James Rodriguez showed just how career defining a strong World Cup campaign can be with his dazzling displays in 2014. But who are this year’s potential ‘one to watch’ players at the World Cup?
The versatile Serbian midfielder has enjoyed his best goal scoring season this year with Lazio. Milinkovic-Savic was crucial in his side’s challenge for a top four place. Lazio missed out on a Champions League spot under dramatic circumstances due to a loss against Inter Milan on the final day.
Participating in his first World Cup, Milinkovic-Savic has only made three appearances for his national side. His eagerly anticipated tournament comes after a wildly successful season in the Serie A. From midfield, he managed 12 goals and 3 assists this season and secured seven Man of the Match awards. He is yet to score for his national side but will surely be looking to break this record in Russia.
This Uruguayan midfielder probably won’t be challenging for any golden boot awards but is certainly one worth keeping an eye on. Torreira has been compared to none other than Premier League powerhouse N’Golo Kante, showcasing a very similar ability and desire for winning back possession.
Also playing his domestic football in the Serie A, the 22-year old has managed only a single cap for Uruguay but is already being described as their next big superstar. The midfielder has also enjoyed his best goalscoring return in this last campaign, recording four in 36 matches for Sampdoria.
Eyes are already watching the young playmaker/ball-winner, with Dortmund said to be the team that are eager to snatch his signature. Sampdoria have set a £22 million release clause on him which would only rise with an impressive World Cup performance.
Despite being one of Peru’s most experienced players, Guerrero has never taken part in a World Cup tournament. The top scorer was a very late entrant into the team flying to Russia as he, only recently, had a 14-month ban revoked to allow him to play in the most anticipated footballing event in the World.
A Swiss Court lifted the ban, initially imposed after being found guilty of consuming cocaine, to allow Peru’s captain to participate. After the event, the ban will recommence.
However, all the controversy surrounding the 34-year old proved not to take its toll on his unquestionable talent. On his return to the side, Guerrero scored two goals against fellow World Cup opponents, Saudi Arabia. For Brazilian side Flamengo, this season he has started just once and scored once. Throughout his career, though, the striker has seemed to enjoy his best football whilst playing for his national side.
Liverpool, Everton and AS Roma have all already been linked with this promising attacking midfielder of Ajax. Both a playmaker and a goal scorer, Ziyech recorded 9 goals and 15 assists this season and is already being compared to Christian Eriksen, also formerly of Ajax.
The 25-year old is a tricky and direct player, almost reminiscent of the style of play that he will be coming up against in the Group Stage when his team, Morocco, play Spain. His international record is something not to be underestimated; in only 15 matches for his national side, Ziyech has scored 8 goals. He will be hoping to reach double figures and beyond in Russia.
It’s a lot of weight on a 22-year old’s shoulders to be the one to fire Germany into the latter stages of the World Cup. But this is what is said to be Werner’s task this tournament. The Leipzig forward has performed exceptionally for Germany this season, racking up a total of 20 goals in all competitions.
The young striker is yet to make a name for himself on the international stage for Germany but leading the front line for Germany could be a great place to start. He has been named Germany’s trusty number nine for the upcoming tournament and will be hoping to replicate the same World Cup success of their former leading striker, Miroslav Klose.