With the March international break upon us, it’s time to let the excitement of the FIFA World Cup soak in. This is the time when squads are being finalized, players are given final chances to make an impression, and managers are tweaking their tactics in preparation of the tournament.
We know the star names of each nation. Names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, and David De Gea are burned into our minds, and we know the fate of their countries are placed firmly on their shoulders.
What makes the world cup special though, are the players that have yet to have their breakout moment. Players that will use the worlds biggest stage to get us chanting their names and cheering them on from wherever we are or whatever nation we support. Just like James Rodriguez and Mario Götze did in 2014. This is a list of seven players I believe could be poised for this moment.
Hirving Lozano: Winger, Mexico
Supporters of PSV Eindhoven have never seen a better start from a new comer. His 14 goals and 10 assists in 24 appearances out do even the likes of Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy, and he isn’t even a pure striker. He is incredibly fast, majestic with his technical abilities, and gives any team nightmares with his aggressive attacking style. The 22 year old winger has taken the Eredivisie by storm and looks to do the same this summer in Russia, having netted 4 times during the Cup Qualifiers.
Trezeguet: Winger/AM, Egypt
With every manager sure to be fixated on Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian midfield might find an abundance of room to work with. Trezeguet, or Mahmoud Hassan, is currently on loan in Turkey from Anderlecht, and is aruguably having the best season of his young career. The 23 year old attacking midfielder is one of Egypt’s most skilled and technical players and should be able to take full advantage of the space left to him to create attacks and get behind defenses.
Leon Goretzka: CM, Germany
While Leon Goretzka is hardly going to shock anyone with his talent, he will solidify his place as one of the best young talents the world has to offer. Having already led Germany through the confederations cup with three goals, he seems ready to do the same through the World Cup. The 22 year old midfielder is incredibly effective in the way he tackles and distributes the ball forward, and with manager Joachim Low fully backing him, there isn’t a doubt that he should be starting from day one in the tournament.
Denis Zakaria: CM, Switzerland
Following his €12 million transfer to Borussia Monchengladbach from Young Boys, Zakaria has been a total revelation. The 21 year old has been tearing up the Bundesliga even earning praise from the likes of Lothar Matthäus. Zakaria combines brute strength with vision and a serious work rate. After his showing against Northern Ireland, he should be paired in the midfield with Granit Xhaka and could leave more highly rated than him.
Pione Sisto: Winger, Denmark
Sisto will be the first player of Sudanese origins to play in the world cup. The 22 year old is lightning quick and extremely confident and is capable of ripping any defense wide open. The star man at Celta Vigo has aspirations of playing for Barcelona and after scoring against them in a 4-3 victory, a solid showing in Russia could be all he needs to make his move to a top European club.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: CM, Serbia
Widely considered as one the best midfielders in Serie A, Milinkovic-Savic has a chance to show he is one of the best football players in the world. The 22 year old has supreme vision, is technically gifted, and has a deft touch of the ball while also being strong, tall, and physically imposing. The Lazio man is experienced beyond his years and is already gaining interest from Europe’s top clubs, and with a solid showing in Russia, his value could reach dizzying heights that we haven’t seen.
Rodrigo Bentancur: CM, Uruguay
The 20 year old midfielder was acquired by Juventus in 2015 as a part of the Carlos Tevez deal, and now that he is apart of the Italian squad, it looks like an absolute steal. He is two-footed, an incredible passer, very versatile, and looks like a star in the making. His arrival to Juventus was low profile, but his impact in the Uruguayan squad will be immense. Feeding passes in to the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani could prove to be what the South Americans need to advance through their sneaky talented group.
- Feature Photo: thesportsquotient.com
- Hirving Lozano: SI.com
- Trezeguet: Goals.com
- Leon Goretzka: onefootball.com
- Denis Zakaria: UEFA.com
- Pione Sisto: mirror.co.uk
- Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: dailystar.co.uk
- Rodrigo Bentancur: elcomercio.com