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Young and brilliant: Here are five top U-25 players in Fifa World Cup 2018

Harry Kane has been among the elite players in world football for so many years and he is not even 25

Chirinjibi Thapa 

Henry and Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe with the Legend Henry

Fans from across the world and scouts of top teams follow the Fifa World Cup not just because of the importance of the tournament but also because they are on the look-out for the next big thing. Young players use the tournament as a stage, the greatest in the world, to showcase their worth and maybe earn a transfer to top clubs.

Cue: Colombian player James Rodriguez's transfer to Real Madrid after winning the Golden Boot in Fifa World Cup 2014.
Some other young players who achieved World Cup fame are: Michael Owen in 1998, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller in 2010, Lukas Podolski in 2006 and Xherdan Shaqiri in 2014 among others.

ALSO READ: Here are the top scorers of Fifa World Cup 2018 for Golden Boot standings

With 54 of the 64 matches already out of the way, here's a look at the players under the age of 25 who have dazzled in Russia.

1) (24): The England captain has been among the elite players in world football for so many years and he is not even 25! Kane has carried his goal-scoring form into the World Cup, and climbed to the top of the list of top goal scorers with five goals in two matches.

Fifa World Cup 2018 England vs Panama: Baloy goal after Kane hattrick; 6-1

Led by Kane, England had a cake-walk of a group-stage as it scored at will and advanced to the Round of 16, despite losing 0-1 to Belgium, in a game where many regulars were rested. The prolific goalscorer won the Premier League Golden Boot in succession, in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Even in 2017-18, he narrowly missed out the prize to Mohammed Salah who scored 32 compared to Kane's 30 after suffering an ankle injury. With Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and even Mohammed Salah out of the cup, Kane would relish his chances of winning the Golden Boot this World Cup apart from bringing 'it' home, of course.

Kane in (in numbers): Matches: 2, Minutes: 153, Goals: 5

2) (19): The followers of club football must be familiar with this teenage sensation. But, French wonderkid has truly announced himself on the global stage in this World Cup.

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He has scored three goals in four games, including a brace to send Argentina and Lionel Messi out of the World Cup. His explosive pace and decision-making has been much talked about. But so has been his age, 19. Not that it bothers him.

Mbappe gets a penalty for France

"Youth is an excuse without being an excuse. I don't like to talk about our age. Either you can, or you cannot," Mbappe says. How many 19-year-olds can say that? But then again, how many 19-year-olds can outshine Lionel Messi in a World Cup match?

Mbappe in (in numbers): Matches: 4, Goals: 3, Man of match awards: 2

3) (22): They know him in the Americas. But the world came to know about Hirving Lozano's quality when he finished off a beautiful team move past Manuel Neuer in the group game against Germany.

Mexico scores

Lozano's strike was the solo goal of the match. He starred again in the next match against South Korea and provided an assist for a Javier Hernandez goal. His speedy runs down the left wing gave Mexicans a reason to dream. But it's not just the World Cup where he has shone. In fact, he has scored 19 goals in his debut season for PSV Eindhoven. Unsurprisingly, Lozano is being tracked by many top clubs, including Barcelona. His performances in the World Cup will only increase his value.

Lozano in (in numbers): Matches: 4, Goals: 1, Assists: 1

4) (23): first came in news when he signed for Spanish giants FC Barcelona. The next time, when he was bare-footed during his presentation and did a little celebratory dance. His time with the Spanish club hasn't been all rosy though and he has struggled for game time and his form hasn't been very convincing.

(Photo: Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

There were rumours he might be out of Barcelona within half a season. But in the World Cup, Mina has shown what he can do. In the two matches he has played, the Colombian scored twice and kept a clean sheet on both occasions, thus emerging as a vital player for Jose Pekerman's team. After these performances, even if he were to leave Barcelona, he won't come cheap.

Mina in Fifa World Cup 2018 (in numbers): Matches: 2, Goals: 2, Clean-sheets: 2

5) (24): has been solid at the back and productive in front of the goal in the current edition of the World Cup. He has started all three of England's games. He has won 88 per cent of his tackles and produced 17 interceptions. He has also scored two goals, both from headers.

Young, wild and on spree: Five topmost U-25 players in Fifa World Cup 2018

As if that wasn't enough, playing under Pep Guardiola seems to have done him better. His pass completion rate in the 2018 World Cup stands at 95 per cent. Stones has slotted nicely in the middle of a back three while being flanked by Walker on the right and Harry Maguire on the left.

Stones in Fifa World Cup 2018 (in numbers): Matches: 3, Goals: 2, Interceptions: 17

First Published: Tue, July 03 2018. 10:03 IST