All 32 participating teams in this summer’s World Cup in Brazil have named their provisional squads.
To everyone’s surprise big names have been omitted. Apparently Carlos Tevez, Mario Gomez, Emmanuel Eboue, Samir Nasri, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Lucas Moura among many others will miss the Rio de Janeiro jamboree and will have to embrace their tellies or book personal tickets if they are to have a fair share of the breathtaking euphoria.
Many have publicly decried their omission while others have rued injuries for their failure to make the cut, but there is no reverse gear as it is barely a fortnight to the extravaganza as managers will be keen to accomplish their eleventh hour preparations with no screech.
Surprisingly the big time showpiece action which traditionally was a preserve of old and experienced flairs, this time features youngsters who will fill the empty spaces resulting from the subtle tweaks and justify their inclusion while etching their names in the tournament’s folklore.
Others will be out to strengthen their cases as they embark on an adventurous expedition of representing their national colors in the foreseeable future. The following are prospects who will realise their dreams as they take the world’s grandest soccer stage in South America.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea & Belgium
At just 23 the Belgium international has been equated to France legend Zinedine Zidane by his coach Mark Wilmots. The Chelsea ace will be out to silence his critics and showcase his skill in the Red Devils’ colours in next month’s tournament.
Having scooped all valuable accolades throughout his stint at Lille and earning himself a marquee transfer to Chelsea in the summer of 2012 Hazard will be keen to beef up his bid to become the best player on the planet. His speed, technical ability, fearlessness and dazzling dribbling skills will be of debilitating effects to opposing defences as he takes on the world’s finest teams.
He is apt in craftness, guile, accuracy in acceleration and passing and his ability to free up strikers will open up impropable spaces as Wilmots’s outfit bid to perfect their dark horses status. He can conjure nightmarish specters courtesy of his versatility, lightning counter attacking and ambidexterity that can force defenders to foul him which clearly makes him a diamond in Belgium’s ensemble.
Daniel Cravajal, Real Madrid & Spain
Having progressed through the youth ranks at Real Madrid and a brief spell with Bayer Leverkusen, Carvajal will be on a mission to cement a starting spot in La Roja’s starting XI at the expense of Cesar Azpilicueta.
Throughout the last two seasons Dani has had a stellar campaign that saw him leave Los Blancos after failing to breakthrough into the first team for the Bay Arena. His virtuosity in the Germany capital earned him plaudits which subsequently saw his Leverkusen tenure summarily called off as his boyhood club came calling having decided to exercise that buy back clause in his contract.
His heroics in Germany earned him a place in the 2012/2013 Bundesliga team of the season having struck once and assisted five times. A string of fine performances at the rearguard as he helped Bayer Leverkusen finish third. The Bernabeau academy graduate has continued with his fine form in the 2013/14 campaign for Real Madrid as he was Carlo Ancelotti’s constant figure in the right wing back in their domestic and continental campaign.
His exemplary tackling discipline, full attacking spirit, exceptional passing precision, constant press on opponents, deft first touch and quick pace on re-tracking back adds a flavoursome dimension to Vicente del Bosque’s charges.
Neymar, Barcelona & Brazil
The 22-year-old Barcelona winger will be the ideal poster boy and authentic hallmark of the Pentacampeone’s offensive brand of football. He is yet to hit his heydays but his emblematic dribbling and flicking skills makes the icing on Brazil’s cake.
The former Santos winger is adept in staging lip licking dummys and nerve shredding free kicks which will for sure dismay opponents. His virtuoso orchestrations will be the epicenter if Brazil’s hopes of clinching their unprecedented sixth crown.
Ciro Immobile, Torino & Italy
The Annunziatta born striker emerged as a surprise Serie A top marksman last season after nicking 22 goals with also runs Torino at the expense of big names like Carlos Tevez and Francisco Totti and Antonio di Natale.
After finding the back of the net 30 times with Sorrento in the U17 2007/08 campaign he switched to Juventus. He carried on with his superb form as he was instrumental in the Bianconerri’s 2009/10 back to back success in the Torneo Viarrogo.
His attacking threat, dribbling exploits and strong finishing has seen him likened to former Inter Milan star Diego Milito. His agility, versatility and work ethics depict the exact opposite English implication of his name. His aerial ability and efficient work rate makes him a multi faceted striker .
Julian Draxler, Schalke & Germany
Though the 21-year-old Schalke 04 offensive midfielder exhibits a baby face, his eye for goal points to the contrary in the experience scale. He emerged as the youngest debutant in Bundesliga history back in 2011 and went on to be the first babe to hit a half a century appearances in the German domestic league.
His excellent ball control, lethal firing off, versatility across the midfield to liberate strikers and his ability to seamlessly knit the midfield and attack will trigger consternation in opposing defences.
Wilfried Bony, Swansea & Ivory Coast
The Ivory Coast international had a wonderful debut season in the English top flight as he notched 17 goals ensuring Swansea’s relegation worries are tightly consigned to the past. The just ended campaign was a perfect platform for him to underline his mettle at the highest level having emerged from a relatively less physical Eredivisie.
The Swansea frontman exhibits incredible composure in front of goal and is totally unmarkable. His clinicalness makes him an emboldening filip as the Elephants hope to shrug off opponents and advance from their group.
His sublime finishing from rare and tight spaces and ability to evade off side traps to set a one on one situations with shot stoppers makes him the most reliable sniper. His strong neck muscle opens him another frontier in aerial potency. Bony can also retain the ball in the box while his unselfish propensity can help his fellow teammates to notch more goals.
Koke, Atletico Madrid & Spain
Despite being just 22 and at the extreme end of his career Koke has been tipped to be the long term heir of his compatriot mafioso Xavier Hernandez at both Barcelona and Spain.
Already he has more than a century appearances for Rojiblancos and seven in the national team under his belt. Alongside Atletico Madrid skipper Gabi he has been pivotal in Atleti’s remarkable transformation. He featured in all group stage matches of the 2012 summer Olympics in London for Spain and was also an ever present member in La Roja’s 2013 U-21 UEFA Championship winning side while securing himself a berth in the team of the tournament.
His heroics have won him acclaim with rumor mills suggesting that a summer move to either Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid or Barcelona could be on the cards.
Ogenyi Onazi, Lazio & Nigeria
The 21-year-old Nigeria starlet can play all positions across the midfield. Having risen through the ranks at Lazio he already boasts 51 and 19 appearances for club and country respectively since his 2011/12 breakthrough season.
He was the fulcrum of of Nigeria’s U17 2011 runners up lot. Onazi is a consummate and accomplished passer with effecient work rate and remarkable grinding tenacity.
Jack Wilshere, Arsenal & England
Recently his playing time has been limited by a string of injuries but there is no question the Jack will be a critical tool in Roy Hodgson’s charges. He wields a combination of electrifying retaliatory speed, athletic and superb technique, impressive vision with a keen football mind.
Wilshere’s marauding runs masterly of the game and his accurate passes will blow open even the meanest rearguards.