The World Cup provides the perfect chance for upcoming talents, in form players, or those few who still have to prove a point on the World Stage. Whether it is a nations hope on their shoulders, a reluctance to perform in the big games or simply a transfer to a top club, this summer will give the players to chance to prove themselves. Here we go…
The World’s best player is merely seen as another player in his home land. A lot of course is expected of him but his performances for the national team have not been as impressive as those for Barcelona. Having left Argentina at the age of 13, Messi is frowned upon by some and is even labelled as ‘The Catalan’ in many places. A World Cup winning performance will soon change that, and if his recent displays are anything to go by, the Argentineans should have every hope of this happening.
When you are captain of your country, you are constantly under pressure to deliver. When you are captain of your country and booed off by your own fans, you owe it to them to perform. Thierry Henry is certainly not somebody who crumbles under pressure. This summer could possibly provide him with the biggest challenge of his career. He may well be looking forward to a new start in New York but it is changing his reputation in his home land which will be top of his to do list. Where better than the World Cup? A World Cup where, had it not been for his hand, the French team may not have been involved. Poor form a side, France and Henry should not be underestimated.
Never before has the nation expected this much. A general feeling that this COULD be the year. Don’t worry about Beckham or Cole, as long as Wayne Rooney is fit, England have a chance. At least, that is the belief. Rooney, like he did in 2004, needs to deliver on the World stage. If he take his club form this season and continues it in the World Cup then he will have every chance of propelling England towards glory. A nation believes but will he deliver?
After his cameo in last Wednesday night’s Champions League tie, the World Cup has taken on a whole new importance. If he can produce a similar impact this summer as he did against Barcelona, Walcott can be a very important player for England. Aaron Lennon’s injury is still unclear which would surely provide the chance for Walcott to nip in. He himself has suffered from injuries this season but looked very sharp mid-week. Will no doubt be closely monitored by Fabio Capello and could finally prove himself on the World stage this summer!
Being Brazil’s number one striker carry’s a weight of its own. However, rarely have Brazil lacked a number 9 as much as they have recently. Fabiano has not disappointed. The bad-boy of Brazil has seemingly matured and in doing so has been scoring for both Sevilla and the national team. Five goals in last summer’s Confederations Cup and a double against arch-rivals Argentina have only added to his reputation. Dunga will be relying on his fire-power to seal the nation’s sixth World Cup title.
Previously over-looked by Maradona despite his 25 goals for Real Madrid, Higuain is a sure bet to be wearing the number 9 shirt for the Albiceleste. He is also a sure bet to score goals. Two goals in his four appearances for the national side have proved Maradona wrong, and every single person in Argentina right. The fans adore him and, after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Germany, they will genuinely believe that this could be there year. The only worry is a lack of experience at a World Cup and whether the pressure will get to him? If not, Messi and Higuain….that’s quite a partnership!
The Serbian midfielder has been recently placed on an international stage with CSKA’s successful run in this season’s Champions League, most notably scoring against Man Utd in the group stages. He is a target for a number of Premier League clubs, and the first impressions you get of the Serbian is of a remarkable similarity to Pavel Nedved. Bodily with his long blond hair he is evocative of the Czech midfield genius, but also in his style of play. He has speed, balance and a composure that constantly threatens opposition defences and would be a tremendous asset for any side in the Premier League, and is Serbia’s biggest attacking talent and is expected to impress on the grandest stage of them all.
The former Manchester United defender has gone on to become first choice for both club and country. The centre-back has been a rock in the heart of Barcelona’s defence and while we watch on in awe, Sir Alex will be wondering what possessed him to offload the young Spanish defender. If he can do it on the World Stage, it will go down as one of Sir Alex’s biggest mistakes.
Has been the subject of many transfer rumours over the past two seasons but this summer could finally see him leave Bayern for one of Europe’s elite. How much the French winger goes for could be based on his performance this summer. Bayern have reported quoted figures ranging between £40million and £60miilion, and they will probably be hoping for a good display in order to get as much of that as possible. Certainly has a point to prove this summer.
Angel Di Maria
The young Argentine winger has been the talk of Europe this season and is bound to end up in one of the top leagues by the end of the summer. Di Maria scored the winner against Nigeria in the Olympic final two years ago, handing Argentina back-to-back football gold medals. He is expected to start of the left hand side for Maradona’s side, with the Argentina coach already declaring that “Angel has the quality to be a worldwide superstar within the next two years”. Di Maria is reportedly being trailed by Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, a good World Cup could well see him Premiership bound very soon.