There’s nothing like a World Cup for giving the game’s leading lights a thorough lip servicing and Brazil 2014 has been little different.
Songs of praise for Andrea Pirlo and Robin van Persie have already reached rhapsodic proportions, but here at news.bwin.com/en/ we’ve a hunch our readers haven’t got the time to be told what they already know.
With this in mind we’ve (low) profiled five less celebrated stars who shone to minimal resultant fanfare across the first round of group-stage games.
Ricardo Rodriguez, left-back, Wolfsburg and Switzerland
Rumoured to be Liverpool’s main alternative to Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno, RicRod carried on exactly where he left off after a rampant five-goal, nine-assist Bundesliga campaign.
The 21-year-old laid on both strikes for his side’s comeback win against Ecuador with pin-point deliveries from the left.
A few more performances like that and the Anfield transfer moguls will be switching their focus from the bench-bound La Roja man to the flying Swiss.
Juan Cuadrado, right-forward, Fiorentina and Colombia
That Los Cafeteros were able to dismantle unparalleled dons of pragmatism Greece owed much to the versatile 26-year-old, who created two of their three goals.
Including a sublime little back heel to play in James Rodriguez, the Arsenal target’s 39 passes achieved a stellar 92 per cent rate of completion.
Ivan Perisic, left-winger, Wolfsburg and Croatia
Dodgy decisions and Neymar shared top billing in the post-match gas bagging after Vatreni’s opening game against Brazil, but Perisic’s buccaneering exploitation of the space behind the full-backs was a joy to watch.
No wonder Everton have already opened talks with a view to signing the £8m man, who is 7/4 to net at any time against Cameroon this evening.
Matteo Darmian, right-back, Torino and Italy
Leighton Baines could well still be having nightmares about the Italian second-choice right full-back’s Cafuesque tearing up and down the touchline.
Jorge Valdivia, Palmeiras and Chile
In a tournament where many sides have been crying out for a creative number ten with a homing instinct for space between the midfield and defensive lines, Valdivia’s star turn against Australia was a joy to behold.