Shaqiri and Pogba: Swiss class and French muscle
Youth brigade: Swiss Xherdan Shaqiri and French Paul Pogba may not be the most known players in world football but these youngsters are out to change that at the World Cup in Brazil.sports Updated: May 30, 2014 00:57 IST
Xherdan Shaqiri has more reason than most to shine during the World Cup in Brazil.
The 22-year-old Swiss winger has endured a frustrating season at Bayern Munich having failed to nail down a regular first team berth.
But if rumours that he is to spurn the interest of Liverpool to give it another go in Bavaria are true, then Shaqiri will be hoping to use the global showpiece to convince club boss Pep Guardiola of his value.
When he lines up in Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Switzerland team in Brazil, he is sure to be the focal point of Swiss creativity.
Shaqiri’s talents are immeasurable and his direct running style hurts defences.
Short, stocky, powerful and fast, Shaqiri is difficult to knock off the ball or to stop once he builds up a head of steam.
He also has a rocket of a shot on him and a devil of a whipped ball in with his favoured left foot.
Like a considerable number of the Swiss squad, Shaqiri was born in the former Yugoslavia before a bloody civil war ripped the country apart.
His family, ethnic Albanians, fled to Switzerland in 1992 when he was just a baby and it is there that he grew up and learnt his trade.
Young lad of Turin
Paul Pogba, 21, joined Juventus in 2012 after becoming frustrated by his lack of opportunities at Manchester United and the move proved an immediate success as he won the Scudetto in his first two seasons in Serie A.
A rangy central midfielder, Pogba is blessed with exceptional technique and has earned a reputation in Italy for scoring spectacular goals from long range. The 2013 Golden Boy award winner captained France to victory at the 2013 Fifa U-20 World Cup in Turkey. He would now look to play a key role in the Brazil.