With the World Cup fastly approaching, there comes the dilemma for many casual fans of the sport trying to catch up on what they’ve missed in the world of soccer. If this includes you as you only tune in every four years for one of the highest anticipated sporting events in sports, no worries, we got you.
The unique thing about the World Cup is that given it’s only every four years, the top talent is always changing. With so many leagues around the world it may be hard to keep up with who to look out for. This guide will provide you with eleven must watch players in this upcoming World Cup who will be making their first appearance. This guide will provide some information on some of the players who you may not be familiar with and give you some insight on their abilities.
First we are going to look at a player who not only dominated, but had a historical season. The 25 year-old Liverpool striker put up one of the most memorable seasons in club history and put up numbers that could have him winning the Ballon d’Or which would make him the first player not named Ronaldo or Messi to win the most coveted award in soccer.
The Egyptian native scored 32 league goals for The Reds and 44 total becoming one of the most exciting players to watch. He led his team to the Champion League final where he unfortunately got injured in their loss to Real Madrid. The injury has brought up some concern on his availability for Egypt, but hopefully for the sake of the sport the world will get to see Salah compete on the grandest stage of them all.
The sky’s the limit for the 19 year- old French player who has quickly rose up to be a player that is expected to become a star in the future as evident by the hefty price PSG paid to get him from Monaco. The French squad will be one of the most talented teams in the Cup and Mbappe will be a key piece to their success.
The World Cup is a place many young players find themselves making a name for themselves and would be the perfect place for Mbappe to show the world that he is indeed the real deal.
Antoine Griezmann (France)
The 27 year old is coming off another impressive season for his club Atlético Madrid and will be a crucial part of France’s attack.
Harry Kane ( England)
At 24, Kane finds himself in his World Cup as a captain of one of the most prestigious soccer countries in the world. The Tottenham star striker is coming off his best season, but will be coming into the Cup with a lot to prove as he struggled in the Euros two years ago.
After an embarrassing appearance in 2014, England will be looking to prove itself, but with the third youngest team in the tournament they will need their star player Kane to show up in a big way.
The Spaniard has already quickly become a household name in his home country thriving at Real Madrid and will be looking to make an impact on the big stage.
Despite having a quality team and one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament, Spain is still looking for a consistent scoring option. Isco will need to step up if they want to repeat their success from eight years ago.
Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
Denmark may not be a team many are familiar with, however, their star player is one to watch in this tournament. Eriksen is coming off his best season in Tottenham and has played a vital part in Denmark’s path to qualifying for the Cup.
If Denmark wants any chance of advancing they will need Eriksen to continue his success on the international level.
The Serbian’s star player is known for his elite passing ability and defense in the Premier League from his tenure at Chelsea and now at Manchester United. If he can set the pace and dominate, Serbia may just have a chance of being able to advance.
Roberto Firmino (Brazil)
After a tremendous season by the club, a lot of Liverpool’s success was credited to Mohamed Salah and rightfully so. That being said, some players got overlooked for their contributions including Roberto Firmino who scored an impressive 27 goals for the Reds.
The 26 year-old Brazilian is part of a very talented squad favored to win it all by many. With questions about Neymar’s durability, Firmino could make a name for himself in the tournament with his elite scoring ability.
Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)
Another member of a talented Brazilian team, Coutinho provides incredible passing and vision. The talented Barcelona centerfielder will be giving a lot of teams headaches with his playmaking ability no doubt.
He is a large part of what makes this Brazil team so lethal and with a healthy Neymar and Firmino to pass the ball to, it’s hard to imagine this team not winning it all.
Paulo Dybala (Argentina)
Lionel Messi is no doubt the face and star player of Argentina, but this could very well be his last appearance in the World Cup. That being said, it appears that Argentina already has his replacement as the next big thing in Dybala.
The 24 year-old Juventus player is coming off his best season for the club and will provide another scoring threat for Argentina. Messi may be their best player, but he can’t do it all by himself and Dybala could make an Argentina offense that more lethal.
While we tried to include as many teams possible, France just has too much talent to leave off the list. Pogba makes the third French player on here and has enormous potential. Pogba, however, has found himself under criticism during his time back at Manchester United. Questions about his motor and decision making have often been brought up.
The World Cup would be a great way for Pogba to silence the critics and help France win it all. Not many players in the tournament bring his playmaking and his kind of skill set to the table.