World Cup 2014: Elite Talents Who Will Shine Brightest on Biggest Stage

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World Cup 2014: Elite Talents Who Will Shine Brightest on Biggest Stage
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Daniel Sturridge has been in sensational form for Liverpool.

This summer the biggest names in world football will descend upon Brazil for roughly a month in order to do battle for the biggest and most prestigious prize in international football.

Reputations are made and broken during the World Cup, and a strong performance could see a player rise from being a big name to global superstardom.

As the domestic campaign creeps towards its conclusion, the focus is slowly beginning to switch to the tournament and which star players can make the step up to a stage currently occupied by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Detailed below are three names hoping to continue their stellar progress in Brazil.

 

Daniel Sturridge 

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Daniel Sturridge could play a key role in England's hopes at the World Cup.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is unstoppable at the moment. Forget Luis Suarez for the time being, his strike partner has eclipsed him.

With 18 goals in 19 Premier League games this season, including 10 in his last eight, per ESPN FC, the England striker could prove the stuff of nightmares for defenders in Brazil should Roy Hodgson pick him.

And he can do it at any ground, as the below stat from Opta shows:

For while his form has made him stand out from the crowd, he is not guaranteed a place in the England team. All that could be set to change, though. If Sturridge, who has scored two goals in nine England appearances to date, can impress in the friendlies running up to the tournament, then the 24-year-old will become undroppable.

 

Eden Hazard 

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Eden Hazard has helped Chelsea top the Premier League this season.

Eden Hazard has continued his excellent progress at Chelsea, and alongside captain John Terry, the Belgium international has been their outstanding player this season.

With 12 goals and five assists this campaign, per ESPN FC, Hazard, who, as reported by the Guardian, was pursued by Manchester United and Manchester City as well as Chelsea, has made the step up to becoming a central figure for one of the top clubs in the Premier League.

But he is not quite the finished article, as the below stat from Squawka suggests:

Christof Koepsel/Getty Images
Eden Hazard will be one of Belgium's main players at the World Cup in Brazil.

If the 23-year-old can repeat that trick in a talented Belgium side at the World Cup, then he will become an even bigger name on the world stage and begin to justify the claims of international teammate Kevin Mirallas, who claimed Hazard can win the Ballon d'Or, as reported by Dominic King in the Daily Mail.

Per Ben Jefferson in the Express, Hazard has attracted attention from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, interest which is easy for Chelsea to fend off. But a continuation in his form could alert the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and others.

 

Radamel Falcao 

A knee injury suffered in early January looked to have ended the Monaco striker's season, and possibly put his chances of playing at the World Cup in doubt, as reported by ESPN FC.

But per Graeme Yorke of the Daily Mail, the Colombia international is making a speedy recovery and looks set to make it to Brazil.

Peter Dejong/Associated Press
Radamel Falcao can challenge for the Golden Boot award at the World Cup.

That is good news for all concerned, as the 28-year-old is in the prime of his career and could be one of the stars of the tournament. Nine goals in 17 appearances for Monaco picked up where he left off in Spain with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 52 goals in 68 appearances.

If Falcao puts his injury behind him and gets properly fit, then he will be desperate to make up lost time, making him a contender for the Golden Boot.

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