Ahead of the tournament, which begins when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Daily News Egypt sheds light on eight players predicted to shine at the World Cup.
- Porugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo
The 21st World Cup edition can be Ronaldo’s, now 33, final one. The Portugese star will lead his team in a tough group stage against Spain, Iran, and Morocco. Ronaldo scored 81 international goals in 150 appearances with Portugal.
- Argentina’s Lionel Messi
All eyes will be on Messi in the 2018 World Cup. The magnificent midfielder, now 30, is arguably the best player in the world, and has been named so five times since 2008. He led Argentina to the 2014 World Cup final against Germany but lost 0-1. Messi scored 45 international goals in 54 appearances with Argentina.
- Brazil’s Neymar da Silva
Neymar is one of the favourites to lift the World Cup trophy. The 26-year-old striker became the world’s most expensive player last year after Barcelona sold him to Paris-Saint Germain for around $262m. Neymar scored 55 international goals in 85 appearances with Brazil.
- England’s Harry Kane
Kane scored 13 goals in 24 appearances since breaking into the senior England side. He won the Golden Boot of the English Premier League in two consecutive seasons, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. Kane, now 24, will captain his country at the World Cup, aiming to lead the team to go further in the tournament.
- France’s Antoine Griezmann
Although his height is only 1.75 metres, Griezmann is very clinical in front of the goal. The Frenchman, now 27, was named the world’s third-best player in 2016, in part because he led France to the finals of the 2016 European championship.
Experts believe that Griezmann is one of only a few strikers who play very well with their feet and head. That makes him one of the best players on a supremely talented French squad. If Griezmann has a good tournament, expect France to contend for the title. Griezmann scored 20 international goals in 54 appearances with France.
- Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne
After his stunning performance with England’s Manchester City, De Bruyne is expected to make an immediate impact for Belgium. While the team is actually full of talented players, De Bruyne stands out among them all. A pure attacking midfielder who consistently makes passes that lead to goals, the 26-year-old will orchestrate Belgium’s attack. Since breaking into the senior Belgium side, De Bruyne scored 14 international goals in 62 appearances.