make their mark on the world stage. However, there are a few underdogs in this contest as well, with many teams that were destined to fail in the World Cup qualifier proving fate wrong.

In this segment, we’re taking a closer look at the underdogs in World Cup soccer and how they could surprise us in the 2022 World Cup. We’ll also be looking at past performances of each side that’s mentioned, along with soccer betting predictions.

What is the FIFA World Cup?

The FIFA World Cup is an international soccer tournament consisting of 32 teams that have made it out of the qualifying tournament. Each FIFA zone – Europe, South America, North America, Central America, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa – has a tournament that’s overseen by its respective confederation. This isn’t a standard tournament as it can take place for up to two years, and the format of the teams that qualify will be determined by the strength of the confederation. 

The final tournament, which is the FIFA World Cup, consists of two stages – the group stage and the knockout stage. There are eight groups, each consisting of four teams that have been randomly drawn. This is where each team will play three matches against the other teams in its respective group. The top two teams of each group will progress to the knockout stage.

The knockout stage

This is the most exciting part of the tournament as it’s do-or-die for all participants. Soccer betting odds are also more accurate as each team has already played a few matches, so the form of each player has been noted. These matches will go to extra time and to a penalty shootout to break any stalemate, so the possibility of a draw is impossible. 

The matches are between the winners and the runners-up of each group. For example, the winner of group A will go up against the runner-up of group B and so on. You’d think that this would make soccer bet predictions easy, but it doesn’t. This is because teams that finish as runners-up in the group stages usually ramp up the intensity of the game plans. 

Stylistic match-ups also come into play and this is why you’d usually see the most upsets in the knockout stages; a good example of this is when Belgium eliminated Brazil from the 2018 World Cup.

The 2022 qualifying stage

The groups for the 2022 FIFA World Cup are nearly filled, with Peru, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Wales, Scotland and Ukraine yet to play. These teams are all vying for one of the last three spots in this year’s tournament; the other 29 spots have already been filled. 

Current groups

Here is how the qualifying teams have been divided for the tournament.

Group A

  • Qatar
  • Ecuador
  • Senegal
  • Netherlands

Group B

  • England
  • Iran
  • USA
  • Wales, Scotland or Ukraine (To be determined)

Group C

  • Argentina
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Mexico
  • Poland

Group D

  • France
  • United Arab Emirates, Peru or Australia (To be determined)
  • Denmark
  • Tunisia

Group E

  • Spain
  • New Zealand or Costa Rica (To be determined)
  • Germany 
  • Japan

Group F

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Morocco
  • Croatia

Group G

  • Brazil
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland
  • Cameroon

Group H

  • Portugal
  • Ghana
  • Uruguay
  • South Korea

The most exciting groups in the soccer World Cup 2022 are groups C, E and H.  They have the most prolific teams and the most talented players. However, there’s no guarantee that the biggest teams will make it out of the group stage. Soccer has proven that anything can happen, a good example being Italy’s loss to North Macedonia on March 24, 2022, as Aleksandar Trajkovski denied Italy a spot in the World Cup with a goal in the 92nd minute to win the playoff semi-final game.

The underdogs

Underdogs have a way of flipping the odds on their heads as they’re usually the teams that are predicted to fail. The 2022 FIFA World Cup has a handful of teams that have soccer odds stacked against them.


Soccer has been growing in the USA and the national soccer team has been doing well on the international stage. While the squad failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, it managed to right the wrongs and it has a few players that could turn the tides in tough matchups, as was witnessed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately, the team failed to replicate this performance in the 2014 tournament. 

The star players include Sergino Dest, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, all of whom are playing top-flight soccer on the European stage, so their experience could help the squad. 

South Korea

South Korea has had a combination of dull and explosive performances, with a 1-0 loss to the UAE and a 5-1 win over Iceland. The team has had a handful of call-ups but will need to change its 4-4-2 formation when playing teams with a strong midfield. This could change with Son Heung-min playing on the left wing; he is known to destroy weak defenses with his elite dribbling. 

The odds of South Korea making it out of the group stage are low as they will be playing Portugal, Ghana and Uruguay. In the 2014 World Cup, the team performed poorly and only managed a surprise win against Germany in the 2018 contest. 


Qatar experienced a poor run of form in the 2017 Gulf Cup, followed by an excellent run in the 2019 Asian Cup where they finished first, beating Japan 3-1. The mixed results of the team and the challenging group that it’s in make it one of the biggest underdogs in the tournament. While the soccer culture in the country has risen, it might not be enough for this team to make it to the knockout stage, but maybe the home advantage will be a factor in their favor.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabia team has had mixed results in 2021, with a poor run of form at the start of the year. They have had a mixed run of success in 2022 to qualify for the World Cup, with a sole loss to Japan and drawing to China. Saudi Arabia shares a group with Argentina, Mexico and Poland, and recent performances in the 2018 World Cup saw them lose against Russia and Uruguay. 

Bet on the World Cup with BetMGM

If you’re keen to bet on the World Cup with plenty of betting markets, register with BetMGM for a world-class betting experience. Place your soccer bet online and enjoy live odds soccer with one of the most complete sportsbooks around. BetMGM offers complete coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup along with other domestic and international soccer tournaments.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.