It’s time to book the best available seat in the house, to witness, with bated breath, the greatest football extravaganza on Earth– the FIFA World Cup 2010. The biggest carnival of world football is an excellent stage for the young starlets to prove their worth at the highest level.

TheHardTackle takes a look at top ten promising break-out talents, who are poised to sizzle on the field and steal the limelight this time around. The criteria for selection in this elite list is that the player should be under 25 years of age, and is making his debut World Cup appearance in South Africa 2010.

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10. Marek Hamsik (Slovakia)

Age: 22
Position: Midfielder
International caps: 30
International goals: 8

Predominantly a modern day box-to-box midfielder, who can also be deployed as a supporting striker or deep lying playmaker – just like Andrea Pirlo – Hamsik has a knack of scoring vital goals for his club, Napoli, and the national side as well. His excellent positioning sense and his ability to cover each and every blade of grass on the ground deserves special mention. Slovakia do not have a very rich football tradition, but thanks to the likes of Hamsik, the fans can hope for a decent performance in their maiden World Cup appearance.

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9. Nicklas Bendtner (Denmark)

Age: 22
Position: Striker
International caps: 32
International goals: 11

This Danish striker has already made a positive impression in the hearts of North London fans as a talented kid. Despite struggling with injuries, Bendtner scored 12 goals from 31 Premier League appearances this season, to help the Gunners stay in contention for the title till very end. Even though he receives mixed reviews from football purists about his development over the years – especially his finishing abilities– nobody ever doubted his quality and potential. Excellent balance, great positioning and admirable aerial abilities are the characteristics of this young Dane, who will be the focal point of Denmark’s attack in their quest for this World Cup.

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8. Gerard Pique (Spain)

Age: 23
Position: Centre Back
International caps: 15
International goals: 4

A rock in the Barcelona defense, Gerrard Pique has already bagged two European medals, one each with Manchester United and Barcelona, at a tender age of 23 years. Within just one year of being a regular starter for his national team, Pique has already established himself as a tough nut to crack. He also contributes significantly to the attack, always trying to sprinkle in defense-splitting passes to the strikers. His physical presence at the opposition box from set-pieces can provide vital goals for Spain in this World Cup.

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7. Hugo Lloris (France)

Age: 23
Position: Goalkeeper
International caps: 11
International goals: 0

The French number one is currently regarded as the most promising goalkeeper by football pundits all over the world. A prime target of Manchester United for next season as the replacement for veteran Edwin Van Der Ser, this technically sound goalkeeper is a joy to watch for the football purists, with his impeccable reflexes and commanding aerial judgment. One of the contenders for the coveted Lev Yasin award, Lloris will try his best to leave a lasting impression on the hearts of football lovers all over the world in the biggest stage of world football.

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6. Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Age: 21
Position: Striker
International caps: 28
International goals: 11

A great finisher with incredible speed and skill, Alexis Sanchez was the prime reason for Chile’s return to the big stage after a hiatus of 12 long years. The Udinese forward makes up for his short stature with perdurable stamina and speed. Chilean fan’s darling “El Nino Maravilla” has an impressive match per goal ratio of scoring in every alternate match for his national side. Just like Marcelo Salas in 1998, Sanchez has the potential to become the next star for the Chile national team.

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5. Yoann Gourcuff (France)

Age: 23
Position: Midfielder/Striker
International caps: 16
International goals: 1

Already tagged as the “Next Big Thing” in French football after Zidane, Gourcuff has the versatility and flair to make it big in the World Cup. Predominantly an attacking midfielder, he can slip-in the role of a supporting striker with ease. He is a rare combination of a work-horse with an artistic vision. His creativity and dribbling skills are second to none, and the France number 8 is all set to light up the greatest carnival of the year.

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4. James Milner (England)

Age: 24
Position: Midfielder
International caps: 8
International goals: 0

Off-late, the promising Aston Villa midfielder is making news for all the right reasons. His immense potential and versatility has already resulted in a tug-of-war between the two Manchester rivals to acquire his signature on the dotted line. He is an able back-up for Gerrard and Lampard; moreover, his ability to play as a winger gives coach Fabio Capello a completely different attacking dimension. Watch out for Milner to make an impact off the bench, with his ball distribution and powerful shot.

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3. Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)

Age: 22
Position: Striker
International caps: 5
International goals: 2

“El Pipita” is already an established name in Madrid. This Real Madrid hit-man has an impressive 1:2 goal-scoring ratio per match for his club. Inimitable finishing, nifty dribbling and a perpetual hunger for goals sets him apart from the other talented young strikers. Higuain’s international debut was against Peru in the WC qualifier in Oct 2009. He chipped in with one goal in the 2-1 win and in his second match against Germany, he scored the lone goal that separated the two teams. This World Cup will help the youngster graduate from the club level to the bigger international stage. It remains to be seen how Maradona motivates Higuain to extract his maximum potential, but it can easily be predicted that Gonzalo Higuain is all set to play a vital role in La Albiceleste’s World Cup campaign this time around.

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2. David Silva (Spain)

Age: 24
Position: Attacking Midfielder
International caps: 33
International goals: 6

The 24 year old Valencia midfielder is already acclaimed as one of the most versatile footballers of his generation. Silva is capable of playing on either of the wings, as an attacking midfielder and even as a supporting striker.

Silva came to international reckoning in the 2003 Under-17 World Cup, where he scored three important goals, helping Spain to lift-up the runners up trophy. In the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, he scored four spectacular goals, which eventually earned him a place in Luis Aragonés’s senior national squad. So far he has represented his country in 33 matches and scored six goals. This World Cup is the perfect stage for Silva to showcase his talent, and one hopes that he will not disappoint his admirers.

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1. Angel Di Maria (Argentina)

Age: 21
Position: Left Wing
International caps: 8
International goals: 1

All the talks leading to the World Cup build-up have already made this talented winger a household name, even before a ball has been kicked. Currently he is contracted to the Portuguese side Benefica, and his excellent display this season has helped the club to re-establish themselves as a prominent force to reckon with in the national league. Renowned for his excellent dribbling prowess, supreme pace and long range scorchers, the 21 year old Argentinean has all the ingredients in him to become Maradona’s “Jack of the pack” in this world cup. Keep an eye on Albiceleste’s number 8 jersey, and do not be astounded if you come to know that a bullet can be fired not only by a pistol, but by the feet too.

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9 Responses to “World Cup’10: TOP 10 Newbies To Watch Out For”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Ketan says:

    Nice article.
    However, you should have also mentioned the name which just miss out from the list. The likes of Tosic, Javier, Hart etc.

  2. Soccerfan says:

    Personally agree with atleast 8 selection in the list. Still Italy’s Chiellini and Mexico’s Harnandez should have been selected ahead of Bendtner and Sanchez.

  3. Pankaj says:

    Well written. I can’t agrue with this list too much except for the fact that you have put Di Maria above Silva and Higuain. Silva should be number1 in this list. Di Maria should find him at about 5th spot.

  4. diego_1986 says:

    These lists are never accurate because goalscorers always get the top spots… However this list isn’t THAT far off… Number 1 is PERFECT with no debate… My only issues is that its 2010 and not 2008/09… So Bendtner, Silva should not have been included in the first place… Dani Alves deserves to be among Top-3 in this list.

  5. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  6. ManUtdForeever says:

    Thanks for this nice piece. Got to know a lot about these future day’s superstars.

  7. Was able to watch the last period of France and Uruguay match. It’s funny that the first two matches were tie. Wondering about the next matches results.

  8. Shaun Lero says:

    I really found your blog helpful. Although I know a lot about the topic, I’ve never come across the information that you wrote about. Thanks for your post.