FIFA World Cup: Five unlikely teams that could make it to Brazil 2014

Author : Srihari

Ten teams have already qualified for the World Cup, while giants like Germany and Spain are on the cusp of qualification. But then there are plenty of other teams, which are looking at qualifying for the very first time in their history.

Let us take a look at five of the best placed teams, who look like they will be able to make it to Brazil and feature in their first-ever World Cup.

Bosnia-Herzegovina pose before their FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier vs. Slovakia at the MSK Zilina stadium on September 10, 2013 in Zilina, Slovakia. (Getty Images)

Bosnia-Herzegovina pose before their FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier vs. Slovakia at the MSK Zilina stadium on September 10, 2013 in Zilina, Slovakia. (Getty Images)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Since becoming an independent nation in 1992, after being a part of Yugoslavia, the Bosnians have come close on quite a few times. During qualification for the previous World Cup, they lost to Portugal in the playoffs and before that they failed to win their last game, which would have given them a chance in 2006.

This time around, they have already booked a playoff berth and if they manage to win their remaining two games, they will qualify outright for the World Cup as group winners. They are currently ranked 13 in the world – the highest they have ever been ranked.

With an attacking trio of Edin Dzeko, Vedad Ibisevic and Zvjezdan Misimovic, they have racked up 25 goals in just eight games and only Germany have scored more than them so far. They certainly look set to take Brazil by storm in 2014.

Ethiopia poses before their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier vs. South Africa on June 16, 2013 in Addis Ababa. (Getty Images)

Ethiopia poses before their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier vs. South Africa on June 16, 2013 in Addis Ababa. (Getty Images)

Ethiopia

Whilst the Ethiopians are probably more famous on the athletics track than on the football pitch, they still have a very good chance of making it to Brazil, if they get a favourable draw in the final playoff round.

The Walia Antelopes, as they are fondly called, have rich history dating back to 1957, when they were one of three teams – Egypt and Sudan being the others – to be a part of the inaugural African Cup of Nations. After having won the tournament five years later, success has eluded the Ethiopians, ever since.

Although they were sanctioned for fielding a suspended player against Botswana, which almost dashed their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup, they have since managed to go on a run of wins, which has seen them leapfrog South Africa into first place and go into the final playoff round as group winners. Only time will tell if they will be able to make it to Brazil.

Cape Verde pose before a FIFA World Cup qualifier vs. Tunisia on September 7, 2013 in Rades Olympic Stadium in Tunis. (Getty Images)

Cape Verde pose before a FIFA World Cup qualifier vs. Tunisia on September 7, 2013 in Rades Olympic Stadium in Tunis. (Getty Images)

Cape Verde

A total of 72 countries remain in contention for qualification, the most unlikely of them all: Cape Verde, which is a group of small volcanic islands lying isolated in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Senegal.

And while they are ranked 172nd in the world in terms of population, according to the latest FIFA rankings they are the 36th best team in the world. That is not too bad, when you consider the fact that just four years ago, they were ranked 112th.

The Blue Sharks proved that their run to the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals this year was no fluke, by beating Tunisia 2-0. By doing so, they topped their group and through to the final playoff round, where they will be seeded for the very first time.

Although they have scored just five goals, not counting the two games against Equatorial Guinea which was forfeited 3-0, their striker Nhuk and attacking midfielder Platini certainly look like they might be able to take them to Brazil and guarantee the presence of an African debutant in Brazil.

Iceland players celebrate at the end of their FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier vs. Switzerland at the Stade de Suisse on September 6, 2013, in Bern. (Getty Images)

Iceland players celebrate at the end of their FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier vs. Switzerland at the Stade de Suisse on September 6, 2013, in Bern. (Getty Images)

Iceland

The 2-1 win over Albania means that the Icelanders are in control of their own destiny, as victory in their final two games, will guarantee them a spot in the playoffs. Currently in second place, one would assume that it shouldn’t be all that hard for them to get through.

That is certainly a huge achievement for a country with a population of merely 320,000, which makes it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland are certainly making a fair case for being the least populous nation to make it to the World Cup.

Their recent exploits sees them ranked 70th in the world, which is a stark contrast to just 18 months ago, when they were ranked 131st in the world. If they continue their good form, they might just sneak into Brazil.

Panama pose before the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final vs. USA at Soldier Field July 29, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Getty Images)

Panama pose before the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final vs. USA at Soldier Field July 29, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Getty Images)

Panama

With the disastrous form of Mexico, Panama might well make it to Brazil, if they manage to beat the Mexicans, when they play each other next month in the final round of qualifiers. They are currently in fourth place with eight points, level with Mexico, and are in pole position to make it to the playoffs against New Zealand as they look to make it to their first-ever World Cup.

Having finished runners-up in the 2013 Gold Cup, Panama might well make it. But their path is anything but straight forward, as their final two games are away to Mexico and at home to USA. If they get through both these games unscathed, they certainly deserve their place in Brazil.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »