Ahead of the tournament we take a look at five emerging players who may have sneaked under the radar, who could make a big impact in Russia…
Goncalo Guedes (Portugal)
The 21-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward was on loan in 2017/18 at Valencia and recently scored twice for his country against Algeria. He will surely have played his way into the starting plans of coach Fernando Santos, perhaps the legs for Cristiano Ronaldo in the Portugal frontline?
Daniel Arzani (Australia)
The Iran-born Melbourne City forward is the current A-League Young Player of the Year and scored his first international goal just a minute after coming on as a substitute against Hungary recently. The 19-year-old, the youngest player at the tournament, will be something of an unknown quantity for the Socceroos’ opponents and with his speed and dribbling ability will provide a different dimension to their attack.
Kasper Dolberg (Denmark)
The 20-year-old Ajax striker has suffered somewhat from ‘second-season syndrome’ since bursting on the scene to help his club reach the Europa League final in 2017, although injury did also mean he missed large parts of this campaign. Linked with moves to the Premier League, can he be provide the finishing touches to the prompting of playmaker Christian Eriksen?
Youri Tielemans (Belgium)
Rated as one of the brightest prospects in the world game, the 21-year-old has experienced a difficult first season with Monaco after making his name with Anderlecht, with whom he scored 18 goals in 2016/17. However, he is sure to be used by Roberto Martinez and could prove a useful asset as Belgium look to win the World Cup for the first time.
Hirving Lozano (Mexico)
A key man in PSV Eindhoven’s Dutch title success, the winger scored 19 goals in all competitions in his first season in the Netherlands since moving from Pachuca. He turns 23 at the end of July and although now established in his national side, this tournament could be the moment he announces himself on the world stage.