FIFA World Cup 2010: 10 Most Impressive Youngsters at the World Cup
The biggest extravaganza on earth has concluded. The month-long celebration of the beautiful game was the most awaited event in the last three years.
The World Cup at South Africa gave to us some impressive youngsters who fascinated one and all with their exciting performances on the field.
In the following slides we will take a look into the youngsters who impressed us the most with their skills and talents.
Miroslav Stoch :: Slovakian Sensation
The 20-year-old Slovak national provided some eye-catching displays for his country during their World Cup outing in South Africa.
An exciting future lies ahead of the pint-sized attacking midfielder, who has been improving with each game, laying on and scoring classy goals with an attitude that belies his age.
He is one of the most exciting youngsters in the world at present and he continued his impressive form during the World Cup. A product of Chelsea's youth academy, Stoch is developing into an exciting player. Pacy, incisive in his passing, and a top-class finisher, the 20-year-old was a key figure for Slovakia's impressive World Cup performances.
Although he is a bit diminutive in height standing at 5'6" he does not allow his short stature to come as a stumbling block. His performances against Italy was really a joy to watch as he eased passed the Italians with his pace and dribbling qualities.
These youngster had shown ample promise prior to the World Cup and have lived up to the expectations. Within a few years he can very well become the "next big thing" from Slovakia.
Alexis Sanchez :: Chilean Prodigy
Alexis Alejandro Sánchez Sánchez, or Alexis Sanchezas he is commonly referred to, is one of the young prospects who earned plenty of admirers with his performances for his country during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Nicknamed "El Niño Maravilla" (the Wonder Boy), the Chile international is known for his fantastic dribbling skills as well as high pace and lived up to his expectations during the 19th FIFA World Cup.
The 21-year-old Udinese player plays as a winger, forward or attacking midfielder. He was Chile's unquestionable first choice and showed the reasons for that.
He won the man of the match award in their group encounter against Switzerland after delivering a spectacular performance for his side. Touted as the successor to Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo he has ample potential to do that and he looks set for glory within a few years.
Keisuke Honda :: Japan's Rising Sun
These 24-year-old prolific Japanese midfielder had an impressive World Cup outing for his country where he scored two goals in the four matches he played for his nation.
The skilled youngster is a multi-utility player who can play as an attacking midfielder and can also play as a second striker and a left full back. He is also a dead-ball specialist for which he earned the nickname 'New Wonderboy of Japan'.
He has been the key figures in Japan's successful World Cup outing. He scored the winner against Cameroon which earned the "Land of the Rising Sun" their first historic win in the World Cup.
The highly skilled Japanese has been a sensation in this World Cup and clubs have already started showing their interest in signing him. He has already become a hero in his country as well as in South Africa with his performances and it does not seem to far when he will be come a household name around the world.
Eljero Elia :: Dutch Wonder
The Hamburger SV forward who can also play as a winger has been a revelation during the World Cup in South Africa.
Although he is only 23-years-old he has become a key-figure both for his club and his country.
Although Elia started most of the games coming on as a substitute, he provided the much-needed spark to excite the crowd.
In the match against Denmark, he somehow managed to find his way from the off through two defenders with a touch of brilliance and, after exploding down the left flank, pulled the ball back beautifully for a team-mate.
In the absence of Robben he provided the much needed creativity into the Dutch midfield with his explosive accelerations and tricks.
The 2009 "Dutch Football Talent of the Year" is a very prospective talent who has ample potential to fill the boots of his famous predecessors.
Gervinho :: Drogba's Ideal Replacement
The 23-year-old Ivorian was one of the best performers for the African nation. His skills with the ball were really a joy to watch for fans of the beautiful game.
Gervais Yao Kouassi, or Gervinho as he is commonly known is a forward who plies his trade with the French Ligue1 club Lille OSC.
The highly talented 5'10" forward was the best performer for his nations in their match against Portugal. He was very lively, full of trickeries and was the most industrious player in the match.
Gervinho is physically strong, has good pace and is calm with the ball. He's very versatile and can play on either wing, as well as a lone striker, or just behind the main striker which adds to his value. But he needs to improve his finishing abilities in pressure conditions and has ample age to do so.
The Ivorian's impressive performances for his nation has already attracted interests from top European clubs and it is not very far that we will see him take the place of his more famous senior Didier Drogba.
Gregory Van Der Wiel :: The Gentleman Dutch
These 5'11" Dutch was one of the exciting revelations of this World Cup in South Africa.
The 22-year-old Ajax player is a product of Ajax's famed youth system and is an attacking right back known for his speedy runs down the flank. Making his international debut in 2009 he has sealed his place as first-choice right back in the national team.
Combined with a quick and balanced body he has good tackling abilities. He also likes to go upwards with the ball and hence can cause surprise to opponent team and break pressure lines, something he has done with ease in South Africa.
The Dutchman is aggressive without the ball and elegant with it which has prompted his colleague John Heitinga to label him the spiritual successor of the legendary Michael Reiziger. The extremely talented youngster is disciplined and has a good attitude inside the pitch.
He has the potential to a be world-class defender and that day is not too far.
Andre Ayew :: African Star
André Morgan Rami Ayew or Andre Ayew as he is commonly referred to is a prodigious left-footed attacking midfielder with electrifying pace and willingness to run at players and take them on.
The son of the legendary Abedi Pele, Ayew has shown great signs of stepping out his father's shadow and even outdo his father's success.
He had a successful campaign in South Africa where he produced some spectacular performances for his nation. He won the Man of the Match award for his superb displays against USA and also earned rave reviews for his performances against Australia and Serbia. He has also been nominated for the tournaments "Young Player Award".
He has great control over the ball and has good sense of judgment in terms of ball distribution. He is touted to be a world-class player in a few years time and by what we have seen so far there is nothing to doubt.
Geovani Dos Santos :: Mexican Sensation
The 21-year-old Mexican attacking midfielder had a successful World Cup campaign where he earned numerous admirers by his exciting performances on the field.
The former Barca player currently plays for English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.
Son the legendary Brazilian Zizinho, Dos Santos has been one of the pivotal figures for the Mexican team during their impressive World Cup outing. His performances for his country against Argentina, France and Uruguay and South Africa were equally superb.
Though mostly used as a winger in the World Cup he also filled the role of creative playmaker for the Mexicans. He has superb pace, a creative mind and very good control over the ball.
Although the left-footed midfielder struggled to make his way into the Spurs' starting line-up, but after his exploits in the World Cup Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp will surely use him more in his plans.
"Gio" as he is lovingly called, is one of the best talents spotted in the World Cup and with the right nurturing has the potential to become a midfield legend.
Anthony Annan :: The Next
The 23-year-old Ghanaian midfielder is one of the few African players who had a superb outing in South Africa.
Combined with his midfield artistry and some goal scoring skills he has been an exciting find from the tournament. He delivered some spectacular performances for his team and is touted as the next big thing to come out of Africa into Europe.
His impressive displays at the World Cup has garnered interests from European clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and others who are ready to part with a sizable amount to land this extremely talented youngster.
The Ghanaian combines immense skill with a physical presence that belies his average height and which leads to comparisons with Ghanaian midfield superstar Michael Essien of Chelsea.
Thomas Muller :: German Wonderboy
The 20-year-old German midfielder has been the most impressive youngster in the World Cup.
The Bayern Munich player's exploits on the field for his nation has been spectacular. He is leading the race for the Golden Boot having scored five goals and made three assists from his six World Cup outings for his country.
The highly talented youngster can play comfortably as an attacking midfielder, second striker, or on either wing. He has been praised highly for his pace, technique and composure, and has shown consistency in both scoring and creating goals
He has become a pivotal figure in the German squad and plays an important role in forming Germany's attacks. The 6'1" attacking midfielder has also the favourite to win the World Cup's Best Young Player Award.
He has the potential to be a football legend and he is looking to achieve that within the next couple of years.