FIFA World Cup

2018 FIFA WC: Haven't heard of their names? 5 players who can surprise you in Russia

Suman Chakravorty:
The FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia is knocking around the corner and the football fans across the globe have already started to predict the new superstars of this World Cup. Here goes five names which you might not aware of, but thinks, have the quality to surprise everyone.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (England)

England start their Group G campaign against Tunisia on 18 June, before games against Panama on 24 June and Belgium on 28 June.

When Gareth Southgate announced the squad on Wednesday, May 16, the surprise inclusion was Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who played for Crystal Palace this season on loan from Chelsea. Loftus-Cheek is an intriguing player with long-striding grace.

His shielding, covering, deep-playmaking presence with a calmness in possession and a naturally telescopic reach, he would be a good fit for the England national team.

Bassem Srarfi (Tunisia)

The 20-year-old has just broken into the Nice team in France's Championnat and a good performance against England in Tunisia's opening game on June 18 could have the scouts flocking to sign him up.

He began his career in Tunis with Club Africain but was soon spotted and signed up by Nice.

Srarfi has an uncanny ability to dazzle on the right wing, then cut into the center and create opportunities for himself and others. England's defense needs to keep tabs on him if they are not to avoid an embarrassing result in Volgograd.

Rolando Blackburn (Panama)

At 28 he might be peaking quite late in his career, but then Panama have never played in a World Cup before so few football fans outside of Central America have never seen the resplendently named striker before.

Blackburn has scored goals everywhere he has gone, although he has been ironically less prolific with the national team, scoring only four in 26 appearances.

If he is picked for the game against England on June 24 it is just possible he might pick his moment to write his name up in lights.

Youri Tielemans (Belgium)

Belgium's national team is nowadays star-studded with Chelsea's Thibault Courtois and Eden Hazard, Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini, Manchester City's de Bruyne and Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen and Tobi Alderweireld.

It might, therefore, be difficult for 20-year-old Youri Tielemans to break into the team. But if he does get the chance, expect the Monaco midfielder to shine.

He grew up just outside Brussels and signed for Belgium's biggest club, Anderlecht, playing 139 times in the famous mauve shirts before a 25 million euro (US$29 million) move to Monte Carlo.

Leon Goretzka (Germany)

Germany are the World Cup holders after a spectacular tournament in Brazil, where they destroyed the hosts 7-1 in the semi-final and then overcame Argentina.

Their squad has established stars like Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Sami Khedira but one name who has come on the scene in the last four years is set to have a great tournament in Russia.

Leon Goretzka has just moved from Schalke 04 to Germany's biggest club, Bayern Munch, but he started out at VfL Bochum.

"I have never seen an 18 year old football who had the potential Goretzka had," said his head coach at Bochum, Peter Neururer.

Now Goretzka is 23 and Russia comes at the perfect time for him. He is tall and athletic but above all has superb ball control and an ability to pick out the perfect pass while under pressure.


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