10 of the best young strikers to keep an eye out for at the 2014 FIFA World Cup!
It is quite obvious where all the football fans are going to be this summer – in front of their TV screens. With the 2014 FIFA World Cup commencing from June 12, 2014, in Brazil, a big chunk of the one million tickets have already been sold.
So, before the tournament kicks off, I thought I’d present my list of top 10 strikers to watch out for this World Cup as I’m sure they will not disappoint you.
Roger Rojas (Honduras)
The 23-year-old Honduran plays for his native club Olimpia and has scored 70 goals in 119 appearances. Due to his style of play, he is compared to the national legend Wilmer Velasquez. Although Velasquez never got the opportunity to make his mark in a World Cup, Rojas could very well be a key component of a determined Honduras line-up.
Son Heung-Min (South Korea)
Part of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asia’s team of the year in 2012, Heung-Min has done exceedingly well in Bundesliga – first with Hamburger SV and now with Bayer Leverkusen. In fact, his on-going season with Leverkusen has been his best to date, scoring nine goals in 26 appearances.
Furthermore, he has played with the national side in substantial matches and helped his team win against Qatar last year in a key World Cup qualification match.
Abel Hernandez (Uruguay)
Uruguay has an abundance of riches in its firing line with names like Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan. Therefore, it is not surprising that the 23-year-old Hernandez is easily overlooked despite being one of the best young strikers in the world.
He has been the leading goal-scorer for his team, Palermo, in the Italian Serie B this season and is the key for them winning the Serie B and eventually getting promoted.
Furthermore, he simply ravaged through a hapless Tahiti team last year in the Confederation Cup scoring four goals in an 8-0 victory.
Abdul Majeed Waris (Ghana)
Starting his senior career with the Swedish club BK Hacken, the 22-year-old forward moved to Spartak Moscow in 2013 and is loaned to the Ligue 1 club Valenciennes until June 30, 2014.
Like many young strikers on this list, Waris is also the leading goal-scorer for his side this season with nine goals in just 12 appearances.
Lorenzo Insigne (Italy)
After successful loan spells with Pescara and Foggia, Napoli manager, Rafa Benitez, called the 22-year-old Italian to play as Napoli’s forward, and boy has he impressed everyone.
His strike rate and the ability to be a genuine threat on the flanks have made him the best play-maker for Napoli this season. To add on, he seems to be improving in each game and poses quite a threat for Italy’s opponents.
Aron Johannsson (USA)
The 23-year-old Icelandic American has been making strides in Europe after starting his career with Fjolnir back in 2008. Ever since he joined the Dutch club AZ in January 2013, it has been his best season to date which has seen him not only emerge as the club’s lead goal-scorer but has also helped the club make it to the last eight of the Europa League. Although he only scored one in seven appearances for the American club, his current exceptional form could prove to be a game-changer.
Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
As Chelsea sulks over its striker woes, Everton makes the most of the ignored Belgian forward on a season long loan. He has truly been their star this season with 13 goals in 25 appearances.
Despite being just 20-years-old, Lukaku has been travelling with the national side since 2010 and proved to be the key in Belgium’s World Cup qualification, scoring two decisive goals against Croatia in October last year.
Mattia Destro (Italy)
Despite the presence of renowned strikers like Francesco Totti and Gervinho in Rudi Garcia’s Roma, Destro is their leading goal scorer this season with 13 goals in 18 appearances, including a hat-trick against Cagliari this month.
Even though he has played very few matches for the senior national side, his current sparkling form coupled with his exceptional performance at both the U-19 and U-20 matches would make him a key threat for Italy’s opponents this summer.
Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon)
The 22-year-old Cameroon has a rich resume to his credit at such a young age. He currently plays for the French club Lorient and is their lead goal-scorer this season, continuing from his impressive spell at Valenciennes where he scored 68 goals in 71 matches.
With him in the final third, Cameroon could certainly hope for a better finish this time around, something similar to their remarkable run in the 1990 World Cup when they reached the last eight.
Neymar Santos Júnior (Brazil)
FC Barcelona’s record transfer from Santos in 2013 has yet to live up to the hype and money invested into him by the Catalans. However, his torrid time in Spain hasn’t affected his brilliant run for Brazil, considering his recent hat-trick against South Africa, which is still quite fresh in my mind.
Home advantage will most definitely give an edge to Selecao, their 21-year-old star striker, this June.
Even though most of you probably haven’t heard of or paid much attention to some of these young forwards, they will definitely be making this one of the most interesting FIFA World Cups ever. Keep a look out and you will not be disappointed!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.