Top 10 - Ones to Watch - Part 1

Top 10 - Ones to Watch - Part 1

These guys have been pretty much undetected on the radar, but it’s more than likely you’ll know who they are by the end of this summer’s tournament in South Africa.

Either way, don’t say we didn’t warn you about:

10. Charlie Davies, Forward, USA

Born in New Hampshire, the young powerhouse can now be found in Europe, where he represents French Ligue 1 side Sochaux. Davies’ involvement in a serious car crash in October 2009, means he has spent most of his time since then in recovery, but he will be in South Africa come June, which will only serve to the benefit his country. If fit, Davies can show the opposition that there’s more to team USA than Donovan and Dempsey.

9. Milijove Novakovic, Forward, Slovenia

At 1.92 metres, this guy presents a daunting prospect for any defender. Coupled with the fact that he’s pretty useful with the ball at his feet, it’s not so surprising to know that he was Serbia’s top scorer in qualification. Currently playing in the Bundesliga for FC Koln, his strike rate of almost one goal every other game makes impressive reading, so England and the rest of group C must beware.

8. Jozy Altidore, Forward, USA

Fans of the English Premier League might know him from the time he’s spent on loan at Hull City. Some fans from Spain may know that he’s on the books at Villareal and was subsequently sent for a short loan spell with Xerez, but the Spanish majority will know him as the man who scored the first goal in the 2-0 victory for the USA over Spain in the Confederations Cup semi final, effectively ending Spain’s 15 match winning streak. The rest of the world should know who he is by the time the World Cup is over.

7. Katlego Mphela, Forward, South Africa

Mphela is another player who made a name for himself playing against Spain in the Confederations Cup. In what was a dour third-place match, Mphela’s introduction in the 65th minute was a rare bright note, as he promptly scored twice (including a delightful free kick from distance) to take the match into extra time. South Africa eventually lost that match but Mphela’s reputation continues to grow in stature and shows no signs of stopping.

6. Shinji Okazaki, Forward, Japan

2009 was a good year for Shinji Okazaki. The Japanese striker was declared the ‘world’s top goal scorer’ after netting 15 times for his country, more than any other international player. When Okazaki scores, Japan rarely lose, and with a strike rate of one in three at club level, we can be sure that this guy won’t need a second invitation to pull the trigger. He’s just 23, so can only get better, and if Nakamura can provide the quality of passes we’ve come to expect, Okazaki should thrive.

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