With the World Cup drawing closer, The Republican Post’s Muhammad Haziq B Ismail takes a look at five players to watch in Russia.
Egypt secured a place in the World Cup for the first time since 1990, thanks to Mohamed Salah’s winning penalty against Congo. He has also set the English Premier League alight this season, scoring 44 goals and assisting on 16 others in his first season for Liverpool. He has also won 36 individual awards so far this season, including African Footballer of the Year and also the PFA Player of the Year. He will be crucial to Egypt’s hopes of progressing in Group A, which also sees Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.
After being voted as Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year for the second time, Kylian Mbappe (in white) who is Paris Saint-Germain winger is sure to be a significant part of the French Team in Russia. At just 19, he was given the number 10 shirt, which was previously worn by French greats Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini. Alongside Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud, the trio will form a lethal attack force at the World Cup.
Costa Rica, Goalkeeper
He was the hero during the last World Cup as Costa Rica topped the group stages, before the team was knocked out at the quarter final stage. His performance attracted Spanish giants Real Madrid to sign him and since then, he has won two consecutive UEFA Champions League (15/16 and 16/17) with them and three Club World Cups. The 31-year-old will be crucial to his country’s hope of progressing from a group which also consists Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland.
South Korea, Forward
One of Asia’s best footballers, Son (in red) is a prolific attacker for his club and country. He has been great for English side Tottenham this season, helping them qualify for next season’s Champions League. Capped 63 times for his country, Son has scored 20 goals on the international level. The 25-year-old is crucial to South Korea’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages after the Asian powerhouse suffered a poor 2014 World Cup campaign and crashed out of the group stages.
When people think of Argentina, Lionel Messi will be the first name on every fan’s mind. But don’t discount Paulo Dybala (no.21). The 24-year-old is often recognised as the heir to Messi, as he is lethal up front and a menace for defenders. The Juventus forward has scored 26 goals and has formed an impressive understanding with Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuaín. With all the pressure on Messi, Dybala could surprise.
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