World Cup 2018: The most underrated player to watch out for in each group
The World Cup is only a week away and football fans around the world are getting excited. Rather expectedly, most of the discussion has revolved around the favorites. Can Lionel Messi finally lead Argentina to World Cup glory? Can Germany be the first team to win two consecutive titles since Brazil in 1962? Can Brazil avenge the humiliation of 2014?
All these questions are indeed interesting. Yet, part of the beauty of the world cup is the teams and players that surprise through their impressive performances. Thus, it is indeed pertinent to look at some of the more underrated players in each world cup group based on statistics (courtesy Squawka and WhoScored) from the past league season.
Group A: Ahmed Hegazi
Naturally, all discussion surrounding the Egyptian National Football team leading up to the World Cup has pertained to Mohammed Salah. For good reason too, the Egyptian has been one of the most scintillating players in the Premier League this season.
Yet, he wasn’t the only Egyptian newcomer doing well in the Premier League. Ahmed Hegazi was signed on loan by West Bromwich Albion and was excellent throughout the season. He played all 38 games for the Premier League’s bottom side and ranked 3rd in defensive actions according to Squawka Stats. He was also 2nd in clearances and 6th in blocked shots. Moreover, he ranked 16th in duels won. His excellent defending was a major reason why West Brom only conceded 56 goals in the Premier League (10th): a rather low number for the team that finished bottom.
Hegazi’s defending will be vital for Egypt in the World Cup as they face hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay in Group A. The latter contest (Egypt’s first of the campaign) will be particularly testing for Hegazi as he faces Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani. If he can replicate his Premier League form, Egypt may just have a chance against the South American giants.