Brazil World Cup 2014: Players Who Will Blossom on World Stage

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2014

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 11:  Paul Pogba of France passes the ball during the International Friendly match between France and Australia at Parc des Princes on October 11, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

The FIFA World Cup has always been the ideal occasion for burgeoning players to announce themselves as stars in the making. The global stage affords the kind of exposure that can inflate a reputation, not to mention a transfer fee, based on only a couple of performances.

But in modern football's era of blanket coverage and continuous news cycles, it's difficult for players to emerge from obscurity and shock audiences at a World Cup.

However, the competition is still a chance for fans to take a close look at a player they probably know by name but actually rarely watch in full action. In 2010, Mexico striker Javier Hernandez used the competition to show Manchester United fans what their newest recruit could do.

The 2014 edition of the tournament will be that kind of platform for a particular quartet. Two are young prospects already on the rise, while the other pair are unheralded performers who deserve a second look.

Here are the four players you can expect to flourish in Brazil:


Paul Pogba, Midfielder, France

Juventus ace Paul Pogba is certainly no longer a secret. In fact, he's better known as the one former Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson let get away.

Since he swapped Old Trafford for Turin in 2012, Pogba has dazzled fans and pundits. His combination of awesome physical strength and stylish technical skill makes him a true talisman in the middle.

Pogba should be exactly that for the French national team at this World Cup. The France ranks aren't exactly bulging with players of his calibre.

BBC Sport identified the young stalwart as the key figure for manager Didier Deschamps' squad:

Paul Pogba21, has established himself as one of Europe's finest midfielders since joining Juventus, combining athleticism, skill and goal threat. Quite why former manager Sir Alex Ferguson gave him so few chances at Manchester United is increasingly a mystery.

Pogba can easily outshine teammates such as Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko. The 21-year-old will also form an effective partnership with dynamic Paris Saint-Germain runner Blaise Matuidi.


Ivan Perisic, Attacking Midfielder, Croatia

Croatia are one of the more intriguing squads in the tournament. Manager Niko Kovac can rely on a cultured and intelligent midfield, including VfL Wolfsburg star Ivan Perisic.

The one-time Borussia Dortmund man is a crafty attacking midfielder. Usually operating on the left flank, Perisic has that wonderful knack for ghosting into the box to finish off a forward move.

Ivan Perisic will cause defences problems in Brazil.
Ivan Perisic will cause defences problems in Brazil.Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The 25-year-old bagged 10 Bundesliga goals this season, according to Playing in a midfield featuring quality passers such as Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Perisic's clever runs off the ball will undermine more than one defence in Brazil.


Carlos Bacca, Striker, Colombia

Carlos Bacca will seize whatever chance he gets to impress for a Colombia national team loaded with striking talent. Bacca's nation can call on FC Porto star Jackson Martinez, as well as deadly AS Monaco frontman Radamel Falcao.

The latter has been recovering from a serious knee injury sustained during the Ligue 1 season. The pace of that recovery looks as though it has gone up a notch or two.

Falcao recently participated in a team training session, according to John Drayton of the Daily MailBut even with Falcao in the ranks, Bacca has done enough this season to get his chance.

He scored 21 goals in all competitions, per Those goals helped La Liga side Sevilla claim the UEFA Europa League trophy.

Bacca is quick, instinctive and an absolute pest for defenders. He hovers on the last line and has that sudden burst of acceleration to pounce on the right service.

Bacca has turned heads with his club performances this season. He'll turn a few more on the international stage.


Jordy Clasie, Midfielder, Netherlands

After their robust and cynical approach in 2010, the Dutch national team will resume playing a stylish game based on bright movement and quality passing. A key figure in that plan will be Feyenoord midfield gem Jordy Clasie.

Stylish Dutch passer Jordy Clasie will make an impression in Brazil.
Stylish Dutch passer Jordy Clasie will make an impression in Brazil.Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

A little general in the middle, the 22-year-old is an efficient possession player. He recycles the ball quickly and his movement is always sound.

Manager Louis van Gaal is justifiably a big fan. The veteran coach, who is also the new Manchester United boss, even wants to bring Clasie to Old Trafford after the tournament, per David Maddock of the Daily Mirror.

Expect Clasie to show fans why he is so highly thought of.