If the group games are anything to go by, the 2014 world cup will probably go down as one of the most exciting world cups in recent times. At the heart of the matches is the battle of youth over experience and team spirit over individual stars. Ghana’s Black Stars, which gave Germany a run for its money with a 2-2 draw, has the youngest team with an average of 25 years while Argentina has the oldest squad.
Here are the top 5 young players who will probably get big clubs looking their direction after the World Cup.
1. Divock Origi, 19 (Belgium)
Kenyan-Born Origi is one of the youngest players in this World Cup at 19 years. He came off the bench on Sunday to score against Russia in a 1-0 victory and help Belgium secure a place in the last 16. Origi, who plays for Lille in France, has for the second time subbed the much-fancied striker Romelu Lukaku who has been disappointing. Origi is likely to start in the subsequent games as there was an apparent fall out between Lukaku and Belgian coach Marc Wilmots. With sublime touches and excellent positioning, Origi plays like an experienced player and is most likely to get offers come the new season.
2. Joel Campbell, 21 (Costa Rica)
When England plays Costa Rica in their final group match, they will seek to restrict the speedy and creative Joel Campbell who scored and helped Costa Rica beat Uruguay 3-1 and Italy 1-0, against all odds. Not that it will matter. England are on there way out of the tournament and Costa Rica has qualified to the second round. The Arsenal forward is hoping his good run in the last two games for Costa Rica will convince Arsene Wenger to bring back the striker to London from Olympiakos where he has been on loan. Campbell is not a flash-on-the-pan striker as he proved his worth when he scored for his host club against Manchester United in the champions league.
3. Bernard, 21 (Brazil)
Bernard Anicio Caldeira Duarte is one of the young stars lighting the World Cup. The 21 old winger has been instrumental in Team Brazil and is a darling of the fans and Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. The diminutive mid-fielder who plays for Shakhtar Donetsk has impressed with his consistency and loyalty, values Scolari prefers over individual skill. Rumors are rife that Liverpool and Arsenal are interested in Bernard, but as the tournament progresses, more clubs will start knocking on Donetsk’s doors for the talented Bernard.
4. Koke, 22 (Spain)
Defending champions Spain might be the biggest disappointment in this World Cup having lost the first two games and already out of contention to progress to the next stage, but the star-studded team will have to look elsewhere for the implosion as they don’t lack talent. Koke (Jorge Resurrecion Merodio) is following in the steps of Spain legends Xavi and Iniesta. The Atletico Madrid mid-fielder scored 5 goals and 13 assists for the club which won the la liga ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona. He may not have a chance to prove his worth in Brazil but he is definitely a player worth watching in the future and Barcelona have expressed interest in signing him though he has affirmed his commitment to Atletico.
5. Thibaut Courtois (22) Belgium
Chelsea are recalling the star goal keeper who is on loan to Spain champions Atletico Madrid. Thibaut celebrated his 100th career clean sheet yesterday when Belgium beat Russia 1-0. This is no small feat considering he is only 22. No wonder Jose Mourinho wants him back at Chelsea. The Belgium international has already won the La Liga and was runners-up in the champions league. Thibaut is yet to lose a game as the Belgium keeper in the 19 games he has started; thirteen wins, six draws and zero defeats.