5. Kalidou Koulibaly
One of – if not – the most desired centre backs in the game this summer. Napoli’s Koulibably has been linked with everyone who’s seeking to improve their defensive unit from Barcelona to Chelsea, but Senegal fans will be happy to know they don’t have to stress over whether or not he will play for them. He is the world class rock their team is built on.
4. Radamel Falcao García Zárate
One of the bigger shames of the World Cup in 2014 was El Tigre missing out on the event all together due to a torn ACL. Colombia went on to make waves in Brazil thanks to the emergence of James Rodriquez, but who knows the damage they would have caused if Falcao was present. The two failed years in England following that World Cup are now firmly behind Falcao who has enjoyed a renaissance since returning to Monaco. Here’s to hoping he has enough left in his tank to make a big impact.
3. Saido Mané
Since becoming a Liverpool player Mane has done pretty much everything one could do to prove his capabilities at the highest level. This season in particular saw the Senegalese star save his best performances for the Champions League and that bodes well for his nation. Mane isn’t phased by the big moments and Senegal will need him to deliver if they are to cause an upset in Group H.
2. James David Rodríguez Rubio
As mentioned earlier James emergence at the 2014 World Cup as a difference maker for Colombia was a spectacle to behold. At 22 years old the former Porto man stepped into the Falcao sized hole in the Colombian team and produced one of the finer performances of the entire tournament. That World Cup resulted in a big money move to Real Madrid for James, but having now moved on to Bayern Munich the Colombian ace will be looking to replicate his previous heroics. Anything less than a repeat of the tricks from 2014 will go down as a shame.
1. Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowksi pips his Bayern teammate to top spot in this group. Three consecutive 40 goal seasons sees the Polish ace arrive in Russia as arguably the best centre forward in the game right now. Speculation suggests that after the World Cup he will be seeking a new challenge at club level, but for now the mission for Robert is clear. Score the goals that propel Poland into the knockout stage of the World Cup. This is a Polish team that can spring a surprise, but one thing is for sure. If they do spring a surprise it will be on the back of Lewandowski’s performances.