Player – Daniel Arzani
Position: Winger/Attacking Midfield
Caps: 2 Goals: 1
Iranian born Australian, Daniel Arzani is the youngest player at World Cup 2018 and is coming off the back of an excellent season with Melbourne City in the Australian A-League. Arzani was named A-League Young Footballer of the Year and named in the team of the season. He made his debut for Australia in a 4-0 win the vs Czech Republic and then scored his first goal in his 2nd cap vs Hungary.
Chance of game time: An interesting option from the bench if Australia are in need of goals, however, the good thing is that Van Marwijk has the choice of experience in veteran Tim Cahill or youth in Arzani.
Why we’re following them: As the youngest player at the tournament, Arzani could represent the future of the Australian national team. Also, as Melbourne City are part of the City Football Group, we could potentially see a similar move to the one which brought Aaron Mooy to Manchester City and later Huddersfield Town.
Here’s his first goal for Australia vs Hungary. Arzani cuts in from the left and hits a shot which goes through Hungarian goalkeeper, Dénes Dibusz.
Player – Jens Stryger Larsen
Position: Right Back
Caps: 12 Goals: 1
Stryger Larsen came through the notable Brondby academy system which has produced players such as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Daniel Agger. Jens later moved on to FC Nordsjælland and then to Austria Wien before joining Udinese in 2017. Larsen made 30 appearances as a Right-Back as Udinese managed to avoid relegation from Serie A. Able to play in both the Full-Back positions, Larsen is a good utility option for Denmark for whom he has 12 caps and 1 goal which he bagged v Liechtenstein in 2016.
Chance of game time: Larsen is likely to start at Left-Back for his country where he can get forward to support the pacy Pione Sisto.
Why we’re following them: As an experienced and solid Full-Back Stryger Larsen could represent a good option for clubs higher up in Serie A, especially if Udinese continue to struggle.
This video shows Larsen’s ability to get forward and get goals. After making a pass into the centre, Larsen continues his run forward, beating the AS Roma offside trap before shooting past Alisson.
Player – Yoshimar Yotun
Caps: 70 Goals: 2
Victor Yoshimar Yotun Flores plays for Orlando City in MLS. The experienced Peruvian has had a varied career with spells at Sporting Cristal in Peru, Vasco da Gama in Brazil and Malmo FF in Sweden before arriving at the Florida club in 2017. Yotun can play at Left-back but spends most of his time in Central-Midfield for country and club, where Yotun has started 10 games and scored 3 goals in MLS Regular Season.
Chance of game time: Yotun should start in Peru’s midfield in either a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation gaining considerable game time at the World Cup.
Why we’re following them: If Peru impress at the tournament, Yotun could be one of the standout players, supplying the assists for Guerrero and Farfan.
Here, Yotun provides 2 assists with his ability to deliver from set pieces and later adds a goal for himself:
Player – Benjamin Pavard
Caps: 6 Goals: 0
Benjamin Pavard is a young defender who plays for Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. Formerly of Lille, Pavard helped the club to win the 2. Bundesliga in the 16/17 season before playing 90 minutes in every game as Stuttgart finished an impressive 7th in their first season back in the top flight. Pavard has appeared in several pre-tournament friendlies for France, rotating with Monaco’s Djibril Sidibe as well as starting for France U-21s in their qualifiers for the 2019 U21 Euros.
Chance of game time: Inexperienced at international level, Pavard may struggle to get off the bench unless injuries or suspensions hit the France squad as they go deeper into the tournament.
Why we’re following them: As one of the few lesser known players in a talented France squad, Pavard is our pick for player to watch. With reported interest already from Liverpool and Tottenham, Stuttgart could be fielding several post-tournament transfer bids.
This video highlights some of Pavard’s excellent passing and defensive work from France’s recent friendly vs Italy.
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