Fabio Capello will be out to prove his 2010 disaster with the England national team was merely a blip when Russia face-off against the Korea Republic, but as many as five players taking to the field in Brazil could be dreaming of a move to the Premier League.
Russia will be out to impress ahead of their turn as hosts in 2018 while Korea Republic know that anything other than a win could see them on their way home before the tournament has got going.
For the players, meanwhile, a few star turns could see them heading to the greatest league in the world, with the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea tracking some of the players on show.
Alan Dzagoev – CSKA Moscow
Dzagoev was hot Premier League property after starring at Euro 2012 with Tottenham Hotspur among the sides thought to be chasing the midfielder’s signature at the time.
The 23-year-old opted to remain in Russia two years ago, but another impressive showing at a major tournament could see Dzagoev snapped up in the close season.
Son Heung-Min – Bayer Leverkusen
Korea Republic’s biggest goal threat is something of a mainstay in Germany, having previously spent three years at Hamburg where he managed an impressive 20 goals in 73 games, before moving to Leverkusen.
The good times have continued with Son has managing ten goals in 31 games, though a change of manager, coupled with a tempting post-World Cup offer could see the forward head for pastures new.
Georgi Shchennikov –CSKA Moscow
The young full back is set to play an important role for Russia and is already thought to be on Chelsea’s radar, with the Daily Express reporting that it could take a bid as little as £7 million to bring the player to Stamford Bridge.
With Ashley Cole jettisoned and Blues manager Joe Mourinho eager to continue the current overhaul of the Chelsea squad, a few dazzling displays in Brazil could pave the way for a bid.
Lee Chung-yong – Bolton Wanderers
At one time Lee was considered among the hottest transfer targets in the Premier League, with a whole host of clubs keen to recruit the midfielder after he starred in his debut season with the Trotters.
Bolton have suffered topl-flight relegation since and while Lee continues to be a consistent force Wanderers, he’s yet to be snapped up by any of the Premier League teams previously thought to be tracking his progress. That could change with a good World Cup.
Aleksandr Kokorin – Dynamo Moscow
Fresh from a breakthrough season in Russia, Kokorin looks set to lead the line for Fabio Capello’s team, having usurped Aleksandr Kerzahkov as the first choice forward for the national side.
A tally of 10 goals in 22 appearances goes some way to explaining that choice, while Dinamo Moscow are already bracing themselves for a bid, having inserted a €19 million release clause into the 23-year-old’s contract. Find the net in Brazil and Chelsea could soon come calling.