We take a look at a handful of younger stars who have never played in a World Cup before but have the skills to light up the tournament in Russia.
Kylian Mbappe (France, 19)
As one of the most highly-rated teenagers in the game, Mbappe will hardly be an unknown quantity but the Paris St Germain forward is still finding his feet in international football. Two years ago he was competing in the Under-19 European Championships, but a brace against Russia in March helped push his claims to feature in an attack led by Antoine Griezmann.
Gabriel Jesus (Brazil, 21)
Already part of the furniture at record-breaking Manchester City, Jesus has been groomed for a key role at the tournament since scoring twice on his Brazil debut against Ecuador in September 2016. Versatile enough to dovetail neatly with the Selecao’s plethora of playmakers and likely to go a long way in the competition.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia, 23)
Linked to a club near you on any given day of the week, the Lazio midfielder seems destined to land a major move soon and what better showcase than the World Cup? A physically imposing player who has the ability to create as well as destroy, he is ready to play catch up after being exiled by his previous international coach.
Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina, 22)
Fashioning a coherent team from Argentina’s patchwork of mercurial individuals has long been a problem, but this nimble attacking midfielder could end up making the cut ahead of more established stars. Did not debut until after qualifying but comes in buoyed by a title-winning season at PSG.
Timo Werner (Germany, 22)
Looks a good bet to lead the line for Germany, despite battling with Mario Gomez, Sandro Wagner and Lars Stindl for one place up front. Won the Golden Ball at the Confederations Cup last year and a return of seven goals in 12 caps shows he is anything but fazed by wearing the shirt.
Hirving Lozano (Mexico, 22)
The marauding winger has had a huge impact in his maiden season with PSV Eindhoven, scoring a hatful of goals and chipping in with plenty of assists cutting in from the wing. His stay in the Eredivisie could be a brief one, with bigger things beckoning and the grandest platform of all at his disposal this summer.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay, 20)
Not a regular starter at Juventus but trusted enough to start Champions League matches against Barcelona and Real Madrid this season. Has been likened to Nemanja Matic for his physical attributes and presence in midfield and could play an important anchoring job to help free up Luis Suarez.
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