Having made a name for himself in Serie A, Hamsik is already relatively well known in some football circles. For the majority, though, he is an unknown quantity. The most important player in his Napoli team and the Slovakia national side, the closes comparison to Marek Hamsik was the young Michael Essien. Essien has changed since he has moved to Chelsea, becoming far more defensive, but at Lyon he was, like Hamsik is now, a box to box midfielder capable of last ditch tackles at one end and stunning strikes at the other. Only 22 years old, Hamsik has already been linked with Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid. A move to a big club is going to happen, this summer or next.
Another one who is whipping up a storm in Italy with Udinese Sanchez is another name in the long history of South American creative starlets. He shares the creative responsibilities for Chile with Matias Fernandez but also has a habit of scoring important goals. He has 12 goals to his name in only 28 appearances. Only 21 years old he has been in Serie A for two seasons and has impressed Udinese fans since day one. He has been influential in title winning sides in Argentina and Chile and will be looking to push dark horses Chile into the latter stages of this tournament. Chile are a team with a good chance of progressing far in the tournament, surprising many, but much of this is dependant on Alexis Sanchez continuing his good form.
A successful, although not extraordinary, debut season at Lille. He scored 11 goals in 22 matches but when it mattered it was team mates Alain-Frau and Eden Hazard who stole the headlines leading to accusations that Gervinho was not a player for the pressure moments. The accusation is a little unfair. Gervinho is 23 years old but any Lille fan will agree that he is still maturing. A late bloomer, with an abundance of talent, Gervinho has a chance to shine at this tournament because Didier Drogba, with his elbow injury, is unlikely to play all the minutes. Neither is Drogba likely to be as threatening as the Ivory Coast fans might wish. This is Gervinho’s opportunity. Tottenham are rumoured to be interested in signing him, should Gervinho perform like he can then even bigger clubs will be calling.