galleryTitle description galleryUrl thumbnail
Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 23-Mar. 2 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-24-march-2-football-soccer-players-teams-022414 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/24/022414-Rumor-Mill-GUNDO-GONE-DG-PI_20140224164223176_136_102.JPG
Americans Abroad - Feb. 21-23 Review the top Americans that can take their talents overseas this year. /foxsoccer/usa/lists/americans-abroad-feb-21-23-performances-players-overseas-022314 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/23/022314-SOCCE-forget-me-not-PI_2014022319021849_136_102.JPG
FOX Soccer Power Rankings - Feb. 21-28 FOX Soccer Power Rankings: Paris Saint-Germain return to top five after crushing Champions League win /foxsoccer/world/lists/power-rankings-february-21-28-paris-saint-germain-return-to-top-five-after-crushing-win-022114 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/21/drasticjump-pi_20140221180930519_136_102.JPG
Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 17-23 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-17-23-football-soccer-players-teams-021714 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/17/021714-SOCCER-Shock-Waves-HF-PI_20140217182428996_136_102.JPG
categoryName categoryId galleryId galleryTitle mediaId imageTitle imageURL league description shortDescription attribution large thumbnail
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805000 Opening acts Opening+acts World

The Confederations Cup kicks off this Saturday in Brasilia, an eight-team contest that serves as the “dry run” for next year’s 2014 World Cup in Brazil. While this is a minor tournament by global standards, the hosts are taking it with the utmost seriousness, and many teams are sending full-strength squads.

 

Brazil are the favorites, but keep an eye on Spain and Mexico, both of whom have something to prove. Love an underdog? Root for wee Tahiti, a group of semi-pros who are here in the most improbable fashion. Here are ten stars to keep an eye over the next three weeks:
 

-Jamie Trecker

Friedemann Vogel - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G1_201306130024151_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G1_201306130024151_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805001 Neymar Neymar World

There’s a lot of pressure on Brazil to deliver a trophy, and Neymar is at the heart of the matter. The superstar will move from Santos to Barcelona this fall to team up with Lionel Messi, but at home his strike partner is less clear.

 

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s dilemma has been that the natural fit, Hulk, doesn’t appear to mesh well with this young creator. No one doubts Neymar’s skill set, but plenty doubt if he is mature enough to lead this team to glory.

Vanessa Carvalho/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G2_201306130025003_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G2_201306130025003_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805002 Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez Javier+%26quot%3BChicharito%26quot%3B+Hernandez World

Is there a team in a deeper slump than Mexico? Favored to steamroll through CONCACAF's World Cup qualifying Hexagonal round, they have instead played a series of insipid draws, racking up only one win in their campaign. Chants of “Fire Chepo” reverberated off the walls of the Azteca Tuesday, meaning that El Tri is under heavy pressure to produce in Brazil.

 

The man that will shoulder the load? "Chicharito," who is also eager to prove he still belongs in a red uniform in Manchester. If this poacher gets hot, Mexico can make run. Lately, he’s not been too hot.

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G3_201306130025205_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G3_201306130025205_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805003 Mario Balotelli Mario+Balotelli World

Italy’s problem child is also one of the top raw talents in the game. When he wants to show up, he’s one of the best strikers in the world. Unfortunately, he too often gets sidetracked by his emotions.

 

The tournament is a real test: Italy isn’t likely to take it all that seriously. Will Super Mario play to the level of the occasion – or will he remind everyone in Manchester what they are missing?

Claudio Villa - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G4_201306130025387_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G4_201306130025387_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805008 Luis Suarez Luis+Suarez World

The madman or the unfairly maligned? Even Liverpool diehards are chewing that over after a summer that has seen Suarez hint, and not very delicately, that he’s like to be on his way to Real Madrid, please.

 

No one doubts Suarez’ talent – but many do doubt if the man’s got a lick of common sense. He’s one strange and dirty foul away from controversy, yet he is Uruguay’s most important player right now.

MIGUEL ROJO/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G9_2013061300273717_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G9_2013061300273717_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805004 Shinji Kagawa Shinji+Kagawa World

Kagawa was one of the break-out players for United in their title-winning campaign. Silky and possessed, the midfielder proved his worth at Borussia Dortmund before showing off a nose for goal in England’s north. He’s a deft passer and good off the ball to boot – leading many to think he’s Manchester United’s next big thing.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G5_201306130026019_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G5_201306130026019_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805005 Efe Ambrose Efe+Ambrose World

Nigeria is taking an unusually young squad to the Confederation Cup, but any doubter of manager Stephen Keshi have long since been silenced by the Super Eagles’ thunderous show in the African Nations Cup.

 

The Celtic defender is one of those young standouts: he shone in the Scots’ unlikely Champions League run last year and is being courted by bigger sides across the continent. He can be rash in his tackling – and Neil Lennon has suggested he’s a bit of a mess – but he’s tough defender to beat.

Steve Haag - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G6_2013061300264011_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G6_2013061300264011_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805006 Juan Mata Juan+Mata World

The classy Mata was the stabilizing factor for a Chelsea side that at times seemed in disarray. Clever up top and gifted with a vision that is second to none, he helped get Fernando Torres back into goal-scoring form and led his side to the Europa League title. Would have been player of the year had it not been for Gareth Bale’s act across at Tottenham. A big show here will seal his place atop the Spanish line.

PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G7_2013061300265813_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G7_2013061300265813_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805007 Marama Vahirua Marama+Vahirua World

Who? What? Vahirua is not a household name, nor is ever likely to be. He is, however, the only full-time professional player on tiny Tahiti, which made the Confederations Cup in stunning fashion. Tahiti will be lucky to score a goal in Brazil, but if they do, don’t be shocked if it comes off Vahirua’s boots. He, alone on this team, has a semblance of big-game experience.

BOISSY/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G8_2013061300271815_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G8_2013061300271815_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31805009 Hulk Hulk World

Another big man rumored to be moving to London soon, Hulk has been long-coveted in England for his finishing, his bull-headedness and his sheer mass. He has the talent and the power, but so far, he has not fit in well with Neymar on Brazil’s line. That’s a problem Felipe Scolari must sort out and soon. This tournament would be a fine place to start.

AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRK - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G10_2013061300275319_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061213-SOCCER-Players-to-Watch-LA-G10_2013061300275319_107_80.JPG
World 2018 43 Players to watch during the 2013 Confederations Cup 31810366 Andres Iniesta Andres+Iniesta World

It was a mixed year for Iniesta: he started off winning the Euros in Kiev and then saw his club team Barcelona collapse in epic fashion to Bayern Munich as the Germans steamrolled their way to the European Cup. He’s one of the game’s true greats, but he starting to show signs of real fatigue. It will be intriguing to see just how seriously he and his Spanish teammates take this challenge.

Robert Mayer - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061313-Soccer-Andres-Iniesta_20130613150756181_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/06/13/061313-Soccer-Andres-Iniesta_20130613150756181_107_80.JPG
EndCap Fox Sports Video and Photo Gallery
thumbnail galleryTitle shortDescription longDescription blurb galUpdated pageNumber totalPages galleryUrl
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/24/022414-Rumor-Mill-GUNDO-GONE-DG-PI_20140224164223176_136_102.JPG Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 23-Mar. 2 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds... Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. Robin van Persie's rumored return to Arsenal would be beyond controversial in many ways. Feb 26, 2014 8:47 AM ET 1 29 /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-24-march-2-football-soccer-players-teams-022414
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/23/022314-SOCCE-forget-me-not-PI_2014022319021849_136_102.JPG Americans Abroad - Feb. 21-23 Review the top Americans that can take their... Review the top Americans that can take their talents overseas this year. Familiar faces may rejoin United States men's national team conversation. Feb 25, 2014 2:41 AM ET 1 29 /foxsoccer/usa/lists/americans-abroad-feb-21-23-performances-players-overseas-022314
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/21/drasticjump-pi_20140221180930519_136_102.JPG FOX Soccer Power Rankings - Feb. 21-28 FOX Soccer Power Rankings: Paris Saint-Germai... FOX Soccer Power Rankings: Paris Saint-Germain return to top five after crushing Champions League win Giant thumping brings Ibrahimovic and Co. back to our top ten list. Feb 22, 2014 1:50 PM ET 1 29 /foxsoccer/world/lists/power-rankings-february-21-28-paris-saint-germain-return-to-top-five-after-crushing-win-022114
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2014/02/17/021714-SOCCER-Shock-Waves-HF-PI_20140217182428996_136_102.JPG Top football/soccer transfer rumors - Feb. 17-23 Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds... Check out the latest rumors doing the rounds throughout world football. Robin van Persie's rumored return to Arsenal would be beyond controversial in many ways. Feb 20, 2014 10:42 AM ET 1 29 /foxsoccer/world/lists/transfer-rumors-february-17-23-football-soccer-players-teams-021714