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World Cup 2014: Young Stars Who Won't Live Up to the Hype

Cristian Tello's poor domestic form could see him struggle in Brazil.
Cristian Tello's poor domestic form could see him struggle in Brazil.Alberto Saiz/Associated Press
Dan BrettContributor IIIMarch 5, 2014

With the World Cup set to kick-off in 99 days, competing managers will be taking an important look at their squads as they decide who will, and who wont, be making the trip to Brazil.

Among the squads are set to be a number of high-profile young stars, who will be looking to make a major impact on the tournament to not only boost their sides' winning chances—but also raise their own stock.

But with added power comes added responsibility, with a number of stars facing gruelling and often disappointing tournaments ahead.

European, African, Asian, North American and, of course, South American representatives will go to battle in the summer tournament, so let's take a look at who will fail to make it on the big stage.

 

Thorgan Hazard, Belgium

Thorgan Hazard celebrates with team-mates in Europa League.
Thorgan Hazard celebrates with team-mates in Europa League.Jon Super/Associated Press

The younger brother of Chelsea's Eden Hazard, the fledgling Belgian earned his first call-up to the senior side against United States last May.

The 20-year-old is also on the books at Chelsea, however he is currently on loan back in Belgium, featuring 33 times for Zulte-Waregem in both the Jupiler League and Europa League, per WhoScored.

His first cap, coming off the bench in the 4-2 win over the States, gave the youngster his first taste of senior international football but life in Belgian's top tier is very different to plying your trade in a World Cup.

It's this reason why the youngster will fail to live up to the hype in Brazil, as his tournament will be made no easier by his older brother's consistent performances for Belgium, which have made him a regular starter.

Living in the shadow won't benefit the midfielder, who has scored nine league goals in 27 appearances in the league for his club side, per WhoScored. His progress will also be stunted by the prominence of Premier League stars Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Kevin Mirallas and Nacer Chadli already ahead of him in the pecking order.

Perhaps young Hazard should focus on the European Championships in 2016, as this time around, it'll take something special for the former Lens man to break into Marc Wilmots' side.

 

Abel Hernandez, Uruguay

Hernandez will be looking to raise his own profile before heading to the World Cup.
Hernandez will be looking to raise his own profile before heading to the World Cup.Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t to the International Business Times' Tony Mogan), Hernandez is ready to leave Italian side Palermo as he "dreams of Newcastle, Real Madrid or Atletico" in the near future.

The striker has scored three goals in his last seven appearances for Rosanero, and he looks a good bet to make it into Oscar Tabarez's squad, however the prominence of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez looks set to leave the 23-year-old facing a place on the bench.

Hernandez also suffered a serious blow as he looks to increase his form ahead of World Cup selection, as Ultra Palermo tweeted:

Edinson Cavani, despite missing his side's friendly match with Austria, also puts pressure on Hernandez to increase his domestic form, as two of his last three goals have come from the penalty spot.

The PSG forward scored in the side's 2-0 win against Marseille, and he could prove to be Hernandez's main rival for a place in the starting line-up, should one of Forlan or Suarez fail to feature.

Much like Hazard, the 23-year-old looks more of an international prospect than one to feature regularly in this tournament and despite the hype surrounding the forward's abilities in front of goal, it looks like he'll have to wait before he regularly breaks into the Uruguayan first 11.

Or, perhaps, he'll have to wait until Diego Forlan decides to retire.

 

Cristian Tello, Spain

Tello's contributions have predominantly been cup-based this term.
Tello's contributions have predominantly been cup-based this term.Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

The 22-year-old Barcelona winger started his first full international match for Spain in the side's 2-0 win over Ecuador back in August.

However, per WhoScored, his place in Vicente Del Bosque's starting side could be hindered by just two starts for his club side this season.

Fourteen appearances off the bench have led to two assists for the forward man, but he is still yet to score in the league this season.

A pass success rate of 84.8 percent highlights that he would be an excellent addition to Del Bosque's squad, playing the passing style of football at Barcelona that will translate perfectly into the national side.

Diego Costa's entrance into the national fold could slide Tello's chances of starting for Spain and judging by Sergio Ramos' comments in a press conference, as noted by Eurosport, the Atletico striker is a welcome addition, despite the Real Madrid star's domestic bias:

I think he is a great choice and he can bring a lot to the team. There is no problem, that is just part of our sport.

Football is for smart people, we are team-mates in the national team now and a different way of behaving is required.

An excellent hat-trick during Barcelona's 4-1 Copa del Rey win over Levante provided a highlight of Tello's season, but his domestic inconsistency will play a pivotal role in the Spain manager's selection thoughts.

The youngster goes into the tournament with plenty of expectation and playing for a side as large as Barcelona will weigh down his personal performances as he looks to keep up with Spanish football's extensive conveyor belt of talent.

That expectation will dominate Tello, and as Del Bosque looks to find proven goalscorers among his stars, the youngster will have to settle for a place on the bench.

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