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7 players who will be household names after the World Cup

Who will replicate James Rodriguez's 2014 breakout campaign in Russia?

Can we all take a moment to remember how good James Rodriguez was in 2014?

Before the World Cup in Brazil, he was popular among hipsters for his impressive efforts for Porto and Monaco.

After the tournament, he became a Real Madrid galactico and a household name.


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So the question is, which players will emerge from the 2018 World Cup with their reputations similarly enhanced?

1 Hirving Lozano

Not nicknamed after the character from ‘Rugrats’

Getty Images - Getty
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Not nicknamed after the character from ‘Rugrats’

Lozano has been tipped for a breakout tournament by pretty much everyone with half a passing interest in the World Cup.

Mexico’s 22-year-old winger inspired PSV to the Eredivisie title last season with 17 goals from 29 games.

An intense character with a volatile alter ego, his speed and finishing make him a potential headline-grabber in Russia.

Nicknamed after the murderous doll from the ‘Child’s Play’ horror film series, everything about ‘Chucky’ screams jackpot or bust.

2 Timo Werner

About to go mainstream…

Getty - Contributor
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About to go mainstream…

Many of you are already familiar with Germany’s new No9.

The 22-year-old forward has scored 42 goals in 77 games for RB Leipzig and has bagged eight goals from his 14 international caps so far.

A shrewd finisher who contributes even when he’s not bothering the opposition keeper, Werner has the luxury of playing ahead of Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and the rest of Germany’s uber talented midfield for the next month.

If he can follow in the footsteps of Miroslav Klose and Thomas Muller on the biggest stage of them all, then a high-profile transfer awaits.

3 Pione Sisto

PICTURED: Not Christian Eriksen

Reuters
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PICTURED: Not Christian Eriksen

Denmark are a one-man team, right?

They start and end with Christian Eriksen.

Wrong.

Flying Celta Vigo winger Sisto will hope to cause havoc while Denmark’s opponents are preoccupied with the Spurs creator.

The 23-year-old contributed to 14 goals in 34 La Liga games for last season, his nine assists equalling the tally of Antoine Griezmann.

An exciting dribbler with pace to burn, he’s the type of player you notice while half-watching a game at the pub.

4 Piotr Zielinski

Jockey of the dark horse

Getty - Contributor
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Jockey of the dark horse

A joy to behold for all appreciators of technically proficient midfielders.

Many fancy Poland for a dark horse run to the quarter-finals and if Adam Nawalka’s side are to leave their mark then Zielinski’s understanding with Robert Lewandowski will be crucial.

Starved of regular first-team action at Napoli, Zielinski may use Russia as a platform to exhibit his considerable talent.

5 Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

The big one

EPA
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The big one

A 6ft 4in attacking midfielder is impossible to ignore.

Serbia’s talisman may look like a battering ram, but he’s an artist in possession.

The Man United target bagged 14 goals in all competitions for Lazio last season.

A fearsome shooter from distance, he’s just a couple of screamers away from being a global superstar.

6 Hakim Ziyech

New profile picture

Getty - Contributor
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New profile picture

We reckon Morocco could be 2018’s giant-killers.

Disciplined defensively, they will be hoping to punish opponents on the break through Ajax star Ziyech.

The 25-year-old is equally capable of taking three defenders out of the game with a pinpoint pass or a mazy dribble.

He averages a goal every other game at international level and his penchant for the spectacular may win him a few million fans.

7 Cristian Pavon

Yet another Argentine superstar in waiting…

AP:Associated Press
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Yet another Argentine superstar in waiting…

We finish with a rogue shout.

Argentina’s embarrassment of attacking riches mean young Pavon may struggle for game time but he has the ability to be devastating impact sub.

The Boca Juniors forward can play from the right or the left and has the habit of making things happen.

Relatively unknown in Europe, the 22-year-old has been linked with a move across the Atlantic for the last year.

All it would take is a couple of game-changing cameos for the rest of the world to get aboard the Pavon hype train.

Choo choo!


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