I wanted to post something about which teams could possibly come from nowhere and surprise people this year. I really, really wanted to write something interesting. Then I looked at the teams and the groups again. It's pretty vanilla as far as excitement and intrigue goes.
Group A: You're looking at possibly decent teams of Columbia and Northern Ireland. In 2010 Columbia was OK, and showed the ability to beat weaker teams, so maybe if they can get lucky against Laos or El Salvador it will make things interesting. Northern Ireland usually plays one really good game each year, but from what I've seen, they're going to be the same as always.
Group B: Sierra Leone is the only team that has a chance to surprise and I'm only saying that because I have no idea who the players are. If they're good, then maybe they have a chance. If not, then its a four-way battle for third place. Portugal, England and Serbia are same as ever.
Group C: This is where I cross my fingers and hope that Botswana or Afghanistan can really come up with an inspired effort. France is going to be untouchable in this group, but maybe there's an upset to be had against Nigeria. The Nigerian's can be incredibly inconsistent so maybe they can be caught on a bad day for a big loss. Afghanistan vs Botswana on April 10 - I'm actually looking forward to this game and I'll be extremely disappointed if it ends in a tie and kills both teams' chances.
Group D: I'm not sure any team but Scotland qualifies as an underdog, and there's no way the Scots are getting out of the pool. Of the other teams, I'll say that Ukraine would be the big surprise, and if they manage to get some early wins I'll be watching them intently. Still, the intrigue from this pool comes more from which team will play poorly, rather than which team will play surprisingly well.