Five youngsters who shone in Brazil and can take Russia 2018 by storm

  • Siladitya Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 13, 2014 08:13 IST

Here are five youngsters who are likely to set the stage alight four years from now in Russia.

1. James Rodriguez

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This 23 year old dynnamo from Colombia had an exceptional tournament and is quite deservedly in running for the Golden Ball for Player of the Tournament. The attacking midfielder leads the scorers chart with six goals and may also have a shot at the Golden Boot. What's more, his 180 degree pivot and left foot smash against Uruguay will end up as one of the goals of the tournament. A seasoned Rodriguez in Russia 2018 will be quite a handful.

2. Oscar

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Brazil's World Cup campaign was more or less a disaster, despite the fourth place finish. The injury to Neymar led to Brazil being clueless up front, with both Fred and Hulk misfiring. In the debris of humiliation, youngster Oscar has emerged as a world-class talent. While he's far from the finshed product, Oscar has shown glimpses of possible greatness by scoring two goals and providing an assist. He could be the perfect foil for Neymar in Russia 2018

3. Xherdan Shaqiri

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One of the most exciting players ever to have come out of Switzerland, Shaqiri was the shining star of the Swiss campaign. He scored three goals and cosistently threatened to score a few more. By the time Russia 2018 rolls on Shaqiri will have evolved in to one of the most versatile attackers in the game. He has got the legs of a Mr Olympia bodybuilder, the pace of an Olympic sprinter and the heart of a UFC champion.

4. Paul Pogba

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He's only 21 years old, but already one of the most important players in the French lineup. Didier Deschamps' hopes of a French renaissance in Euro 2016 at home will rest significantly on the shoulders of the young Pogba. He scored one goal and provided one assist in this tournament, those numbers could see a sharp increase in Russia 2018.

5. Raphael Varane

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One half of France's new centre-back line, the 21-year-old calm and collective Varane has been a revelation of sorts. He came into the World Cup with a good season at Real Madrid, where he earned of distinction of being one of the guys who nullified Lionel Messi. As France look to rebuild for the 2016 Euro Championship at home and Russia 2018, Varane is set to remain an important fixture in the back line.

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