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2018 FIFA World Cup: 10 Reasons to keep your eyes on the beautiful game this summer

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2018 FIFA World Cup: 10 Reasons to keep your eyes on the beautiful game this summer

Text: Su Fen Tan

All eyes are on Russia (and the players) as the 2018 World Cup kicks off in high gear

'Tis the time when even non-football fans will tune in to watch the exciting proceedings that roll around once every four years—if not for the beautiful game (a term that was fondly coined by football legend Pelé), getting behind a team and cheering them on to victory is a thrill in itself. For those who are interested in neither of the above, then perhaps this list will come in handy. Below, you'll find 10 players who are not just skilled on the field, but are rather easy on the eyes too:

 

Julian Draxler | Team Germany

Age: 24

Position: Attacking midfielder

A fairly young player who has really come into his own in the last few years, Draxler has the pace and intelligence to help drive the German team forward, with great dribbling skills to match.

 

 

Neymar | Team Brazil

Age: 26

Position: Forward

This man needs no introduction. His playmaking abilities has earned him comparisons to the likes of Messi, Ronaldinho, and Pelé, and many in the field have tipped him on becoming the best player in the world—one to watch for sure.

 

 

Lucas Hernández | Team France

Age: 22

Position: Defender

The left-footed Hernández is tall, strong, and has great speed and anticipation, traits that have established him as one of the best defenders in La Liga. 

 

 

Dele Alli | Team England

Age: 22

Position: Midfielder

At 188cm, Alli is a towering figure in the midfield with intelligent passes and an eye for goal. According to Spurs coach Pochettino: "In the box, he looks like a striker, and outside the box, he plays like a midfielder". Fun fact: He's quite known for his style off the pitch too. 

 

 

Yann Sommer | Team Switzerland

Age: 29

Position: Goalkeeper

After being second choice in Brazil four years ago, Sommer comes into Russia 2018 with the No. 1 jersey on his back this time round and a EUFA Euro first team experience under his belt.

 

 

Makoto Hasebe | Team Japan

Age: 34

Position: Defensive midfielder

Captain of the Japanese national team since 2010, the nation will be counting on Hasebe to hold the middle of the park with his great passing, vision and technical skills. 

 

 

Paulo Dybala | Team Argentina

Age: 24

Position: Forward

Nicknamed "La Joya" (The Jewel in Spanish), Dybala's creativity, pace and technical abilities on the pitch has cemented his status as one of the brightest stars of the game in recent years—here's to hoping we will get to see his signature Dybalamask celebration in the tournament soon.

 

 

Raúl Jiménez | Team Mexico

Age: 27

Position: Forward

Jiménez's club career as of late probably hasn't been as prolific as he'd like, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he's an instinctive finisher with good ball control and pace. Perhaps the recent loan move to Wolves and the World Cup stage will give him the play time he needs to shine.

 

 

Hörður Björgvin Magnússon | Team Iceland

Age: 25

Position: Defender

Iceland is having a huge start, and this guy is playing a valueable part in it. While Magnússon often plays in the left back position, he is capable of taking charge at the heart of defence when needed too. The striking footballer is also known for his powerful free kicks.

 

 

Thomas Vermaelen | Team Belgium

Age: 32

Position: Defender

The former Arsenal skipper has unfortunately been dogged by injuries since his transfer to Camp Nou, but he has proved to be a solid centre-back with goalscoring abilities to boot, and will no doubt play a crucial role in Belgium's World Cup plight when he returns to full fitness (in time for the final two group games, we hope).

 

 

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  • Image:
    Cover Article: Instagram | Julian Draxler
  • Image:
    Cover Rubric: Instagram | Yann Sommer
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