Report | 9 JUN 2018

Eight eclectic LaLiga aces to look out for at Russia 2018

These stars will be making their World Cup debuts and could take the tournament by storm.

Marco Asensio (Spain)

The Real Madrid prodigy knows all about tasting glory with Spain, having triumphed at the European Under-19 Championship in 2015, and was also part of the squad that were runners-up at last year's Under-21 EURO. The talented Majorca-born attacker goes into his first senior international tournament with a lot of eyes on him and the La Roja fans have high hopes that he and his magical left foot can make a major contribution for Julen Lopetegui's side.

Ousmane Dembele (France)

The FC Barcelona forward, who scored a wonder strike in the warm-up game against Italy, heads to Russia raring to prove that he belongs on the biggest of stages. He faces fierce competition to get into the France team, but his pace and explosiveness mean that he is a potent weapon at Didier Deschamps' disposal.

Pione Sisto (Denmark)

The RC Celta winger is capable of the spectacular, as he showed when he bagged a hat-trick in his first appearance for Denmark's Under-21s. A great entertainer, he has dazzled the Balaidos faithful regularly in recent seasons and has the end product to go with his flair, having notched nine assists in LaLiga Santander last season. Now he will be looking to light up Russia in a similar fashion.

Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

A household name who needs no introduction even though this will be his first World Cup. The Barcelona star will be instrumental in A Seleçao's pursuit of a sixth global crown; with his skill, eye for goal and passing vision, Coutinho has all the ingredients to make his mark.

Gaku Shibasaki (Japan)

Despite being sidelined for six months last term due to injury, the Getafe CF man looks poised to play a key role for the Samurai Blue. A full international since 2014, everyone knows what the goalscoring midfielder is capable of.

Gonçalo Guedes (Portugal)

The attacking midfielder was deservedly rewarded with a place on the plane to Russia after a superb season in LaLiga Santander with Valencia CF. The reigning European champions have an ace up their sleeve in the shape of Guedes, a skilful, speedy operator who has a knack for long-range screamers.

Francis Uzoho (Nigeria)

In spite of his tender age, the 19-year-old RC Deportivo goalkeeper is in line to be the Super Eagles' no. 1 in Russia. A champion at the 2013 Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, he is primed to fulfil one of his biggest dreams five years on by appearing in the senior showpiece. Having made his LaLiga Santander bow last season and impressed, he will be seeking to further enhance his burgeoning reputation with his country over the coming weeks.

Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

The Real Madrid academy graduate is bidding to cap a campaign to remember. After getting his LaLiga Santander breakthrough, the full-back went on to capture the Champions League and will now be representing Morocco at their first World Cup since 1998, having seemingly established himself as Herve Renard's first-choice right-back.

 

 

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