As the FIFA World Cup 2010 draws near, all the hype has been around the star players looking to shine for their respective countries. While certain stars like Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, Rio Ferdinand and Arjen Robben to name a few have grabbed the headlines for the wrong reason, most of the stars definitely want to make a statement. However, the World Cup is not just about the established stars and we look at a few relatively lesser-known players who can write their names into history.
Gervinho is an Ivorian international footballer that plays as a striker for French Ligue 1 club Lille OSC. He was previously linked with a move to Arsenal and his versatility is also an added bonus.
With influential captain Didier Drogba all but ruled out of the World Cup, he might just step into his shoes and give boss Sven-Goran Eriksson some redemption.
Werder Bremen's 20-year-old star midfielder Mesut Özil is widey considered to be one of Germany's most talented young players.
Since establishing himself in the German National side he has brought much-needed finesse to the team with his left-foot and attacking instincts with wicked vision, and an eye for goal.
Mesut Özil helped Werder Bremen win the 2009 German Cup and reach the finals of the UEFA Cup. As in the case of Gervinho, he might step up to fill the shoes of injured captain Michael Ballack.
Chris Wood is a New Zealand footballer that plays as a striker for English Championship side West Bromwich Albion.
Wood represented New Zealand at Under-17 level and was a standout performer for the Kiwi's at the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, a tournament that earned him worldwide recognition.
At just 18 will be the youngest member of the New Zealand team travelling to South Africa. And New Zealand shaping up to be potential giant killers, Chris Wood might just be their Saviour.
Rene Krhin is a central midfielder who plays for Slovenia and Internazionale.
Krhin was ever present U19 European Championship qualifying and captained the U19's to a place in the final tournament but could not take part due to club commitments.
He made his senior debut in a friendly on 5 September 2009, a 1–2 loss to England, coming on as a second-half substitute. Rene Krhin was highly rated by coach Jose Mourinho when he was in charge of Inter Milan. Everyone might think Slovenia are lucky to even be in South Africa, but if their tournament must go for more than three games, he might just be the one.
Alexis Sánchez is a Chilean football player, who plays as a winger, forward or attacking midfielder. He is known as "El Niño Maravilla" (the Wonder Boy) and with good reason.
Sánchez was named by World Soccer Magazine as one of the “50 most exciting teenagers in the world game.” At the young age of seventeen, Sánchez has played for the Chilean national team on several different occasions. Coming second in the South American group qualifying was a great achievement and if Chile are to have a good world cup run, look no further than the wonder boy.
Mbia might not be world-beater yet, but his contribution to Marseille’s historic championship triumph must be recognized.
Despite preferring the defensive midfield role, his versatility saw him play as a centre-back despite his dislike to play in defense. Milan, Arsenal and Bayern Munich are all said to be after him and a good show in the World Cup will only increase the number of suitors.
Catania’s Japanese starlet is widely regarded as one of the best young players in Serie A.
Morimoto holds the record for the youngest Japanese player to make his professional debut and the youngest scorer in J. League history.
The 22-year-old striker offers his team a direct long ball approach in the penalty area. He has been compared to a young Ronaldo (remember the Brazilian one) for the combination of his size, strength and speed.
The Albanian-born playmaker is just 20-years-old but is well known for his ability to find killer passes time and time again and his long range shooting. He was omitted from Greece's provisional Euro 2008 squad by coach Otto Rehhagel and this being his first major tournament, he might be keen to impress.