The FIFA World Cup is almost upon us, as Sportzwiki runs down the top five Asian players who will grace the grandest stage of them all. All eyes from the second largest continent will be on these star players, as they will look to etch their name in World Cup lore.
- SHINJI KAGAWA (Japan)
The Manchester United star would look to take Japan beyond the quarter-finals for the first time, as they face an tricky group with dark horses Colombia and Ivory Coast along with plucky Greece. Kagawa had an underwhelming season at Old Trafford, and would look to silence his critics with his performances on the pitch. He is at the peak of his powers at 24, and is his nation’s chief inspirator.
- HEUNG-MIN SON (South Korea)
Bayer Leverkusen’s Son is another of the brighter Asian talents carving a niche in the glitzy lights of European football. The young striker has taken the German Bundesliga by storm, leading his club to the Champions League in the process. Son will look to impress in Brazil, probably in hopes of getting a ticket to the big leagues. He will be South Korea chief attacking weapon.
- ATSUTO UCHIDA (Japan)
The full-back with childish looks and impressions is a star in Japan’s line-up. He has been an ever present in the Schalke back four, and has Champions League experience to his credit as well. With Yuto Nagamoto on the other flank, Japan’s full-backs suddenly look impressive and should Japan progress far and deep into the competition, it would very much be for the likes of Uchida.
- JAVAD NEKOUNAM (Iran)
Iran finally qualified after a humdinger of a qualifying campaign, and coach Carlos Queiroz hasn’t kept his admiration for Nekounam a secret. Iran’s oldest and most experienced player by a mile, Nekounam is well known for his stint in Spain’s Primera Liga. This could be his last World Cup, and he would be desperate to make it a happy swansong.
- KEISUKE HONDA (Japan)
Another Japanese gets into Asia’s top five, and it is AC Milan’s Honda who props up the list. Having had an ordinary season with CSKA Moscow and then with Milan after joining in January, Honda almost always seems to be a different player whenever he dons that blue of Japan. Honda had a World Cup to remember four years ago in South Africa, and would look to repeat and improve on his feats this time around.