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10 players to watch in the 2018 FIFA WC Last 8

10 players to watch in the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals

July 5, 2018 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
They have proved their worth and they will be aiming to carry the momentum into the upcoming clashes.

Although some big names have already departed Russia, there are still more than a handful left. Aside the household names, some fresh faces are making waves and are proving to be key to the successes of their respective countries. We at LiveSoccerTV take a look at 10 players who could fire their teams past the last eight stage.

1. Neymar Jr – Brazil

 

The Seleccao's poster boy has seemingly put the injury he suffered before Russia 2018 behind him and has hit the ground running in prime fashion. Bar Brazil's opening group game against Switzerland in which he was majorly ineffective (in his defense he was fouled 10 times alone in that match), the 26-year-old forward has been influential in wins against Costa Rica, Serbia and Mexico.

Neymar leads Brazil's top goalscorer's chart alongside Coutinho with two goals. Going into the last eight encounter with Belgium, expect the Paris Saint-German superstar to be very involved in the action.

2. Eden Hazard

 

The Red Devils' skipper has been nothing short of phenomenal since the start of the tournament. The 27-year-old Chelsea forward has featured in three games and has contributed two goals and two assists in the course of it.

It is no secret that Belgium has benefitted greatly from his involvement in attack alongside Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku. Coming up against Brazil in the quarterfinal, Eden Hazard is expected to carry on the momentum and fire his side past the five-time World Champions.

3. Harry Kane

Games: 3 Goals: 6 Assist: 0 Six goals from three World Cup games is a good return for a player whose nation was labeled as an outsider with regards to their chances of winning the World Cup trophy. Harry Kane currently seats atop the competition's top scorers' leaderboard and thanks to his goals, England is just two games away from its first World Cup final since 1966.

Their next hurdle will be to see off a stubborn Swedish side and should Kane find his scoring boots, that will be a mere formality.

4. Romelu Lukaku

Aside his duties of getting the goals, Romelu Lukaku has been identified as the real motivator inside the Belgium dressing room. With four goals in three matches, the Manchester United forward sits behind top goalscorer Harry Kane on the leaderboard.

He fired blanks against Japan in the thrilling 3-2 win but it was his brilliant off the ball movement which led to the Nacer Chadli's winner. The 25-year-old forward will find a stronger opposition in Brazil at the quarterfinal but he will certainly be up for the task with the help of Belgium's star-studded line-up.

5. Kylian Mbappe

His exploits in the Round of 16 that facilitated the elimination of Lionel Messi and his teammates earned him plaudits from a lot of football lovers. At just 19 years, Kylian Mbappe has proved to be a useful personnel in the French national team game in and game out.

He has played in all four of Les Bleus' matches at the World Cup and has managed three goals in the process. Against Uruguay, Mbappe will once again aim at sending another South American nation packing with his electrifying pace and poacher's ability in front of goal.

6. Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho has crawled out of Neymar shadow and has been making a name for himself since his first appearance at Russia 2018. The Barcelona midfielder has had a direct hand in four of the Seleccao's seven World Cup goals and has generally impressed with his immense work rate.

His next test will be against Belgium and the former Liverpool player is expected to come out strong yet again.

7. Luka Modric

Looking at what he's achieved with Real Madrid over the years, his capabilities were bare and glaring coming into this World Cup. The Croatian captain has been dropped a string of fine performances at the tournament so far and will be one of the key men to keep an eye on when his country takes on Russia in Saturday's quarter-final clash.

Luka Modric has two goals in four appearances for Croatia so far.

8. Emil Forsberg

Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the side, Emil Forsberg has carried the mantle as the key man in the Swedish set-up. The 26-year-old player maker has been involved in just one goal for the Blagut but still remains essential to their system which majorly thrives on a solid defense.

He will be angling to be involved in the mix when his nation meets England at the quarter-finals.

9. Artem Dzyuba

Since coming on from the bench in Russia's first group game against Saudi Arabia, Dzyuba has been an integral factor in his nation's success story thus far. With three goals in four games, 196 cm forward is tied with Cherysev as the host's top scorer at the tournament.

He was on the scoresheet against Spain in the Round of 16 and he could yet again feature on there once more coming up against Croatia.

10. Ante Rebic

Very little is known about the forward unlike some of the aforementioned but that does not undermine his talent in any way. The 24-year-old has been a revelation in the Croatian side and has proved to be one who would not pass on the least goal-scoring opportunity.

His goal against Argentina is a testament to this fact. Against Russia in the quarterfinal, Rebic's strength and pace could yield his nation the results they seek if everything goes to plan.


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