SportsPulse: Martin Rogers believes the World Cup group stage is filled with plenty of drama, potential Cinderella stories and star-studded matchups. So much so you’ll forget the U.S. isn’t in it.
USA TODAY Sports
The World Cup starts June 14, and although it is a team game, it’s the individuals who will make their marks in Russia.
USA TODAY Sports has assembled its list of the top 50 players for this year’s World Cup, factoring in impact, form and potential for success.
50. Leroy Sane, Germany
Second-most assists in the English Premier League, and a rising force for a new-look and stacked Germany team.
49. Igor Akinfeev, Russia
Veteran goalkeeper will need to have a big tournament if the host nation is to progress deep.
48. Mats Hummels, Germany
Don’t let that big, strong physique fool you, Hummels has plenty of style and guile to go with his strength.
47. Mario Mandzukic, Croatia
Frustrated at being used out of position by club side Juventus, will have more license in Russia.
46. Bernardo Silva, Portugal
His main duty will be to create chances for Cristiano…