The FIFA World Cup has given us some thrilling matches over the past month, with some twists and surprises making everyone tout it as the best World Cup of the 21st century. The tournament has been even more engaging because of the relatively "weaker" teams rising to the occasion to knock out some of the favorites, and these shock results have added to the thrill of the tournament. But almost all these "minnows" have thrived because of some amazing talents, who decided to introduce themselves to the football world in style by excelling at the World Cup and bringing pride to their nations.
There have been many players who have broken through in the football scene with their amazing performances in the World Cup, which has made many fans fall in love with them. It's because of their skill and ability to stand out from the rest which has helped these players attain so much fame during their tenure at the tournament. Some of these stars have mainly surprised fans because they're not so widely recognized as they play for smaller clubs. It's because of their fantastic showing in the World Cup that many have been wondering why exactly these players aren't playing for more widely recognized European clubs.
The superb performances of these players make them deserve big time moves to much more renowned European soccer teams. Here we'll look at 20 such breakout stars that have proved how they deserve to play on better clubs with their impressive showing in the World Cup.
20 Nordin Ambrabat
Nordin Ambrabat proved to be too hot to handle for the defenses of teams like Spain and Portugal, with his electric pace and trickery down the right flank giving nightmares to every defender he faced in the World Cup. While Ambrabat didn't get a goal in the tournament, he was arguably Morocco's most dangerous outlet in attack. His fantastic ability to take on defenders and easily go past them made him a dangerous man to contain and Ambrabat inspired Morocco to play a more attacking game. Ambrabat's impressive performances had many questioning why he's playing for a small-time side like Watford and after his World Cup display, some bigger European team will definitely try and sign him.
19 Andre Carrillo
Peru found it difficult to keep up with superior sides like France and Denmark in their group, but they definitely gave them a run for their money with a stunning attacking style. The biggest influence to their attack was arguably Andre Carrillo, who looked dangerous every time he received the ball. He was a bright light in Peru's attack and came agonizingly close to scoring against both France and Denmark, but finally got his goal against Australia in Peru's final match. Carrillo brought pride to his country by helping them finish 3rd in their difficult group, and his terrorizing attacking display means a big European side will probably sign him from Benfica and give him the "big-time" opportunity he deserves.
18 Alfred Finnbogosan
Iceland's historic participation in the World Cup might not have been successful, but they impressed many with their fans' passionate support and team's style of football. Iceland surprised many by holding Argentina to a draw in their first ever World Cup match and someone who shined for them was striker Alfred Finnbogosan. He's been amazing for Iceland for quite a while now and introduced himself with style with the superb goal against Argentina's Finnbogosan's movement and striker's instincts caused many problems for Iceland's oppositions and proved how he deserves to play at a bigger club than FC Augsburg. His recently impressive showing at the World Cup can give Finnbogosan the "big move" he deserves and an opportunity to play at a better club.
17 Jo Hyeon-woo
Jo Hyeon-woo burst onto the scene with a terrific performance against World Champions Germany in the group stages of the World Cup, where he saved everything the Germans sent towards him. Hyeonwoo was rock-solid for South Korea throughout the tournament, making some splendid saves to prove his talent. The towering goalkeeper helped South Korea avoid humiliation with his amazing goalkeeping and his fantastic showcase against Germany won him the Man of the Match award. Hyeonwoo plays for Korean side Daegu FC at club level, but his fantastic showing in the World Cup proved how he deserves so much better and should move to a well-known European club to become an even bigger star.
16 Valon Behrami
Switzerland proved to be a really tough team during the World Cup where they showed a lot of heart right up until their final game against Sweden. They were a difficult team to break down and the relentless figure of Valon Behrami in the middle helped their cause a lot. Behrami proved to be a tireless worker for his national team, putting in some energetic performances and containing the best of players against him. His terrific showing against Brazil, where he helped neutralize the threat of Neymar proved how much of a solid midfielder he is. Behrami's currently playing for Udinese at club level, but his inspired performances at the World Cup proves that he deserves to play for a much bigger club.
15 Denis Cheryshev
Denis Cheryshev was the real surprise package for hosts Russia, who themselves stunned many by qualifying for the World Cup quarter-finals after defeating Spain. Cheryshev wasn't really one of the "stars" in the Russian team prior to the start of the tournament, but his amazing performance against Saudi Arabia put him on the map. Cheryshev scored two stunning goals to start proceedings with a bang, before scoring another one against Egypt. The goal-scoring midfielder has proved that he has skills which can be valued at any big side and his performances must've caught the eye of European giants as well. Cheryshev should seize his moment and move to a better club than Villarreal after his impressive showing at the World Cup.
14 Gabriel Mercado
Argentina might not have had the most successful of outings at the World Cup, but some impressive talents got their opportunities to shine in a topsy-turvy campaign. Right-back Gabriel Mercado was one of them and the sturdy defender proved how good he can be both defensively and going forward. Mercado was tough as nails in defense, also showing a lot of attacking threat by himself which rewarded him with a lucky goal against France. Mercado proved to be a versatile, hard-working defender who should get more recognition after showing off his defensive prowess in an impressive World Cup campaign. He deserves a better club than Sevilla and should be picked up by a top European side in the summer.
13 Yuya Osako
Yuya Osako silenced doubters who were under the impression that Japan lacked a proper attacking outlet, with the powerful striker surprising many with his impressive performances at the World Cup. Osako scored the winning goal for Japan against Colombia and won the man of the match award in the same contest. He was a constant pain for defenders because of his movement and physical prowess and allowed his midfielders to play more freely because of how well he dragged defenders to himself. While Osako recently moved to German side Werder Bremen, he proved that he deserves to play at the absolute top of European football and could help many prominent European clubs succeed with him leading their attack.
12 Ludwig Augustinsson
Ludwig Augustinsson played a key role in Sweden's success in the FIFA World Cup and it was because of his work as a complete defender which helped them remain such a sturdy side throughout the tournament. Augustinsson was not only defensively sound as a left-back, helping block and clearing danger many times, but was also impressive going forward, something which really helped Sweden. He even scored against Mexico to prove his attacking prowess and his crosses and passing made him a dangerous player for Sweden. Augustinsson currently plays for German side Werder Bremen, but if his stunning work in helping Sweden remain a rock-solid defensive outlet proves anything, it's that the left-back deserves to play at a much better club.
11 Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was a player everyone had their eyes on after he had a prolific season with Lazio, and he proved why he was rated so highly with some impressive performances at the World Cup, where he was a big threat for Serbia in midfield. While he didn't score or assist a goal, Savic always tried to create chances for Serbia and hit some stunning long rangers as well. His overall performance as a midfielder was fantastic as he ended the tournament as one of Serbia's brightest stars. Savic's impressive outing at the World Cup proved how he deserves to be an in better club than Lazio and with European giants like Juventus and Manchester United seeking him, his wish might be fulfilled.
10 Dries Mertens
Dries Mertens played a pivotal role in Belgium's success at the World Cup, where they scored many goals and proved their amazing attacking potential by thwarting the oppositions which came in their way. Mertens played the unique of a "second-striker" for Belgium and was versatile in moving to the wings to create chances for them as well. Mertens scored Belgium's first goal in the World Cup and later made an assist as well, but his creativity was often too hot to handle for their oppositions. Mertens created many chances for Belgium and was on sublime attacking form during the World Cup and proved how he's more than able to play at a much bigger club than Napoli.
9 Alireza Beiranvand
Alireza Beiranvand became a renowned name in the Soccer world after amazingly saving Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty in Iran's final group game at the World Cup and became a hero among his fans. Up until that stunning save, Beiranvand had produced some superb performances against Morocco and Spain as well and even kept a clean sheet against Morocco. He made some stunning saves in almost every game, with the penalty-save being the highest point of his career so far. Beiranvand's heroics at the World Cup had many questioning why he isn't picked up by a prominent European side. He plays for Iranian club Persepolis FC, but Beiranvand's terrific performances at the World Cup makes deserve a better club where he can further develop as a goalkeeper.
8 Ante Rebic
Ante Rebic proved to be a real terror for opposition defenders in the World Cup because of his bullish nature and ability to pop out of nowhere to score goals. Rebic introduced himself in style by scoring a brilliant volley goal against Argentina and worked as a clever winger for Croatia throughout the tournament. Rebic's movement and impressive creativity made him the thorn at the side of opponents and he often used his energetic, physical prowess to his advantage to overpower his opponents. Rebic gave some really solid performances in the World Cup, proving himself as an intelligent, hard-working winger who should be playing at a much bigger club than German side Eintracht Frankfurt.
7 Andreas Granqvist
Andreas Granqvist led from the front to guide Sweden to unprecedented glory in the World Cup and not only was he great defensively but proved to have nerves to steel when required to take some important penalties for them. Granqvist not only scored two goals for Sweden but was rock-solid in defense alongside Victor Lindelof. The Swedish captain not only guided young Lindelof perfectly but was unbreakable in defense and made many important challenges throughout Sweden's campaign. Granqvist's impeccable performances introduced him to the soccer world even at the age of 33, but he proved to have the ability to easily perform for any major European club and definitely deserves better than Swedish club Helsingborgs.
6 Aleksandr Golovin
Aleksandr Golovin was one of Russia's main creative outlets and shined out for them in their opening day delight in the 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia. He scored a goal and gave two assists for Russia in the World Cup campaign and was quite unstoppable at the middle of the park. Golovin proved to be a really clever soccer player who loved to move around and create chances for his side and his terrific passing abilities made him a prized asset for Russia. Golovin's still very young and is packed with talent, which is why he deserves a much better club than CSKA Moscow and might be signed up by European Giants Chelsea or Juventus soon.
5 Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire was an important clog to England's defense during the World Cup, when he helped them maintain a decent defensive record and not let in any leaky goals. Maguire formed a great partnership with his fellow defenders but was arguably the best among the defenders to have played for England at the World Cup. His tackles, heading ability, and clearances were on point every time the team needed him to rise to the occasion and Maguire even got an assist to his name because of his threat in set-pieces. Maguire's impressive defensive work in the tournament proved how he definitely deserves a bigger club than Leicester City and should move to a European heavyweight to attain even more success.
4 Juan Quintero
Colombia definitely missed the presence of star-man James Rodriguez in their side during their World Cup Campaign, but Juan Quintero stood up to the challenge and replaced James pretty well. Quintero proved to be a really talented midfielder who not only could create chances, but had the ability to finish chances himself. He scored Colombia's first goal in the World Cup and would later provide two assists for them as well. Quintero helped Colombia top their group and qualify for the Round of 16 and was pivotal in their attack. HIs impressive creativity and movement made him a menace for everyone and Quintero's break-through tournament could help him earn a big-money move to a European giant just like James got in 2014.
3 Benjamin Pavard
While France might've been full of World-class players like Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba, it was an unknown youngster in Benjamin Pavard who broke through and introduced himself to the fans in impressive fashion. Not only was Pavard one of France's most trust-worthy defenders because of his terrific skills at neutralizing the threat of the opposition attacker, but his attacking movements were fantastic as well. He helped France to a few clean-sheets but become a renowned name after scoring an incredible goal against Argentina. Unlike his hot-shot teammates, Pavard plays for German side Stuttgart at club level and his amazing showing at the World Cup is proof of how he needs to move to a better club to further improve as a soccer player.
2 Kasper Schmeichel
Following the footsteps of his legendary father, Kasper Schmeichel seemed to undergo an evolution in his first FIFA World Cup where he had a fantastic campaign for himself. Not only did Schmeichel get two clean-sheets and only concede two goals in four games, but his amazing shot-stopping capabilities were seen perfectly in Denmark's matches. He saved the Danes from doom on multiple occasions, making 21 saves throughout the tournament. Schmeichel was also amazing in the penalty shoot-out against Croatia, saving two penalties after having already saved one at extra-time. Schmeichel's heroics proved him to have reached a top-class level, and showed how he needs to move to a bigger club than Leicester City to attain the kind of success he deserves.
1 Hirving Lozano
Hirving Lozano lit up the Mexican team during the World Cup group stages when he helped them record a famous victory over Germany by scoring a stunning goal to introduce himself to the soccer world. The 22-year old winger was electric throughout Mexico's campaign, with his terrific movement and dribbling ability being nightmarish for the opposition's defenders. He also assisted a goal later on, but Lozano's terrific wing-play impressed many as he seems to have the complete package of dribbling, finishing, and impeccable pace as well. It's surprising to learn that the talented Lozano plays for Dutch club PSV but after his prolific showing in the World Cup, he should much deservedly be signed up by some European Heavyweight.