FIFA Confederations Cup 2013: Underrated Studs Who Will Shine
The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup will not only feature some of the best football nations in the world, but also some underrated individual talent.
While all eyes will be on elite strikers like Neymar, Chicharito and Mario Balotelli in Brazil over the next two weeks, there are some other, lesser-known players worth watching this June on both sides of the pitch.
With the tournament officially underway and now in full swing, below we'll highlight a trio of underrated studs set to shine in Brazil this summer.
Brown Ideye, Nigeria
Nigeria's Brown Ideye is an emerging talent at the top of the Super Eagles' lineup. A 24-year-old striker with a nose for goal, Ideye currently plays for Dynamo Kiev in the Ukraine Premier League.
Ideye was called up to the senior team a few months back for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. He played well for Nigeria, scoring a goal in his side's 4-1 win over Mali in the tournament semifinals as the Super Eagles went on to win the cup.
Over the years, Ideye has developed into a lethal scorer, showing tremendous athleticism in the air as well as the ability to anticipate plays before they happen, often making strong runs into the box.
The Nigerians are fortunate to be in Group B, where only one team, Spain, looks like a lock to advance to the knockout stage. If Ideye can give his side a lift offensively in pivotal matchups against Tahiti and Uruguay, perhaps the Super Eagles will be dancing into the semifinals.
Keisuke Honda, Japan
Sensational Japanese attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda often flies under the radar playing for CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League, but make no mistake, the 27-year-old is a world-class talent.
With Japan set to go up against three formidable opponents in Group A this June, Honda will need to be at his best, scoring goals for Sasurai Blue in Brazil.
Honda has poured in 23 goals for CSKA Moscow in over 100 appearances over the past three seasons and has tons of international experience playing with the Japanese senior national team.
He's scored two goals thus far in 2013 for Japan and netted the same amount three summers ago at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, helping the Asian powerhouse to advance to the Round of 16.
Keep an eye out for Honda as he is one of the most versatile talents in this tournament. He's a weapon with the ball at his feet and even more so on free-kick opportunities.
Fernando Muslera, Uruguay
Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera isn't one of the most well-known protectors in the game, but you can expect him to come up big for the 2011 Copa America winners this summer at the Confederations Cup.
Which player will shine the brightest in Brazil?
Muslera, who turns 27 on Sunday, was selected as the sixth-best goalkeeper on the planet by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics two years ago.
Nowadays he stars for Galatasaray in Turkey.
Muslera played a brilliant 90-plus minutes in his most recent outing on the international stage, recording a clean sheet and earning Man of the Match honors in a 1-0 win over France in a friendly showdown earlier this month.
But performances like that one are hardly uncommon for Muslera, who is set to enter the prime of his career this summer in Brazil.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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