Sport World Cup

Saturday 30 August 2014

Six players who became stars in the World Cup

Darragh Collins

Published 10/07/2014 | 12:31

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Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa
Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa

The final is upon us, but who were the stars to emerge for this years World Cup?

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The World Cup has always been a great platform for unknown players to launch themselves and here are five players we know far more about now than before the start of the tournament.

Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)

One of the biggest performances in this year’s World Cup was that of the Mexican keeper against Brazil. With amazing reflexes, the Mexican keeper was almost a brick wall behind the Mexican rearguard.

Ochoa was at his best when it mattered most for Mexico, especially against Brazil and the Netherlands. When he came up against the in-form Neymar, he was faced with shot after shot while pulling off one of the great saves which had shades of Peter Shilton’s heroics at the hands of Pelé.

Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria)

Algeria and Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli was essential in Algeria’s qualification for the knockout stages.

The 24-year-old scored a penalty against Belgium in Algeria’s opening World Cup 2014 match, and was his side’s main attacking force.

Feghouli was an excellent creative presence for his country, nothing up two assists for side as well, demonstrating why he was a target for Liverpool and his performances may certainly reignite their interest.

Juan Cuadrado (Colombia)

Fiorentina wide man Cuadrado was a key figure for Colombia in their brilliant campaign.

The 26 year-old was prominent in the group stages and managed to get on the score sheet against Japan with a well taken goal, adding to a brilliant assist against Uruguay.

His direct running and eye catching dribbling skills were a nightmare for World Cup defences and his performances have resulted in Manchester United and Barcelona reportedly interested in acquiring his services.

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Sergio Romero (Argentina)

Having been frozen out at club level, Romero has emerged from the shadows to become an integral figure in Argentina’s World Cup journey.

The keeper pulled off two saves in the penalty shoot out with the Netherlands and kept a clean sheet for 90 minutes to help his side to the biggest game in football.

With Lionel Messi having an off day, Romero has been hailed the hero for his country.

He left Italian side Sampadoria on a season long loan to join big spending French side Monaco, but played second fiddle to Croatian Danijel Subasic and Romero only made the first of his three league appearances in April.

After last night’s performance however, he may have some clubs who will want him as their number 1.

Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)

In what has been a wonderful World Cup for goalkeepers, Keylor Navas has been up there with the best.

Navas will take a great deal of credit for his native Costa Rica reaching the quarter- finals as they came close to beating an extremely talented Netherlands side.

Naturally his performances have led to a lot of transfer speculation and seems set to depart Levante for something a bit bigger. Everton, Atletico Madrid and Porto have all been monitoring the situation as the keeper is expected to be available for a relatively cheap price.

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Daley Blind (Netherlands)

The Dutch wing back burst onto the scene in his side’s historic victory over Spain with two brilliant assists and appears to be the full package with endless stamina levels, brilliant crossing ability and strong in the tackle.

The Ajax player was a total unknown before the competition, and the 24 year old went on to play every single game for the Dutch.

His performances have certainly caught the eye of many clubs, and it is unlikely that he will be playing in the Eredivisie for much longer.

With the World Cup coming to and end this weekend, the transfer window will have to keep us entertained until the new domestic season kicks off again, and this list of players will almost certainly be involved.

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