The best players in the World Cup Group A includes Liverpool legends Luiz Suarez and Mohamed Salah, West Ham target Fedor Smolov and Manchester United target Aleksandr Golovin.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is very much around the corner, with 32 countries and 736 players across the seven continents ready to battle it out for the biggest prize available in football.
In what will be a full month of action, fans of the round-leather game will be treated to 48 group matches, eight round-of-16 games, four quarter finals, two semi finals and a grand finale.
Hosts Russia have been drawn alongside Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay in Group A, and while many talents and stars are expected to emerge from the tournament, here are the seven best players in the group heading into the competition.
The 22-year-old CSKA Moscow midfielder is reportedly on Manchester United’s radar, with the Red Devils looking to sign him before the World Cup ends, as they fear competition for his signature could become fierce in the coming weeks.
The youngster is Russia’s go-to-guy in the middle of the park, and after impressing for the hosts during last year’s Confederations Cup, the 17-cap star will look to take his country far in the tournament.
Golovin finished the 2017-18 campaign with an impressive seven goals and four assists in 43 games for CSKA, helping his side to a second-place finish in the Russian Premier League.
The 32-year-old Atletico Madrid centre-back and Uruguay’s captain brings a lot of experience to the table, having played 116 games for the South American giants and 531 games for four clubs.
The La Liga winning defensive stalwart is without a doubt one of the best stoppers in the game, and after leading Rojiblancos to Europa League glory last term, Godin will hope to take one of the World Cup’s dark horses all the way to the final after helping them reach the semi finals in 2010.
The Chelsea-target remains a nightmare to any defence in the world, and after banging in 40 goals across all competitions for PSG last term to take his place at the top of the Ligue 1 giants’ all-time highest goalscorer list, the 31-year-old is heading to Russia in the finest of form.
Cavani has 42 goals in 100 games for Uruguay, and with everything to play for at the World Cup, the former Napoli star could end up attracting suitors again with a stellar campaign.
West Ham United were keen on the 28-year-old Krasnodar star during the January transfer window, and their scouts and a host of others will surely be running the rule over Russia’s best striker during the World Cup.
Smolov ended the last campaign with 14 goals and six assists in 24 games for his side as they finished fourth in the Russian Premier League.
The hosts’ chances of beating favorites Egypt and Uruguay to one of the two last-16 places in Group A hangs on Smolov, and should he successfully get the job done in front of goal, he could be on his way to the Premier League next season.
Two-time World Cup winners Uruguay have arguably the best two-man striking partnership on the planet in Cavani and the Barcelona star.
The Liverpool legend scored 31 goals and assisted 15 others for the La Liga giants last term, and with 50 goals in 97 appearances for country, the onus is on Suarez to lead his nation to glory in Russia.
They came close in South Africa and can go one better this time around.
Saudi Arabia are 67th on the latest FIFA Ranking – the lowest of all the 32 teams in the World Cup, but in the 31-year-old striker, who has 26 goals in 33 games for country, they have a star – an unknown entity to the rest of the world.
Al-Sahlawi trained with Manchester United for three weeks in April in order to help him prepare for Russia, and with 102 goals in 174 Saudi Professional League games for Al-Nassr to his name, he is definitely one to watch out for when the tournament kicks off next Thursday.
Egypt are currently sweating over the fitness of the 25-year-old Liverpool forward, who has 33 goals in 57 caps, following the shoulder injury he sustained during the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Salah was key to the North Africans qualifying for a first World Cup finals since 1990, and after ending last campaign with 43 goals and 14 assists in 50 games for the Reds, all eyes will be on him in Russia.
With the former Roma star fit, Egypt have a greater chance of going far, and Salah will be looking forward to announcing himself to the world on the grandest stage.