The World Cup platform has made stars out of players like Pele, Diego Maradona, Michael Owen, and many more. Looking to carry forward the legacy of these greats, many young players would be taking to the field in order to announce their arrival on the international arena. Here is a look at the players making their World Cup debut in Brazil:
Neymar (Brazil): What better a way to start than the home hero himself! The entire Brazil would be glues to their television screens in anticipation of their hero Neymar powering their team to the title. They would be hoping that he pulls of a feat like their talismanic striker Ronaldo in the 2002 edition. After not been picked for the 2010 edition inspite of several big players naming him the next big thing, he has finally got his due and he would surely like to make the most of it.
Neymar. Pic/ AFP
International Appearances: 49
Eden Hazard (Belgium): After having made a huge name for himself in the English Premier League with Chelsea this season, 23 year old Hazard would like to showcase his skill on the big stage as well. One of the most talented players in the Belgium side, he will be making his first World Cup appearance this time in Brazil against teams like Algeria, Russia and South Korea in the league stage.
Eden Hazard. Pic/ AFP
International Appearances: 44
Position: Attacking Mid-fielder
Diego Costa (Spain): Diego Costa had a memorable season with his club Atletico Madrid when he scored 27 goals, which was instrumental in them winning the La liga title. After being granted citizenship of Spain (he made two international appearances for Brazil), he was chosen in the Spanish squad to partner the likes of David Villa and Fernando Torres. This will be his maiden World Cup appearance and he would surely like to carry his domestic form onto the international arena as well.
Diego Costa. Photo: AFP
International Appearances: 2
Club: Atletico Madrid
Paul Pogba (France): France would be relying on their mid-field to erase the ghosts of the past World Cup. Paul Pogba can play a key role in this side in the absence of the maverick Frank Ribery. He had a good season with Juventus, scoring 19 goals in 51 appearances and also providing many assists. Named as one of the most promising young players in Europe and also an Under-20 World Cup winning captain, Pogba would look to live up to his high billing in Brazil.
Paul Pogba. Photo: AFP
International Appearances: 11
Daniel Sturridge (England): With 21 goals this Premier League season, Sturridge made a firm claim for the national side for the plane to Brazil and his performance was rewarded by Coach Roy Hodgson. With an injury to Theo Walcott, he will mainly be partnering strikers Wayne Rooney, Rickey Lambert and Danny Welbeck in the forward line. He will be one of the most important factors for England’s chances in this tournament.
Daniel Sturridge. Photo: AFP
International Appearances: 12
Shola Ameobi (Nigeria): With over 80 goals in close to 400 games for premiership side Newcastle United, it may seem odd that striker Shola Ameobi will make his World Cup debut this time in Brazil. Ameobi initially played for the England U-21 side in the early 2000s, before making his debut for Nigeria in 2011. He will be keen to use his decade and half long experience in a group that has teams like Argentina, Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina vying for a place in the next round.
Shola Ameobi Photo: AFP
International Appearances: 7
Club: Newcastle United