Emerging stars of the World Cup

  • Last Updated: May 30 2014, 11:10 BST

We take a look at the young players who could impress at the World Cup.

Mateo Kovacic: One to watch for Croatia
Mateo Kovacic: One to watch for Croatia

James Rodriguez

He may not be a household name in Britain but Colombia's 22-year-old playmaker is viewed as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Big-spending Monaco snapped him up last summer for 45million euros after three stellar seasons with Porto. Mouthwatering prospect.

Mateo Kovacic

Croatia's gifted 19-year-old shone brightly in qualifying for the World Cup, showing the talent that persuaded Inter Milan to buy him last season. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been linked with the young midfielder.

Juan Fernando Quintero

Viewed as one of the most coveted young players in Europe, and another in line of Colombians who have gone through Porto along with James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao. Only 21, but his size and style have led to comparisons with Lionel Messi.

Son Hueng-min

South Korean who plays as a support striker or attacking midfielder and has impressed in the Bundesliga first for Hamburg and then Bayer Leverkusen. Still only 21, he has almost a quarter of a century of international caps to his name.

Jefferson Montero

Ecuador's gifted left winger is another who has already sparked interest from European clubs, even before the World Cup. The 24-year-old plays in Mexico for Monarcas Morelia, and both Arsenal and Swansea have been linked with him.

Diego Reyes

Mexico's 21-year-old defender is already viewed as the best defender in the country, and a throw-back to the legendary Rafael Marquez. Already at Porto, great things are expected of him.

Andy Najar

Honduras' 21-year-old winger, who plays in Belgium for Anderlecht after moving from Major League Soccer's DC United. Tottenham have been reportedly interested but his agent has insisted he will not move clubs this summer.

Julian Green

An 18-year-old forward with Bayern Munich who has chosen to play for the USA despite having played for German youth sides. USA's coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been excited by his raw talent and is widely expected to include him in the World Cup squad. According to Arjen Robben, he's "quick, he's got very good dribbling and can score goals".

Miralem Pjanic

Has been a regular for Bosnia and Herzegovina since he was 18 - now he is 23 and closing fast on 50 caps. His play-making abilities persuaded Roma to sign him from French football and he starred as his country topped their World Cup qualifying group.

William Carvalho

One of the most-talked about young players in world football, Portugal's Angolan-born holding midfielder has attracted interest from Manchester United and Chelsea. The Sporting Lisbon player made his international debut in the play-off win over Sweden.