Three teams that are getting closer to being competitive are Italy, Georgia, and Japan.
Are they going to cause major upsets, probably not, but there are a few things going in their favor.
Italy has the impossible task of either beating France or New Zealand to progress. That isn’t happening but I hope they push them close. They will however be very exciting to watch and will be too much for Namibia.
Georgia is becoming more and more of a competitive team. Their u20s were a formidable team at the recent championships beating both Italy and Argentina to finish second after South Africa, so they are building some depth. They beat Wales last year and their players are mostly playing professionally in France. Monsters in the forwards can dominate opposition teams and they will push Wales, Australia, and Fiji close with possibly an upset win in there. Will it be enough to get to the knockouts? Probably close but just not enough yet.
Japan encompasses all of the beautiful parts of the game. They love the game as a nation, their players are respectful of the game and they play with passion and joy. This has brought them their fair share of shock wins at the previous two World Cups famously beating South Africa and Ireland! With the unpredictability of the subpar form of England, they might sneak through with Argentina. Samoa might not agree and will bring brute force to the party!
Overall these three have steadily improved in recent years. Still a little off the pace but I fully expect them to have breakthrough years at the next World Cup in 2027.