World Cup 2018: 6 days to go

Don't bet against the dark horses

Portuguese forwards Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Ricardo Quaresma during a training session in preparation for the World Cup Finals next week. Following their Euro 2016 win, Portugal will be hoping for success in Russia with their star player Ronald
Portuguese forwards Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Ricardo Quaresma during a training session in preparation for the World Cup Finals next week. Following their Euro 2016 win, Portugal will be hoping for success in Russia with their star player Ronaldo keen to shine after a subdued Champions League final performance.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Unpredictability of tournaments means any team, even Denmark, can win the World Cup this year

Outside of their own optimistic compatriots, very few people chose Portugal as their favourites to win the 2016 European Championship.

Even fewer would have made that wager after the group stage, a torturous affair that Portugal lurched through without winning a single game. Yet there they were at the end, dancing on the Paris pitch with the trophy in their hands.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2018, with the headline 'Don't bet against the dark horses'. Print Edition | Subscribe