But youth is arguably the most important factor to create a winning team for a nation, and the World Cup is the best place for a young star to show their skills and lead their country to glory.
There are a couple of standout young players who led their respective nations to cup glory in previous years. Mario Kempes in 1978, Pele in 1958, Zidane in 1998 and Ronaldinho in 2002. This year there are many young players that hope to be the talismans of their national teams; Luke Shaw, Romelu Lukaku, Julian Draxler, Paul Pogba and Oscar Dos Santos Emboaba Junior.
Luke Paul Hoare Shaw was born in Kingston upon Thames and is a left fullback for Southampton F.C. He has been one of his country's brightest prospects for the past 8 years, replacing the great Ashley Cole's place in the national team and will fight for his place in the starting XI with Leighton Baines. He made 34 appearances in the English Premier League only gaining 4 yellow cards, showing that he has a mature head on his shoulders and the skills to match. He will be integral to England's hopes if injury were to bestow on them.
Romelu Lukaku is a 20 year old, Belgian centre forward similar to Didier Drogba due to his height, strength, speed and finishing. In the last two seasons Lukaku has amassed 33 goals in 71 games on loan for Everton and West Brom respectively. His main competitor for a starting berth, Christian Benteke, became injured and hence was not picked for the World cup, now Lukaku must shoulder the responsibility with his fellow young stars in the Belgium team such as Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, to carry this team to glory.
Having been in the Schalke first team for a while now, 20 year old Julian Draxler plays like a experienced veteran. He weaves through defenders like the ball is on a string, and has gained 83 appearances for Schalke's first team in a multitude of competitions such as the UEFA champions League. With mass array of attacking talent that takes up the German National Team he will not be the first choice but when given the chance he will undoubtedly be a player to watch out for.
Paul Labile Pogba was born on the 15th of March 1993 in Paris. Pogba is the biggest cog in the French national team. He has the massive responsibility of running the show and controlling the tempo with his smooth passing skills and venomous long shots. He has become integral in juventus' rise to domination of the Italian Series A League. With an excess of gifted players in the French national team, watch out for Pogba's name to shine the brightest, and if France has any chance of taking the cup home it will surely be in large part due to this talented young man.
Oscar Dos Santos Emboaba Junior
Brazil will have the heaviest expectations of any team in the World Cup and many players will have to carry the load of responsibility: Neymar, Hulk, David Luiz and Thiago Silva. But one of the youngest and brightest prospects is Oscar Dos Santos Emboaba Junior, or as many people know him, as just Oscar. Central attacking midfielder from Chelsea F.C in the Barclays Premier League likened to his idol Kaka, Oscar will form a spectacular tandem with his attacking team mates due to his pin point passing and his brilliant dribbling skills. The most underestimated skill that Oscar has is his deceptive strength on the ball for someone of only 66kgs. He can hold players off the ball as if he was twice the size, and also has a very calm and mature head for a 22 year old and will surely shine come the 18th of June.
With these young up and coming superstars ready to give their all and shine for their respective nations, this world cup will definitely be one for the ages and one to watch.
Annemarie de Villiers is studying sports science and has a dream to be a sports scientist for a professional club. Born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand and tertiary professionally qualified in Melbourne Australia.
Annemarie de Villiers' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/annemarie-de-villiers.html