10 Players Whose Stock Rose During 2014 World Cup 2nd Round Stage
The World Cup is a stage on which heroes are born.
In the second-round stage, a host of players saw their stocks rise considerably. In this piece, we focus on those whose reputations were enhanced by their performances—whether they were youngsters making brilliant first impressions on the watching world, or older players having their careers invigorated by accomplished displays in Brazil.
Go to the next slide to discover the first player winning new plaudits in the second round.
Rais M'Bolhi, Algeria
M'Bolhi was in superb form against Germany, providing a commanding and assured performance at the heart of the Algeria defence.
Sadly, it was not enough to keep a clean sheet. Eventually, pressure told and Germany were able to squeak past the African side.
Romelu Lukaku, Belgium
Romelu Lukaku lost his place in the Belgian first team for their game with the USA.
However, he came off the bench to play an instrumental part in securing the win for the favoured side. His power was too much for a tiring American defence, and he was able to create one goal before scoring another.
Lukaku may have forced his way into the Belgium team for their quarter-final with Argentina.
Ricardo Rodriguez, Switzerland
Ricardo Rodriguez has been one of the most impressive emerging players at this World Cup, and his excellent tournament continued against Argentina.
Rodriguez defended stoutly and provided an occasional threat on the overlap.
Although currently content at Wolfsburg, it surely won't be long until vultures start circling over this exciting attacking full-back.
Keylor Navas, Costa Rica
This has been a World Cup sprinkled with remarkable goalkeeping displays. The most impressive of the second round was arguably that of Keylor Navas of Costa Rica.
Not content with keeping Greece to just one goal as his 10-man team were slowly sapped of energy, he went on to be the penalty shootout hero, too.
Andre Schurrle, Germany
Andre Schurrle was introduced as a half-time substitute for Germany against Algeria, and he made a telling contribution. He scored the opening goal of the game and has surely secured a spot in the XI for the quarter-finals.
Schurrle is not one of the most celebrated names in the German squad. The man he replaced against Algeria, Mario Goetze, is far more widely revered. However, Schurrle's relentless energy and smart movement make him a growing star of the world game.
Julian Green, USA
Julian Green is one of the bright young hopes of American football. Against Belgium, we saw why.
Introduced as an extra-time substitute, the teenage Bayern Munich midfielder made an enormous impact.
His pace constantly troubled the ailing Belgium defenders, and he even scored the goal to reignite the contest.
Antoine Griezmann, France
When it was announced that Franck Ribery would miss the World Cup, many French fans despaired. However, Antoine Griezmann has since assuaged any fears with his remarkably composed displays on France's left flank.
Griezmann was unleashed from the bench against Nigeria, but he will surely play from the start against Germany. His speed of both foot and brain give the France attack a whole new dimension.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Netherlands
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was in danger of becoming the forgotten man of the Netherlands' World Cup campaign. However, he rose from the bench to contribute a devastating cameo against Mexico.
The powerful centre-forward nodded the ball down for Wesley Sneijder to thump home the equaliser, before scoring the penalty that won the game.
Huntelaar reminded Louis van Gaal that he offers an effective alternative to Robin van Persie. He is a genuine penalty-box striker, who can change games with his lethal finishing.
Huntelaar is 30 and has been ravaged by injuries, but he showed the watching world that there is life in him yet.
James Rodriguez, Colombia
James Rodriguez is on course to end the tournament by being heralded as the World Cup's best player.
He's hardly a new discovery. Monaco paid big money to snatch him from Porto last summer. However, it's on this stage that the bud of his talent has truly blossomed.
Against Uruguay, he scored a stunning brace, the first of which was arguably the most breathtaking moment of the competition thus far.
It was a goal to announce a new global superstar.
DeAndre Yedlin, USA
DeAndre Yedlin currently plays in the MLS with the Seattle Sounders. However, after the 20-year-old's performance against Belgium, he will surely have piqued the interest of plenty of European clubs.
Yedlin replaced Fabian Johnson at right-back and starred in the role. As his career develops, he might find his pace and crossing ability is more effective when deployed in a deeper starting position.
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