The hype for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar hasn’t reached the peaks that South Africa and Brazil reached, even with the tournament starting in 5 days. There could be many reasons for that, with the primary reason being that it is the first World Cup tournament held outside of the summer months.
No matter the reason, it’s time to watch soccer.
The World Cup is about stars, and some of the biggest in soccer will not be present, so we should see new guys emerge on the pitch. So, let’s look at each group and find the potential breakout players that could emerge during this tournament.
Almoez Ali - Qatar The 26-year-old striker has emerged as the face of the host nation since leading Qatar’s U-19 team to the U-19 World Cup. He has 42 goals in 85 international caps, and was the Asian Cup’s leading scorer. Since making his senior squad debut in 2019, he has been the third all-time leading scorer in Qatar’s history.
Frenkie de Jong - Netherlands Memphis Depay and Virgil van Dijk are the recognizable names for the Oranje, but De Jong is the new star in the Netherlands football galaxy. Rumors are that Manchester United is interested in the 25-year-old midfielder, who currently lines up for FC Barcelona. De Jong quarterbacks Netherlands’ pace and control for the attack, and we could see him create some scoring opportunities.
Ismaïla Sarr - Senegal Sarr hasn’t been in consistent form for Watford and didn’t make much noise during Senegal’s latest AFCON run, but this is an opportunity for him to prove he is the best replacement for Sadio Mané. He’ll have an essential role in Senegal’s attack, so let’s see if he’ll use it.
Moises Caicedo - Ecuador Caicedo started his senior international career as a teenager and already became the best player on Ecuador’s roster at 20. The midfielder plays for Brighton & Hove Albion, and the Premier League squad has set a nice price tag for the Independiente del Valle youth academy product. A solid run in the World Cup could increase the number of teams interested, Manchester United and Chelsea FC being two.
Yunus Musah - United States A self-proclaimed citizen of the world, Musah has climbed the ranks and has become one of the most intriguing players on the USMNT roster. The USMNT needs Musah to have a great run in Qatar to advance to the knockout rounds.
Jude Bellingham - England Only 19, Bellingham is making his first since joining the senior team as an ambitious 17-year-old in the 2020 Euros. Praised for his maturity, Bellingham has already etched his name on England’s youngest players list, joining the likes of Wayne Rooney.
Dan James - Wales Daniel James is a part of a Wales squad to make its first World Cup appearance since 1958. James is known for controlling the game’s pace as an attacking midfielder.
Uriel Antuna - Mexico Antuna will be making his world cup debut against Poland, but his amount of minutes is still in question. Antuna was one of the primary pillars of Mexico’s new youth movement, but hasn’t made that leap everyone is waiting for him to make. However, with injuries plaguing Mexico’s roster, he’ll have an opportunity to establish himself as a focal point in Mexico’s attack.
Lautaro Martinez - Argentina Martinez has emerged as a star for Inter Milan, and now he has a chance to be the next star in world football power Argentina’s illustrious history. But, first, Martinez must help the greatest soccer player win his first World Cup.
Karol Swiderski - Poland Swiderski’s primary role will be to compliment Poland’s captain, Robert Lewandowski, in the attack, but we could see him emerge as a star. A good run in the World Cup could lead to more interest from European teams.
Andreas Skov Olsen - Denmark Skov Olsen has eight goals in 23 caps for De Rod-Hvide. The crafty winger is only 22 and is expected to be a significant key piece for Denmark’s run in the World Cup.
Pedri - Spain Pedri is one of the best players in the world, and he is only 19. He played 73 games for Barcelona last season and has established himself as one of the top players in the world. This year’s World Cup could be a coming-out party for La Roja’s newest star.
Jamal Musiala - Germany Musiala is another 19-year-old expected to set the world ablaze during this year’s tournament. Considered to be one of the best-attacking midfielders in the world, he has earned the coaching staff’s trust thanks to his performance at Bayern Munich, and is one of the reasons why the attack is built around him.
Kaoru Mitoma - Japan Mitoma is scoring goals at an impressive rate, with five in nine international caps, one coming against the USMNT in September. The Brighton star is recognized as one the best J-League prospects to join the Premier League in recent memory. So let’s see if the 25-year-old striker can keep his momentum going.
Alphonso Davies - Canada Davies makes his World Cup debut after bursting onto the international scene as the youngest player to make Canada’s senior national team at 17. Now 22, Davies is the face of Canada Soccer and is regarded as one of the best fullbacks in the world, though he will line up at forward for country.
Noussair Mazraoui - Morocco
Morocco’s backline will be challenged in the group stage, and Mazraoui could be turned out as more than a backup role for lead star Achraf Hakimi.
Vinicus Junior - Brazil After the Champions League final, Neymar called Vinicius the best player in the world, where the 22-year-old forward helped Real Madrid win a 14th title. Vinicius may be utilized mostly as a substitute, but he should see the pitch a lot despite coming off the bench.
Breel Embolo - Switzerland Embolo is getting a second shot at the World Cup, already playing for the Swiss at the 2018 World Cup. His international career on the senior squad started in 2015, and since then, he has accumulated 11 goals in 58 caps.
Andre Onana - Cameroon Exactly one year ago, Onona was suspended for accidentally taking his wife’s prescription meds. In March, he was involved in a car crash. The former Cameroon Footballer of the Year has already made a name for himself in the football world, but in this group of stellar strikers, Onana can build a great redemption story.
Which players do you think will break out at the World Cup? Discuss these and some of your other potential stars in the comments.