From Kudus to Gavi: eight gamers prepared to interrupt by at World Cup | World Cup 2022

Mohammad Kudus (Ghana)

The 22-year-old arrived in Europe as an adolescent after spending his youth within the Proper to Dream academy in his homeland. Nordsjælland put him within the first crew at 18, shortly proving himself too good for the Danish league within the following two seasons. Ajax noticed his abilities and paid €9m to convey him to the Eredivisie. Erik ten Hag used him primarily as a central midfielder however he can play additional ahead and already has 5 targets from 18 appearances at worldwide stage. Kudus possesses nice shut management, can dumbfound defenders in tight areas and may drive his crew ahead because of his dribbling. He reads the sport effectively and even when working at velocity appears to know the place his teammates will likely be, serving to him grow to be a prolific help for his membership. Wu

This can be a World Cup like no different. For the final 12 years the Guardian has been reporting on the problems surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the therapy of migrant employees and discriminatory legal guidelines. One of the best of our journalism is gathered on our devoted Qatar: Beyond the Football house web page for many who wish to go deeper into the problems past the pitch.

Guardian reporting goes far past what occurs on the pitch. Help our investigative journalism today.

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Qatar: past the soccer


This can be a World Cup like no different. For the final 12 years the Guardian has been reporting on the problems surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the therapy of migrant employees and discriminatory legal guidelines. One of the best of our journalism is gathered on our devoted Qatar: Past the Soccer house web page for many who wish to go deeper into the problems past the pitch.

Guardian reporting goes far past what occurs on the pitch. Help our investigative journalism as we speak.

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Rafael Leao (Portugal)

A product of the Sporting academy, the attacker has grow to be one of the vital feared forwards in Serie A, serving to Milan to their first title in 11 years final season and gaining a spot within the league’s crew of the 12 months. Along with top, the 23-year-old possesses loads of tempo and is commonly used on the flanks by Stefano Pioli. Leão is as adept at creating as he’s scoring, making him a menace whether or not out huge or down the center. He’s but to attain at worldwide stage however comes into the match because the joint-14th finest participant on the planet, in accordance with the Ballon d’Or. With Cristiano Ronaldo’s energy waning and Diogo Jota absent, Leão will likely be anticipated to assist fill the void and present why Europe’s high golf equipment are after him. Wu

Rafael Leão in action for Portugal against Switzerland in Geneva in June
Rafael Leão is a menace each on the wing and thru the center. {Photograph}: Eurasia Sport Pictures/Getty Pictures

Gio Reyna (USA)

His twentieth birthday comes solely eight days earlier than his crew’s opener, towards Wales, however there’s appreciable World Cup weight on Reyna’s shoulders. His father, Claudio, starred within the USA’s run to the 2002 quarter-finals whereas he’s named after his dad’s pal, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who made his final ever taking part in look within the 2010 remaining. Strain certainly, exacerbated by being at Borussia Dortmund, Europe’s prime ending faculty. There have been damage frustrations; final season was shortened by muscle issues that he has labored arduous to recuperate from however his expertise is undoubted. His former teammate Erling Haaland calls him “the American dream”. Amongst followers again house, the joy for Reyna is greater even than that for Christian Pulisic, significantly after he not too long ago recovered his membership kind and beginning place. J.B.

Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)

Making a late and persuasive run for inclusion in Lionel Scaloni’s squad, Fernández had been at River Plate since he was 5 years previous earlier than taking the well-worn path amongst younger South People to Benfica in August. He was even named after the Uruguayan River legend – and present sporting director – Enzo Francescoli. His performances as a deep-lying central midfield playmaker – additionally taking part in field to field – in Benfica’s wonderful Champions League group stage displaying this season are reported to have put him on the wished lists of Barcelona and Actual Madrid amongst others. The 21-year-old starred in Benfica’s home-and-away defeats of Juventus, dominating their midfield together with his ball-winning, ball-carrying and distribution. He appears destined to be a giant a part of his nationwide crew’s post-Lionel Messi panorama. J.B.

Dusan Vlahovic (Serbia)

Dusan Vlahovic scores against Azerbaijan in qualifying for Qatar
Dusan Vlahovic scores towards Azerbaijan in qualifying for Qatar. {Photograph}: Predrag Milosavljevic/SIPA/Shutterstock

The prolific striker has already proven in Italy what he can do. His 44 targets in 98 Serie A video games for Fiorentina made Juventus splash €70m upfront for his companies to hopefully kickstart a brand new period in Turin. Along with his spectacular objective tally, Vlahovic can maintain up the ball and convey others into play. He’ll in all probability begin alongside Aleksandar Mitrovic, with Dusan Tadic behind, guaranteeing no protection that comes up towards Serbia in Qatar will likely be allowed a straightforward time. Though he has impressed in home soccer, the 22-year-old is but to indicate his capabilities in Europe, failing to assist Juventus get out of their Champions League group, and will likely be eager to indicate the remainder of the world that he actually is likely one of the finest within the enterprise. Wu

Gavi (Spain)

Spain’s Euro 2020 breakout star was Pedri. From the identical Barcelona secure comes a midfielder who solely celebrated his 18th birthday in August. The newest, brightest flower from La Masia academy, in 2021 Gavi grew to become his nation’s youngest ever participant at 17 years and 62 days, and Spain’s youngest ever scorer, towards the Czech Republic this June. In October he succeeded Pedri in profitable the Kopa Trophy for the world’s finest participant beneath the age of 21, his ability set bringing again reminiscences of Barcelona predecessors corresponding to Andrés Iniesta and Xavi, the present supervisor on the Camp Nou. Xavi has been as sparing as he will be with such a generational expertise however Luis Enrique might not be in a position to withstand such temptation. “We’re speaking a couple of case that is not regular,” mentioned Spain’s supervisor. J.B.

Gavi of Spain controls the ball during the Nations League match against Switzerland
Gavi’s type has evoked reminiscences of Andrés Iniesta and Xavi. {Photograph}: Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Federico Valverde (Uruguay)

A key, extensively unsung participant in Actual Madrid’s 2022 Champions League-winning crew, Valverde served because the lungs for older midfield colleagues corresponding to Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro. In Qatar, with power ranges which have had him in comparison with a youthful Steven Gerrard, he might need to do likewise for his nation’s veterans corresponding to Luis Suárez, Diego Godín and Edinson Cavani. This season he has added targets to his repertoire, together with in October’s 3-1 clásico win, making a typical surge to crash house. Signed as an adolescent from Peñarol, Valverde made his means into the Madrid first crew through the Castilla reserve facet however at 24, together with his growth and authority ever rising, he has grow to be an important performer for membership and nation. J.B.

Takefusa Kubo (Japan)

At 18 the winger already had Barcelona and Actual Madrid on his CV, that means his potential is undoubted. He didn’t make a first-team look for both however now has greater than 100 appearances beneath his belt in La Liga, primarily out on mortgage at Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe. Kubo lastly has a everlasting house in San Sebastián after becoming a member of Actual Sociedad in the summertime, scoring the winner on his debut towards Cádiz. He has loads of match expertise; Kubo went to the Beneath-20 World Cup aged 15, traveled to the Copa América in 2019 and scored on the Olympics two years later. Greater than 1,000,000 folks observe the 21-year-old on Instagram, a sign of his prominence and recognition in Japan, though it additionally reveals the stress he’s beneath to provide on the most important stage this winter. Wu

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