THE LIST: Sportsmail's 50 players to watch at the World Cup - Nos 20-11

11 June 2010 01:38
        HAVE YOUR SAY.     Who will light up the World Cup? Plenty of superstars on show in South Africa play or have played in the Barclays Premier League - so we know what to expect from the likes of Rooney and Ronaldo. But, as a special treat, we've picked out the ones to watch who have never starred in the English top flight. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK Who will write their name into World Cup history this summer?

Sportsmail gazes into the crystal ball for this week's edition of The List.

We're counting down the top 50 players who we reckon could play a blinder in South Africa and join the icons of all time, which we charted last week.

There are the veterans getting onelast shot at finals immortality and teenagers hoping to get on the pitch to announce themselves on the big stage.

There are those who need a big tournament after a poor domestic season and countless more who will be looking for a big move off the back of their exploits.

THE REST OF THE LISTReadNos 50-41ReadNos 30-21ReadNos 40-31ReadNos 20-11Read Nos 10-1There is just one rule for our List: none of these players has plied his trade in the Barclays Premier League. Sorry, Cristiano.

We figure you probably know those guys well enough already (though you'll probably know our No 1 quite well too!).

As ever, we want to know what you think. So join the debate on our message boards or by adding your comments at the bottom of the article as we reveal 10 icons each day this week till our No 1 emerges on Friday.


Hail Cesar: Brazil No 1 Julio

20) Julio Cesar (Brazil)After a treble-winning season with Inter Milan, Cesar has the opportunity to round off his season nicely - with the World Cup, no less.

He won his fourth straight title with the Nerazzurri this year and was voted Italy's keeper of the season. He's certainly coming into the finals in good form.

A formidable shot-stopper who's also handy at taking the odd penalty.However, his tournament build up has been hampered by a back injury.

Prediction: Brazilian goalkeepers used to be the butt of jokes. This tournament will dispel that myth and his back up stoppers are pretty good, too.

19) Milos Krasic (Serbia)Tipped to by many to be the 'breakthrough' player of the tournament, Krasic has been impressing in recent seasons in Russia with CSKA Moscow.

A versatile attacking player who can slot in the heart of midfield orout wide. He's tall, pacey and at 25 is just reaching his prime.

Prediction: His side may depart the tournament early but he will showenough to earn a move - probably to his preferred destination of Juventus.

Heaven 17: Krasic

Pass master: Iniesta

18) Andres Iniesta (Spain)In a side full of stars, Iniesta receives less of the spotlight than he deserves. Essentially a centre midfielder but comfortable out wide, too, the diminutive Spaniard's passing can unlock the world's best defences.

The 26-year-old has been in fine form again this season and has proven he can cut it at the highest level.

Chelsea fans will remember him for his late goal in the Champions League semi-final in 2009, United fans would rather forget his devastating performance in the subsequent final.

Prediction: Cool, calm and sheer class - we reckon Iniesta will guidehis side to the final, his golden reputation even further enhanced.

17) Sergio Aguero (Argentina)A transfer saga which refuses to go away. Atletico Madrid's exceptional striking talent continues to be linked with a move away fromthe Vicente Calderon Stadium despite the club's efforts to get hmi to sign a contract extension.

Aguero picked up the Europa League this season and bagged 12 goals in La Liga but his cash-strapped club could be tempted into cashing in on their £50m-rated star to ease debts.

Prediction: In a team packed with attacking talent, Aguero may have to bide his time. But given he is the father of Diego's grandson he'll get his chance - but where the increasingly eccentric Maradona will playhim is anyone's guess.

Sky blue's the limit: Aguero

Super six: De Rossi

16) Daniele de Rossi (Italy)Oh how England could do with a player of De Rossi's quality. A box-to-box midfielder who can shore up the midfield or play in a more advanced role - we'd certainly be far less worried about Gareth Barry's injury if he was in the side.

He was sent off during the last tournament for an elbow on USA's Brian McBride but is expected to become the Azzurri's captain when FabioCannavaro steps down.

Prediction: De Rossi will no doubt shine but may return home brokenhearted. We doubt Italy will successfully defend their title.

15) Maicon (Brazil)Roundly accepted as the finest right back in the world, Maicon won everything on offer during a treble season with Inter Milan.

A marauding, overlapping whirlwind of a defender, who's not short of quality when called on to work at the back, too. Oh, and he's not too shabby at long-range shots, either. In fact, he's pretty much perfect.

Prediction: It will be difficult for Maicon to improve his reputationmuch further than it already is. Maybe finishing off the move in a 2010 recreation of that Carlos Alberto goal from 40 years previous would do it.

Flying full back: Brazil's attack-minded defender Maicon

14) Marek Hamsik (Slovakia)For the last three years Hamsik has been building up a formidable reputation in Italy with Napoli. A midfield powerhouse who isjust as happy creating goals as he is scoring them.

Like a number of the stars in our List, Hamsik has been linked with amove away from his club after the finals. Reports suggest Manchester City head the queue to nab this midfield hot property.

Prediction: It already seems a foregone conclusion that he will leave Napoli this summer, but he won't have much time to impress potential suitors - many are backing the Slovakians to fall at the firsthurdle.

White hot: Midfielder Hamsik (right) is key to Slovakia's (slim) hopes

13) Toni Kroos (Germany)One of a triumvirate of talented young midfielders in the Germany squad this year. Just like England's golden generation 10 years ago, much is expected of the young playmakers. But unlike the Three Lions, theywill probably deliver.

The Bayern Munich deadball specialist spent a successful spell out on loan at Bayer Leverkusen after making his international debut this season, but the German champions have made it clear he will be important at the Allianz Arena next season.

Prediction: After an inspiring season with Leverkusen, Kroos comes into the tournament with that most crucial of ingredients - momentum. Appearances from the bench may come first but he will certainly shine.

Rising star: Kroos

Lucky seven: Di Maria

12) Angel di Maria (Argentina)What a player! We've been impressed with Di Maria this season, his performances on the wing for Benfica helped his club to a domestic double and raised interest from every major club in Europe.

Pace, power and handy with the dead ball, he can play wide or advanced in the middle.  Attributes which will secure him a move to Real Madrid once the tournament is over (if not before).

Prediction: With Maradona at the helm, it is anyone's guess how the Argentines will fare. But Di Maria is pure class and will run many defences ragged.

Key to the door: Italy No 21 Marchisio

11) Claudio Marchisio (Italy)A talented midfielder who came through the ranks at Juventus. Despiteplaying just the one qualifier, it seems he will be playing a big role for the Azzurri in South Africa.

Boss Marcello Lippi has praised his young midfilder and hinted he maybe played in the hole just behind the main striker.

Lippi said: 'I like him a lot in that position because of all our midfielders he's the one with best movement off the ball. He gets in gaps, follows the action and appears in empty spaces. And on top of thathe helps to cover the midfield.'

Prediction: Confidence isn't exactly stratospheric in the Italian camp but then it wasn't last time round, either. If they are to do well, Marchisio could be the ace in the back as the Italian sideblend the old with the new.

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Source: Daily_Mail

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44