The FIFA World Cup will see five new stars emerge into the consciousness of the casual soccer fan. The English Premier League (EPL) rosters are so full of talent collectively, that for many fans it is difficult to know more than a few players for any team other than the ones they support. When these players start joining the respective national teams of those countries that feed the EPL talent pool to go to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup, five of them from five different teams will stand out above the others. Based on their performance this season alone, these five have seldom had the limelight for long in England, but will almost certainly give standout performances in pursuit of the Cup.
Sergio Aguero, with Argentina in the FIFA World Cup, plays for Manchester City in the Premier League. He is a deadly goal scorer, and has been on fire the last few weeks for City. Argentina is a talented squad, but without a doubt, you will see Aguero distinguish himself in the Cup games. He is not as selfish as many talented scorers, showing himself to be a real team player and helping out when his team is on the attack. Grateful midfielders will always look to find him when it is time to put the ball forward and into the net.
Yohan Cabaye, with France in the FIFA World Cup, plays for Newcastle United in the Premier League. He is a midfielder with an almost instinctual understanding of the game and its logistics. He is a diagnostician, figuring out where he can have the most impact and getting himself into that spot without even thinking twice. He is famous for being able to put the ball exactly where it needs to be so a forward can put it in the net. He is no stranger to scoring, and gets more chances for that with the National team as opposed to Newcastle, but his is the role of play maker.
Pablo “Dani” Osvaldo, with Italy in the FIFA World Cup, plays for Sunderland in the Premier League. His inclusion on this list is conditional upon his making it to June without doing something to get himself thrown off of the team before then. He is famous for his temper, though in some cases it may have been exaggerated. Osvaldo is too talented not to be there, with a precision to his kicks that brand him a master technician. It seems like he must have some method of controlling a kick remotely. It literally weaves between defenders to find the back of the net. If he does not keep his mouth under control, however, FIFA might get to see four stars instead of five as they emerge onto the international stage for the World Cup.
Mesut Ozil, with Germany in the FIFA World Cup, plays for Arsenal in the Premier League. He is an accomplished scorer, and a veteran of the Spanish league as well as the EPL. Ozil is sneaky. Opposing teams know very well that they need to look out for him, but somehow he finds a way to move into position with a minimum of movement or obvious effort. It is almost like he simply appears in the spot he needs to be before anybody notices and, by then, it is too late. He has good control over distance as well, making him a threat from just about anywhere in the opponent’s half of the field. Once they do mark him as a threat, however, he is quick to look to pass unselfishly. Expect him to distinguish himself early on in the Cup.
Luis Suarez, with Uruguay in the FIFA World Cup, plays for Liverpool in the Premier League. He is another who falls into the category of being too good not to be there, despite considerable public opinion to the contrary after a highly publicized incident where he bit the arm of another player in a fit of rage. He was suspended and then returned, but there are few EPL fans who can forget the image of the inexplicable incident. For that reason, Suarez is everyone’s favorite player to hate. Given that Uruguay is playing against England in the opening Group stage, that is not likely to change. Suarez is a goal scoring machine, and he is difficult to stop. He scored four goals in one game a couple of weeks ago. He has a chemistry with the National team that is nearly as fluid as with his Liverpool teammates. Look for that to bite England in the backside early on in the Cup.
Many players will see their fortunes rise as they step onto the world stage in Brazil. Many will see them fall. If you have not heard of these players yet, by the time the FIFA World Cup comes around in June, you will be able to see as these five young stars emerge and distinguish themselves playing against the world’s best.
By Jim Malone