World Cup 2014 – Players to watch

As the opening match of the World Cup approaches, pundits begin to speculate on which players will shine during the tournament. Will he be an established star or will someone like the young Michael Owen emerge? We’ve picked five players who we think will make headlines for all the right reasons.

Leo Messi

Everyone knows that he is a special player, but opinions are divided on whether Messi will bring to the tournament those touches of magic that make him stand out from his generation and previous generations of footballers. They point to a season in which Barcelona did not reach the level of recent years. Added to this are two mediocre performances in 2006 and 2010. Especially in South Africa (2010), where he failed to register a single goal and was unable to cheer his team on during the eventual loss to Germany.

However, the optimists see a player who has recovered from an injury earlier in the season and who has participated in a very successful qualifying tournament who has the desire to win in South America. Coach Alejandro Sabella is trying to create a team that provides the crucial support that will allow Messi to shine. The key to this is midfield ball provider Fernando Gago. Coach Sabello feels that Messi has matured and exhibits inner peace. Perhaps the relatively easy games against Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria will give him the platform he needs to show his unquestioned class.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The situation with Ronaldo is almost the reverse of that with Messi. He has had a fantastic season with Real Madrid scoring 16 goals in the Champions League and over the course of the season scoring a goal every 72 minutes. The fear is that he has had such a tough season that he will have to fight to maintain his form for another month.

Secondly, people say that Portugal is a one-man team and they are in a tough group. However, if you look at their track record, they have performed very well over the last 10 years. They were Euro 2004 finalists, World Cup semi-finalists in 2006. They reached the Euro 2008 quarter-finals and the Round of 16 in South Africa followed by the Euro 2012 semi-finals.

Portugal coach Paulo Bento believes he is in good form and believes his speed and athleticism will be there for all to see.


All the pundits say that Neymar has been given a huge responsibility to ensure that Brazil do better at home than in the previous two tournaments. Some say he has had a lackluster season for Barcelona scoring just 15 goals and has been out injured all season. His teammate Dani Alves disagrees, saying that he adapted very well to playing in Europe and that fitting in with a team like Barcelona takes time. He paid tribute to his maturity. Neymar joined the national team in 2010 and has scored 30 goals in 47 appearances. The curtain is ready to go up for Neymar, it remains to be seen if he will be affected by stage fright.

Paul Pogba

Pogba, the 21-year-old Juventus midfielder, is shaping up to be one of the tournament’s finds. "Paul Polpo," (Paul the Octopus) Due to his long legacy, he played in France before coming to the attention of Manchester United, where he played between 2009 and 2012. However, Sir Alex Ferguson preferred to play Michael Carrick, so Juventus stepped in to take him on. Serie A, where it has flourished. scoring 14 goals in 86 appearances. His is a strong player with good ball control and can shoot accurately from a distance.

He is no stranger to international football, having won the U20 World Cup in Turkey 2013 and was named Player of the Tournament. He made his first appearance for the senior team in 2013 in a qualifying match against Gergia and scored his first goal against Belarus in September of that year. France plays Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in the group stage, giving Polpo Paul a chance to show off his skills.

julian draxler

The Schalke 04 attacking midfielder has recently made headlines when he was involved in a car accident with F1 driver Nico Rosberg, but he and teammate Benedikt Hoewedes were uninjured.

Draxler has pace and good ball control. He hits the ball accurately and can play in midfield. Although 6′ 2" he is criticized for his heading ability. He helped Schalke secure a place in the Champions League in the 2011-12 season and was their youngest player in 100 games for the club. He made his under-21 debut for Germany in 2012 and reached the senior team in 2013 since making 11 appearances and scoring a goal in a friendly against the United States.

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