The greatest spectacle in the beautiful game, with millions watching as 32 teams create history and realise their dreams. We here at Outside of the Boot, as ever will focus our attention at the Young Players in this tournament. See all our 2018 World Cup coverage here.
Alexandr Golovin // Russia// Midfielder // 22: The CSKA Moscow midfielder is the great hope for the home side going into this World Cup. Golovin has been very impressive at CSKA of late, with many feeling that he may just have outgrown the team and might be ready to become the next Russian superstar in Europe. He’s only 22, and his pace and trickery are naturally his top assets at the moment. Golovin has been CSKA’s go to man in attack, as his penetrating forward looking passes have helped break opposition lines with some regularity. Golovin is not shy of shooting with the ball at his feet either, but 5 goals are a return he will want to improve on. The World Cup at home could just be his chance to announce himself to the best clubs in Europe. Don’t be surprised if Russia cause an upset or two after some magic from him.
Maxi Gomez // Uruguay // Forward // 21: Uruguay have a world class forward line in place, with both Cavani and Suarez hogging the starting spots and pressure to score. Next in line though is the very impressive Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez. The 21 year old scored 17 goals in his 35 appearances for Celta in La Liga allowed him to feature at 7th place in the list of top scorers for the season. Impressively, he isn’t a player who wastes his opportunities to score too much. Only Griemann, Ronaldo, and Messi have a higher percentage of their shots on target. Maxi Gomez is likely to be a back up for Uruguay, but if injury or suspension strike one of their two talismans, he will be expected to deliver.
Lucas Torreira // Uruguay // Midfielder // 22: The second Uruguayan from this group, Torreira’s odds of featuring from the start are slightly higher than those of Maxi Gomez. The Sampdoria man comes into the tournament on the back of a terrific season at club level. His defensive prowess will be an important part of Uruguay’s set up, especially considering Oscar Tabarez’ defensive proclivities. Uruguay have a strong and experienced defence and forward line. Most people assume the weakness is in midfield. It will be up to Torreira (one of our best young players from Serie A for the season just gone by) and the likes of Bentancur to make the experts eat their words. (Lucas recently won the Talent Radar Midfielder of the Season 2017-18 award)