Hidden gems at the 2018 FIFA WC


The World Cup has often been the breakthrough platform for some of football's biggest names and the following five players have already established themselves in their respective domestic leagues.

However, they may be an unknown quantity to many viewers next month.

1. Sardar Azmoun (Iran)

Position: Forward

The 'Iranian Zlatan' stands at 1.86m tall and at the age of 23, he's already found the back of the net 23 times in 32 appearances for Carlos Queiroz's side, making him the fifth highest scorer in the country's history.

Lauded as a complete striker for his aerial ability, creativity and incredible acceleration, the Rubin Kazan striker has been tipped to be a key figure for the Asian side grouped alongside Portugal, Spain and Morocco.

2. Hirving Lozano (Mexico)

Position: Winger

He was one of the standout players for Eredivisie champions PSV this season after joining the club from Pachuca for €8m on a lucrative six-year contract.

The 22-year-old netted an impressive 17 goals and registered 11 assists from 28 appearances and the World Cup could be his breakout party.

Arsenal are said to be keen on the right-footed left winger, who is represented by super agent Mino Raiola.

3. Kasper Dolberg (Denmark)

Position: Forward

Instrumental in Ajax Amsterdam's run to the Europa League final in 2017, the technically gifted Dane has a tall frame and fluid grace that has Europe's elite on alert ahead of his first World Cup appearance.

The 20-year-old has scored only once for his country in four appearances, but 32 goals and 10 assists in 78 outings for the Eredivisie giants have proven his ability in front of goal.

Grouped alongside France, Peru and Australia, Dolberg will have a real chance to cement his place in the national team if given a chance in the group stage.

4. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

Position: Right-back

The teenager picked up his first UEFA Champions League medal with Real Madrid this weekend and has impressed as the youngest player to feature in LaLiga during the 2017/18 season.

Promoted to the first team by manager Zinedine Zidane, the Atlas Lions star has scored once in six showings for Herve Renard's side since opting to represent the African nation over Spain.

In his 17 appearances for Los Blancos this season, the 19-year-old displayed incredible maturity and attacking vigour for the 13-time European champions while being defensively resolute in the star-studded squad.

5. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia)

Position: Central midfield

Despite being courted by Juventus and Manchester United, the Lazio midfielder is still a relatively unknown quantity on the global stage for most football fans.

Nicknamed 'The Sergeant' due to his dominating displays in Serie A, the tough-tackling midfielder looks set to feature alongside Manchester United star Nemanja Matic.

After scoring 14 goals and registering nine assists in 48 appearances across all competitions, the 23-year-old will be looking to add to his two national team caps and prove to the rest of the world why Lazio have slapped a £100m price-tag on his head.