Every World Cup a young talent comes to the fore and showcases their talent to the watching globe.
This year there are number of starlets, aged 21 and under, who could make a big impact like Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Michael Owen, and others before them.
But who are the wonderkids worth watching in Russia? talkSPORT.com gives you the lowdown.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay)
Set to start in a talented ball-playing midfield, the Juventus ace did well in his debut season in Italy. He could dominate for the South Americans, patrolling the midfield with his physicality and his technical skills helping him dictate the tempo of their play. He’s just as capable of long raking passes as he is of neat one-twos with overlapping runners and could stand out if they progress out of Group A.
Maxi Gomez (Uruguay)
The Celta Vigo centre forward could be the super sub Uruguay need over in Russia if Oscar Tabarez turns to him in a time of need. Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez are, of course, the hotshots he will rely on but Gomez hit 18 LaLiga goals last term, aged just 21. The only players to get more not called Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were Iago Aspas and Cristhian Stuani.
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)
The Real Madrid youngster, 19, is a talented attack full-back who will attempt to help his nation stun Spain thanks to his knowledge of the league and some of their stars. A handy player to have in their ranks, he offers pace, which aids him on both sides of the ball, while in attacking phases will try and get high up the pitch and allow the likes of Nordin Amrabat to move inside and load the middle of the field.
Goncalo Guedes (Portugal)
A brilliant campaign on loan with Valencia has shot the talented attacker into his nation’s World Cup plans and he could well do some damage from the left if allowed the chance by Fernando Santos. He’s a hard worker, not shy of doing some graft when needed but excels when dribbling and picking out team-mates with his measured pass selection. The accuracy of his shooting could do with some work, though.
Kylian Mbappe (France)
The most obvious wonderkid pick in Russia, Mbappe could steal the show if France go the whole way, as they have the potential to do. The charismatic teenager has now netted 47 goals domestically in his last two campaigns and isn’t only a goal threat. His speed and skill see him past most defenders and he’s capable of brilliant and unpredictable moments. Will he star at the World Cup? We wouldn’t rule it out.
Ousmane Dembele (France)
Another fairly obvious pick, but the Barcelona man hasn’t seen too much action this season so it will be intriguing to see how he does on the biggest stage of all. A fine technician who is exceptional with both feet but prefers to pass with his left and shoot with his right, Dembele is supremely talent and in a great place domestically to learn with Lionel Messi. His dribbling will cause plenty of problems if he isolates full-backs too.
If you’re up on your Austrian football, you’ll know all about Caleta-Car. If not, we’re here to help. The 6ft 4in defender has been playing senior football since August, 2012 – aged 15 and 11 months – and has made his way from the Croatian second division to a Europa League semi-final with current club Red Bull Salzburg. He’s also had international call-ups since 2015 but only made his debut in a recent friendly with Brazil at Anfield. He’s not only a good defender, he’s excellent with the ball at his feet, comfortable in tight situations and able to spot long range passes and execute them with aplomb. He’s not going to play much this World Cup but if he does make an appearance he’s worth checking out closely.
Albert Gudmundsson (Iceland)
He’s not super quick but the 20-year-old PSV Eindhoven youngster makes up for this with his poise and presence of mind mark which him out as one to keep an eye on this summer if he gets used. Elegant touches and perfect timed passes and movements could cause tiring sides problems if he’s used off the bench in Russia. Gudmundsson is part of footballing dynasty in his homeland with his mother and father both international stars, and his great-grandfather the nation’s first professional player.
Still slightly underappreciated outside of Leicester, the Nigerian midfielder is progressing superbly in the Premier League at the tender age of 21. An outstanding tackler, he’s destined for a big future and a massive performance for the Super Eagles will have the Foxes worried about a huge coming in for his services.
Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)
Premier League fans know all about the Manchester City ace and now he gets to show his precocious talents on the biggest stage of all. With ammo being supplied by Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, and others from their talented pool, he could make nets across Russia bulge with alarming regularity this summer.
Andrija Zivkovic (Serbia)
A player set to spend a lot of time on the bench, the Benfica whizz could make an impact off the bench when called upon. Superb vision, and a fine executor of a final ball, he’s gone from a winger to a central midfielder in a three-man middle combination and could come in handy as Mladen Krstajic considers a late formation change. He was a member of his nation’s Under-20 World Cup winning side in 2015.
Denis Zakaria (Switzerland)
The defensive midfielder is likely to be the foil for Arsenal pass-pinger Granit Xhaka for Vladimir Petkovic’s side. He’ll be mopping up in front of the back four and handing possession over to his team-mates. Watch out for the odd foray forward, though, he’s happy to break the lines with quick charge up, or with a first-time pass. He won’t set pulses racing but he will keep everything ticking over and that is just as important at a World Cup.
Lee Seung-Woo (South Korea)
You may remember him from his time on the books with Barcelona’s academy – and he’s still only 20! He may not be starring at La Masia anymore but he’s taken his journey to Serie A where he plays for Hellas Verona, although they have been relegated this season. A left winger with an eye for goal, he was prolific for his country’s youth sides, scoring 20 goals in 34 games. He may be short but his impeccable balance makes his a tricky opponent when he’s bearing down on opponents. He’s got great close control so can squeeze out of the tightest press, but he’s unlikely to start so keep an eye for him off the bench.
Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)
At just 20, the winger is already a Ligue 1 mainstay having played two full seasons for Metz and then Rennes. His stock was high last summer before he made the switch between clubs in France with the player claiming he could have signed for Barcelona. He’s a threat across the forward line but is a right-footer with a love for quick flicks and touches before leaving his marker for dead with his pace.