FIFA Confederations Cup 2013: Underrated Players Who Will Step Up on Big Stage

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJune 17, 2013

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - AUGUST 15: Jesus Zavala of Mexico fights for the ball with Jose Torres of the United States during a FIFA friendly match between Mexico and US at Azteca Stadium on August 15, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/Getty Images)
Miguel Tovar/Getty Images

As the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup gets underway, it's time to highlight some under-the-radar players who will step up at this iconic international tournament.

Some of the world's best teams are taking the stage from June 15 to 30, and we're sure to see some underrated stars emerge from the field in the prelude to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Let's take a look at the most underrated players who will step up in Brazil throughout the action.


Jesus Zavala, Mexico

Mexico is heavy on young players with big-time potential, but one of the underrated players among them is Jesus Zavala.

The midfielder wasn't a starter on last year's Olympics squad, but he's assumed the starting role with strong box-to-box play. The 6'3" monster towers over his fellow midfielders and possesses the speed to hold his own.

The 25-year-old has gone largely unnoticed despite a successful career at C.F. Monterrey of Mexico's Liga MX, but a strong showing in this Confederations Cup could begin to turn heads and garner talk of a Europe transfer move.


Keisuke Honda, Japan

The 27-year-old Japanese attacker has emerged as one of his national team's biggest threats, but his presence is mostly overshadowed by Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa.

Honda, unlike Mexico's Zavala, has made a name for himself at CSKA Moscow, a world-renowned club where he plays alongside Alan Dzagoev. In the 2012-13 season, they picked up the Russian Premier League title.

Honda is best known for his free-kicking prowess and dangerous ability inside the box, but he has the foot skills to make a move to the Premier League in the near future.

Japan is quite possibly the most underrated national team. They have the skill and quality players on their roster to advance into the knockout stage in next year's World Cup.

Much of that starts with what Honda brings to the Japanese attack.


Efe Ambrose, Nigeria

Nigeria's up-and-coming defender is one of the most highly-touted young back-line players out there, and his team's 6-1 win over Tahiti in their Confederations Cup opener only proved that.

The 24-year-old Celtic star has shown mounds of leadership on the club level, but he's done the same internationally. His prowess and control over the Super Eagles will be on display all tournament.

If Ambrose can will his team to more victories and protect their back line when they start facing the world's elite strikers, he'll be making a huge name for himself in the transfer window in upcoming seasons.

Ambrose may have just arrived at Celtic in 2012, but with the way he's ascending, he'll be making a move to a bigger and better organization in no time.