World Cup - Three midfielders who have exceeded expectations so far

Fifa World Cup Brazil

Now that all 32 teams have played it's time to take a look at three lesser-known midfielders who have impressed so far at this summer's World Cup.

1. Jorge Valdivia - Chile

The 30-year-old playmaker helped see Chile beat Australia 3-1 in their Group B opener with a fine display that also saw him find the net for Chile's second. Alexis Sanchez stole the headlines but Valdivia was lively and created chances for those around him with his quick feet and accurate passing.

He will hope to build on their first win when they take on Spain in a crucial clash tonight and the Palmeiras man will want to find the pockets of space in between the Spanish defence as Arjen Robben did so successfully in the opener.

2. Mathieu Valbuena - France

Valbuena is a more familiar name but he is certainly not seen as the star in Les Bleus team, although he performed above expectations in their 3-0 win against Honduras as was a constant threat. The 29-year-old completed 85% of his passes and made several dangerous runs at the Honduran defence, opening up space for his teammates.

  TeamPosTotal Scoring AttTouchesWon ContestTotal PassAppsMins
Mathieu Valbuena France MF 3 85 2 62 1 78

France got off to the perfect start and look like a team once again after the disappointment four years ago, and if Valbuena performs to the same level against Switzerland they'll stand a very good chance of making it two from two. 

3. Kyle Beckerman - USA

The 32-year-old was sensational his first ever World Cup appearance in the USA's 2-1 win against Ghana and hardly put a foot wrong. His positioning was perfect throughout and he made sure that the Ghanaian midfield stayed quiet. The Real Salt Lake captain made three tackles and three clearances to help his side battle for a vital three points against the Black Stars.

Beckerman will need to perform just as well in the USA's clash with Portugal on Sunday if the American's are to have a chance of getting a result against a Portugal side looking to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat to Germany.

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