20 Players You Must Keep Your Eye Out For During The World Cup
With the 2018 World Cup in Russia this year there are many reasons to be excited. Whether it’s the celebration of over 30 countries coming together for four weeks or seeing your favorite soccer players in action, there’s something for everyone. With Germany taking the 2014 World Cup, which players will make their mark on the world’s biggest stage. Here are the 20 players in this years World Cup you must keep your eye on for the World Cup!
1. Lionel Messi: Argentina
CREDIT: leomessi / Instagram
Lionel Messi comes into the World Cup with some of the highest expectations after quitting international soccer in 2016. Messi changed his mind and helped Argentina qualify for the tournament proving how important he is to the team. While the comparisons to Argentina legend Diego Maradona will always come up, Messi has the most to prove this year and all eyes will be on him as he tries to bring a championship back to Argentina for the first time since 1986.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal
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At 33-years-old Ronaldo is likely facing his last best chance of winning the World Cup, even though he is arguably the best player in the world. The Portugal star helped guide his country to unexpected glory at Euro 2016 and travels to Russia for his fourth World Cup appearance. He is Portugal’s all-time leading scorer with 81 goals.
3. Neymar: Brazil
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Neymar is the star of Brazil’s national soccer team. Entering the World Cup, Brazil is tactically better and is superior to the previous World Cup. Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in the quarterfinals in 2014. Neymar should have the platform to display his immense talent.
4. Harry Kane: England
CREDIT: harrykane / Instagram
Harry Kane heads into his first World Cup carrying England’s goal-scoring hopes on his shoulders. The European star is has all the talent and will have the eyes of the world on him as he makes his World Cup debut. If Kane does perform, England can go far in the tournament.
5. Luis Suarez: Uruguay
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Suarez has had a rocky history in the World Cup. He was suspended from the 2010 semifinal after a handball playing against Ghana. He was also kicked out of the knockout stage in 2014 for biting. Uruguay’s high hopes in Russia depend greatly on whether the country’s all-time leading scorer with 50 goals can stay focused enough and perform.
6. Antoine Greizmann: France
CREDIT: antogriezmann / Instagram
Greizmann plays for Real Sociedad and when he won the Europa League this season it was his break through moment. Now the world will get to know the French forward as he leads Team France into the World Cup.
7. Robert Lewandaski: Poland
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The top scorer in Poland team history with 52 goals (16 of which came during qualifying for Russia), Lewandowski is viewed as Poland’s greatest player ever. Lewandowski is looking to help cement his legacy and lead Poland to their first World Cup championship. He should have no problem making his mark in the tournament.
8. Toni Kroos: Germany
CREDIT: toni.kr8s / Instagram
Toni Kroos is the single most important player if Germany hopes to win the World Cup for a second year. The accomplished 28-year-old midfielder is looking to add to his already impressive soccer résumé with another title as no country has repeated victories since 1962.
9. David De Gea: Spain
CREDIT: d_degeaofficial / Instagram
De Gea is arguably the world’s best goalkeeper and now is his time to show it. Spain is one of the World Cup favorites for a reason and with a defense that includes De Gea, look out for some big saves that’ll count when it matters.
10. James Rodriguez: Colombia
Rodriguez made his breakout performance at the 2014 World Cup, but the subsequent four years have been dogged by frustration at club level. He was signed by Real Madrid before being loaned to Bayern Munich. This years tournament is a moment to re-emphasize his status among the global elite and prove the Colombia deserves the the spotlight.
11. Son Heung-Min: South Korea
CREDIT: hm_son7 / Instagram
You might have never heard of Son Heung-Min but after the World Cup that might change. If South Korea has a chance of getting out of their group with Germany, Mexico and Sweden, Son has to perform and show the world how good he can be.
12. Marco Asensia: Spain
CREDIT: marcoasensio10 / Instagram
Asemsia will be a secret weapon for Spain during the World Cup and remains as intensely focused. Russia offers a big stage upon which he could propel himself from super player to all-out superstar.
13. Mo Salah: Egypt
CREDIT: mosalah / Instagram
Mo Salah became one of the best soccer players in the world in 2017 and seemingly came out of nowhere. He’ll cap off a remarkable year by leading his country to its first World Cup in 28 years. He has fantastic speed and unnatural coolness in front of goal. If Egypt is to have any success, it’s in large part because of Salah.
14. Alex Iwobi: Nigeria
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One of the most exciting young players to watch at the World Cup will be Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi. The 21-year-old Iwobi may not be the most important player for Nigeria, but he’ll certainly remain a key member for the team. He’ll look to make his mark in the World Cup as he leads the African nation into the tournament.
15. Hirving Lozano: Mexico
CREDIT: hirvinglozano / Instagram
The new star of Mexican soccer, Hirving Lozano is the next big thing for ‘El Tri.’ Expect some strong performances from the 22-year-old as Mexico looks to make strides this year and finally win their first ever World Cup title.
16. Marcelo: Brazil
CREDIT: marcelotwelve / Instagram
Marcelo is set to appear in his second World Cup and carries as much pressure as teammate Neymar to bring home the World Cup. But it’s in Russia where the world’s best defender will leave a lasting impression.
17. Paul Pogba: France
CREDIT: paulpogba / Instagram
Paul Pogba is one of the most recognizable soccer players in the world but for France to perform well in Russia it’s going to take more than just looks. Pogba is a legend already in France but that means nothing if he can’t perform in front of the world.
18. Sadio Mane: Senegal
CREDIT: sadiomaneofficiel / Instagram
Sadio Mane brought Senegal to the tournament on his back with his myriad goals and assists. His team will once again look to get him the ball in attack once the World Cup starts. He has lightning-quick speed and reflexes, and he seemingly always puts himself in a position to score.
19. Kevin De Bruyne: Belgium
CREDIT: kevindebruyne / Instagram
Belgium is a scary team for anyone that faces them in the World Cup. One of the biggest reasons is Kevin De Bruyne. Having completed a strong club season and won the Premier League, he can help Belgium achieve great things in Russia.
20. Hector Herrera: Mexico
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It was a fantastic season in Europe for Hector Herrera as the midfielder for the Portuguese club Porto. Mexico has the pressure of an entire nation on them after past disappointing performances but Herrera represents glimmers of hope. The 28-year-old Mexico star will be a key part of the success if he can help Mexico make it out of the group stage, which includes 2014 winner Germany and Sweden.