World Cup surprise alert: why Portugal, Uruguay and the Netherlands should be on alert after the defeats of Germany and Argentina

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has been one of the most unpredictable in quite some time with two historic upsets on consecutive days. First, Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, and then Germany lost to Japan on Wednesday. Both saw the giants lose the lead and go down, 2-1.

And if you’re a believer that all good things (at least good things for sports) come in threes, then there’s certainly another big surprise waiting to happen. But who could it be? Here are three teams that could be on alert in the coming days:

1. Uruguay vs. South Korea
Date: Thursday, November 24 | Time: 8 a.m. m. ET | Television: FS1 and Telemundo | Live streaming: fuboTV (Try it for free)

The South Americans signed Diego Alonso to get their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track, and that’s exactly what happened. But there have been some signs that this team might be the best for an upgrade. First, it’s been happening quite a bit lately. They lost 1-0 to Iran in September in a friendly and fell 3-1 to Bolivia in World Cup qualifying. Against the United States during the summer, they showed very little creativity in a boring 0-0 draw.

The team is full of guys that you probably thought had retired now, like Diego Godín, Martín Cáceres and Luis Suárez, and this is not the same attack or defense that we are used to in this team. Now, they have plenty of great young pieces and could be contenders in 2026, but this is a disciplined South Korean team with Heung-min Son and the pace to exploit an aging defense. Don’t be surprised if Uruguay is the next big dog to go down.

2. Portugal vs. Ghana
Date: Thursday, November 24 | Time: 11 a.m. m. ET | Television: Fox and Telemundo | Live streaming: fuboTV (Try it for free)

Yes, I know, this is not the Ghana of Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien, but with Inaki Williams in the fold, they can certainly exploit a Portugal defense that still has the 39-year-old Pepe playing. Thomas Partey is there to command the midfield, Mohammed Salisu in defense can be a cornerstone, and we have to remember how Portugal struggles in group matches. At Euro 2016, when they won the tournament, they did not win a single group stage match. In the last World Cup, they only managed one in in the group stage, and that was against Morocco. They also won just one group stage match at Euro 2020.

On paper, they have a great team. But on the pitch it’s different. Don’t be surprised if Ghana shows up.

3. Netherlands vs. Ecuador
Date: Friday, November 25 | Time: 11 a.m. m. ET | Television: Fox and Telemundo | Live streaming: fuboTV (Try it for free)

This one is pretty simple. The Netherlands did not look too good in a 2-0 win over Senegal, and Ecuador looked fantastic against an outclassed Qatari side. This team from Ecuador has speed in attack, a lot of chemistry, and the Dutch have a lot of good pieces that still don’t fit. Senegal overcame them and with Sadio Mane I think it’s a different game. Ecuador’s ability to switch pitches and exploit space could spell trouble for the World Cup hopefuls on Friday.

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