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5 relatively unknown players who became a global superstar at the World Cup

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final
France won the finals of the Football World Cup, 2018

2018 FIFA World Cup is done and dusted. France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the finals on Sunday to win their second World Cup title. Mbappe and Pogba were the stars of the show for the Champions while Perisic and Mandzukic were the key performers for Croatia.

Harry Kane won the Golden Boot for six goals in the tournament while Luka Modric won the Golden Ball award for the Player of the Tournament. Belgium's Thibaut Courtois picked up the Golden Glove award as the best goalkeeper in the tournament.

Teams like Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and Croatia surprised many in the group stages with some great performances. Though players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Toni Kroos, and Andres Iniesta were eliminated early in the tournament, some of the young players took the World Cup by storm.

On that note, let’s take a look at the five relatively unknown players who became a global superstar at the World Cup.


#5 Denis Cheryshev, Russia

Russia v Croatia: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Russia v Croatia: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Although he wasn’t in the starting eleven for Russia’s first game of the World Cup against Saudi Arabia, Cheryshev was Russia’s best player in the tournament with some scintillating performances. He got the opportunity because of an injury to Alan Dzagoev in their opening game and never looked back after that.

When no one gave Russia any chance in the World Cup, Cheryshev’s four goals from five games took them to the quarter-final of the tournament. The 27-year-old scored a brace in the World Cup opener and then scored a goal against Egypt in the next game.

He then scored a stunning goal against Croatia in the quarter-final but lost the game in the shootout. The Former Real Madrid star currently plays in La Liga with Villarreal and could make a summer move to any of the top European clubs after his superb World Cup exploits.

#4 Ante Rebic, Croatia

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final
France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final

Eintracht Frankfurt winger Ante Rebic had a dream World Cup campaign. Rebic got back into the Croatian side after a breakthrough 2017/18 season in Bundesliga. He scored nine goals and assisted two more for Eintracht Frankfurt and played a stellar role in their DFB-Pokal title win.

The 24-year-old was phenomenal on the right flank for Croatia and played a huge role in their run to the World Cup final. Though they lost to France in the final, Rebic was one of Croatia’s stand out player. He showed tremendous pace on the wings and threatened opponents defense with some aggressive attacking runs.

He scored a wonderful goal against Argentina in a group stage game and put in a phenomenal work rate throughout the tournament. His stunning World Cup campaign has got the attention some of the top Premier League clubs.

#3 Benjamin Pavard, France

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final
France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final

Came into the World Cup as a second choice defender but finished the tournament with some great performances and the winner's medal. He started France's World Cup opener against Australia and never slowed down after a strong start to the tournament.

He made 34 appearances for VfB Stuttgart in Bundesliga last season and played in various defensive and midfield positions for the German side. His stunning strike against Argentina in the round of 16 game is definitely one of the best goals of the tournament.

His value has astronomically increased after the World Cup. Pavard will be available for €35 million in 2019 as per the release clause in his contract. The 22-year-old has already been linked with top European clubs like Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea.

#2 Kieran Trippier, England

Belgium v England: 3rd Place Playoff - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Belgium v England: 3rd Place Playoff - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Though Harry Kane might have scored all the goals, Kieran Trippier is arguably England’s best player at the 2018 World Cup. The Tottenham Hotspur fullback started only 21 games in the Premier League last season but was phenomenal for England in the tournament.

Kieran Trippier is only the third England player to score a goal in a World Cup semifinal and played an instrumental role in their fourth-place finish at the 2018 World Cup. The 27-year-old defender was brilliant with his set-piece deliveries and showed a lot of maturity throughout the tournament.

He took a crucial penalty in the shootout against Colombia during their round of 16 encounter. Deployed on the right wing by Gareth Southgate, Trippier completed four Key Passes per game, which makes it a total of 24 chances created in the tournament.

#1 Hirving Lozano, Mexico

Brazil v Mexico: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Brazil v Mexico: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

PSV Eindhoven winger Hirving Lozano is one of the finds of the tournament. Hirving Lozano produced some brilliant performances in the World Cup and against Germany, in particular. He troubled every defense with his pace, power, and ability to go past defenders.

The 22-year-old scored a goal and assisted one more in the tournament. He completed 3.5 dribbles per game with a passing accuracy of 86.7. Though he was a relatively unknown player to many before the start of the 2018 World Cup, he was a superstar in Mexico and took the Eredivisie by storm last season.

Hirving Lozano has scored 17 goals and assisted eight more for PSV in Eredivisie during the 2017/18 season. His performances at the 2018 World Cup has not gone unnoticed and some of the top European clubs, including the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona, are vying for his signature.

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Edited by Kumud Ranjan
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