Who can the Tartan Army support at the World Cup?
As thirty-two nations prepare themselves for the euphoria and drama of a World Cup campaign, there are many other countries that will have to watch from the side-lines after failing to qualify, and unfortunately that includes Scotland.
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil promises to be one of the most exciting tournaments in modern history, with some of the best teams and players in the world set to take centre stage. Qualifying for the most prestigious tournament in international football is a wonderful feeling for fans and players alike, particularly for the players who fulfil a lifetime ambition of representing their country at the World Cup.
Missing out on the action has become a recurring theme for Scotland, who suffered an all-time low during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualification stage by becoming the first UEFA-based team to be eliminated. Although their future looks somewhat brighter under the guidance of Gordon Strachan, the Tartan Army will once again watch the World Cup from home and not pack Brazil with passionate and good spirited supporters. Long-standing tension between the two countries may mean that proud Scots would not think to support England at the World Cup, and will therefore look elsewhere for a nation to give their full backing to. Checking the latest odds at Coral could highlight a potential underdog that Scotland fans could become knowledgeable of and support them in their quest for World Cup glory.
The Euro 2004 champions may be hard pressed to repeat their against-the-odds feat in Brazil where the considerable heat and humidity may be too much to handle. History does not favour Greece either, as they have only qualified for three World Cup tournaments in its history and have a solitary victory to their name. Greece had to overcome a tough qualifying play-off tie against Romania, but will arrive at the World Cup with hope that they can progress from Group C and qualify for the knockout stages for the very first time. Being drawn alongside Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan provides an intriguing group in which any team can qualify for the second round. The incentive for Scotland fans to back the Greeks is the inclusion of Giorgios Samaras of Celtic in the provisional 30-man squad for Brazil 2014. Samaras looks set to leave Celtic Park in the summer, but supporters may keep an eye on how the striker and his country perform. Punters can get massive odds of 300/1 for Greece to win the World Cup, making them a massive underdog which Scotland fans could relate with.
An impressive qualifying campaign has created hope across Honduras that their national team can do themselves proud and record the first World Cup victory in their history. Beating Mexico and the USA in the CONCACAF section is an encouraging sign that Honduras are on the rise, and have the quality to pose a threat to Switzerland, France and Ecuador in Group E. It would be the greatest shock in football history if Honduras went all the way at the 2014 World Cup, with odds of 2500/1 putting them alongside Iran as the rank outsiders in the bookmakers’ eyes. Many Scotland fans will support Honduras in their efforts to make an impact with Brazil, with Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre and Rangers’ Arnold Peralta set to play starring roles for the Central American nation.
Any nation that manages to derail England and knock them out of this summer’s World Cup will be cheered by many Scotland fans. It is for this reason that the Tartan Army may get behind Uruguay, who are ranked amongst the dark horses to go far in Brazil. A tournament held in their continent may give them a significant advantage over Group D opponents Italy, England and Costa Rica, but Uruguay also have enough quality to mount a serious challenge at the World Cup. 28/1 puts the South Americans amongst the teams who have what it takes to upset the favourites and lift the famous trophy. It may be a tall order for Uruguay to end a 64-year wait for their third World Cup, but football has a strange habit of throwing up surprises and it is more than possible that Uruguay could be victorious once again.