soccer world cup 2018 in Russia: Upcoming Stars

soccer world cup 2018

Our football pundit discusses some youngsters who might rise to prominence in the upcoming soccer world cup in 2018.

Over the years, we’ve seen the youngsters taking the soccer world cup by the scruff of its neck and wowing the whole universe. The previous spectacle in Brazil saw a young James Rodriguez scoring some worldies, earning himself a spot in the tournament’s dream team, winning the tournament’s Golden Boot, FIFA Puskas Award and a move to Real Madrid.

Who can forget about 21-year old Thierry Henry’s brace against Bafana Bafana in 1998, 18-year old Michael Owen’s heroics in the same tournament and Mario Gotze’s 2014 final winner for Germany against Argentina! Let’s take a look at some youngsters who might make the Russian stage theirs.
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Marco Asensio 
The young Spaniard has been a revelation for Real Madrid and his nation’s junior teams. Asensio rose to prominence when he netted a 25-yard strike against Sevilla in the 2016 UEFA Super Cup which Los Blancos won 3-2 with players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos rested. He scored in the 2017 UEFA Champions League final which they won 4-1 against Juventus.

The 22-year old was part of the Spanish under 21 team which won the 2015 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Greece and earned a spot in the Team of the Tournament. He also earned a spot in the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in which his native Spain finished as the runners up.

He’s always been used as an impact player by Zinedine Zidane in crucial Champions League games and he provides a lot of goals and assists. He scored similar crackers in both legs of the Spanish Super Cup final against Barcelona which they won 5-1 on aggregate. He’s part of the Madrid team that will play its third Champions League final in three years, having won it on the two previous occasions.

Kylian Mbappe
Described as a huge football talent with similarities to Thierry Henry by Arsene Wenger, the 19-year old made a sensational loan move from Monaco to Paris-Saint Germain at the start of the current season with the fee for a subsequent full transfer potentially making him only the second most expensive player behind Neymar Jr.

Last season he helped Monaco win the league and reach the Champions League semifinal and he will be remembered for scoring against the great Gianluigi Buffon after Barcelona failed to register a single goal against him over the two quarterfinal legs. He was on the wanted list of Real Madrid and Manchester City but opted for PSG and with him in the fold, they’ve reclaimed the Ligue 1 title.
Having already played a part in France’s World Cup qualification, it looks like having a place for him in the star-studded line up is an absolute certainty.

Leroy Sane
Sane is a regular member of the Manchester City side that has sealed the Premier League with five matches left to play. The 22-year old German sensation only missed last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup due to a corrective surgery to his nasal passages due to breathing problems.

He has been awarded the for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award for his immense contribution to the team this season. Expect him to make the left-wing position in the German national team and produce some moments of magic.

Andreas Christensen
Credit must be given to Antonio Conte for the confidence he has shown in the 21-year old, putting him in the heart of Chelsea defence. The youngster hasn’t disappointed since his return from a loan move at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

He played six matches in Denmark’s successful World Cup qualification campaign and capped his superb performances with a goal in their 5-1 drubbing of the Republic of Ireland in the second leg of the play-off to confirm a place in the tournament staged in Russia.

Alex Iwobi
This nephew of Jay-Jay Okocha’s has huge expectations to live up to as he is one of the most promising talents in world football. Having only made his senior Arsenal debut in 2015, the 21-year old went on to become a valuable member of the Nigerian national team. He scored Nigeria’s winner in their 1-0 success over Zambia which secured World Cup qualification for the Super Eagles.

His versatility in attacking positions will help the coach be able to fit him in around players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo. He won the CAF Young Player of the Year 2016 while making the federations Team of the Year as well.

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