Player – Fagner
Position: Right Back
Caps: 4 Goals: 0
Fagner Conserva Lemos was a late call up to the Brazil squad after an injury to Dani Alves. Fagner has played in Brazil, the Netherlands and Germany for clubs like PSV Eindhoven and Wolfsburg before returning to his first club Corinthians in 2014. His return to Brazil has been a successful one, winning the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A and the Campeonato Paulista in 2017 while also being awarded the Bola de Prata award for being the best Right-Back. The robust Right-Back has 4 Brazil caps under his belt, with his most recent coming in Brazil’s victory against the World Cup hosts Russia.
Chance of game time: He is likely to start on the bench behind Manchester City’s Danilo but could see opportunities if injuries or suspensions hit the squad.
Why we’re following them: As one of the few lesser known players in the Brazil squad, Fagner is our player to watch. With previous experience in the European club game, Fagner could make the move once more.
This video shows off Fagner’s attacking and defensive abilities, often getting forward to provide assists. You will notice that he has a knack of combining well with the Right-Winger.
Player – Yeltsin Tejeda
Position: Defensive Midfielder
Caps: 39 Goals: 0
Named after Boris Yeltsin, former President of Russia, Tejeda is a veteran of the 2014 World Cup where he played in all matches before Costa Rica were knocked out by the Netherlands on penalties. Yeltsin moved from Deportivo Saprissa in his country of birth to Evian TG in France and then to Lausanne-Sport in Switzerland in 2016. He is a robust and dependable defensive midfielder who gives little away.
Chance of game time: Tejeda is a key player for his country and should start alongside Deportivo La Coruna’s Celso Borges.
Why we’re following them: As one of Costa Rica’s key players, good performances by Tejeda may bring his playing ability to the attention of more people rather than just having an interesting name.
Player – Luka Jovic
Caps: 1 Goals: 0
Along with another featured player Ante Rebic, Luka Jovic spent the 2017/18 season on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt where he made 22 appearances and scored 8 goals including the only goal in the DFB Pokal semi-final win. Jovic made his first appearances for Red Star Belgrade and became the frontman on the way to winning the Serbian SuperLiga in 2016. Following this successful season, he moved to Benfica where he made few appearances. His playing style has been compared to that of Radamel Falcao who is said to be his idol. Luka made his Serbia debut in the pre-tournament friendly against Chile as he came on as a substitute for fellow striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Chance of game time: Will likely start on the bench behind Mitrovic in his country’s 4-2-3-1 formation. He could make appearances from the bench if Serbia need goals or if Mitrovic’s discipline issues resurface.
Why we’re following them: As one of the younger players in a vastly experienced Serbia squad, Jovic could make an impression from the bench with his pace and finishing ability.
This video showcases Jovic’s finishing ability for Eintracht Frankfurt this season.
Player – Remo Freuler
Position: Central Midfielder
Caps: 8 Goals: 0
Switzerland’s number 8, Remo Freuler is a Central-Midfielder for Atalanta in Serie A. Following time spent with FC Winterthur, Grasshopper and FC Luzern, Freuler moved to Atalanta for €2 million where he helped them qualify for the Europa League for second season in a row. Remo made 42 appearances and scored 6 goals for the Bergamo club. Freuler has risen through the Swiss age group teams, playing for the U19 and U21 sides before making his full international debut in 2017 during qualifying for the World Cup.
Chance of game time: Freuler will likely start in midfield alongside Granit Xhaka. He may be pressed into a defensive role in his team’s opening match against Brazil.
Why we’re following them: Freuler has had an excellent season with Atalanta as they continued to surpass expectations. Remo is one of the lesser-known players in the Switzerland squad compared to midfield teammates Xhaka, Behrami and Fernandes.
In this video, Freuler’s excellent range of short and long passing is highlighted.
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