Five to watch
While all the buzz at the FIFA U-20 World Cup is about Juan Fernando Quintero and the goals continue to fly in for Jese Rodriguez, Adam Bate picks out five lesser-known stars who impressed during his time with Sky Sports in Turkey.
By Adam Bate - Follow @GhostGoal
Last Updated: 06/07/13 12:19pm
Cesar Fuentes (Chile)
The Chilean did not come into the tournament boasting quite the reputation of some of the European-based players in Mario Salas' squad but the versatile 20-year-old has arguably outshone them all in his own assured way.
The O'Higgins player made an impression in a midfield role against England, spraying cross-field passes to the wide-men and using his fine positional sense to control the contest from the centre of the park. But against Iraq in the very next group game, Fuentes showed that he also possessed good energy and tackling ability as he powered forward from right-back to showcase his crossing too.
In a tournament that features a host of players in possession of raw talent but looking far from the finished article, Fuentes stood out as a footballer in command of all aspects of the game and looks ripe for a move away from his homeland.
Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Uruguay)
Roma striker Nico Lopez is among the top scorers at this year's Under-20 World Cup but his success has owed much to the intelligent supply of Uruguay's No.10 Giorgian de Arrascaeta. Dropping off into the hole, the 19-year-old has shown brilliant awareness throughout the tournament and his classy reverse pass to set up Lopez against Uzbekistan was typical.
As well as an unselfish maturity in possession, the Defensor Sporting forward also boasts the physical attributes needed in order to succeed. His pace is allied with a Sergio Aguero-like body strength that is unusual for a player of his diminutive size and should serve him well in the senior game.
With two goals so far in the tournament, De Arrascaeta appears to have fended off the competition for his place from PSV's Ruben Bentancourt and Southampton target Gonzalo Bueno. And while the Uruguay senior side is blessed with world-class forward talent too, this is a player with the potential to ensure that a country with a population of little over three million continues to punch above its weight in the world of football.
Humam Tariq (Iraq)
Iraq have impressed many with their performances at the Under-20 World Cup and in Humam Tariq they possess a player surely destined for bigger things. At just 17-years-old, Tariq is one of the youngest players in the competition and his enthusiastic pressing has been a feature of his side's journey to the knockout stages.
But Tariq is far more than just a busy player. Reminiscent of David Silva, he has fantastic close control and is an intelligent user of the ball. While he is a tidy footballer rather than an explosive one, his short-passing style would appear to lend itself to success at the highest level.
There is more to come from Tariq in terms of goal threat and killer passes but with a regular place in the Iraq senior team already secured and the prospect of a move to Europe later in the summer, there is every chance his vast potential could be realised in the coming years.
Sardor Sabirkhodjaev (Uzbekistan)
Uzbekistan have been the surprise package of the Under-20 World Cup after progressing from a group that included Croatia and Uruguay before stunning Greece in the knockout stages. Abbosbek Makhstaliev has grabbed the headlines with his goalscoring feats but the quiet efficiency of Sardor Sabirkhodjaev has also caught the eye.
The attacking midfielder is remarkably composed on the ball and his brand of one and two-touch football helps bring others into play. Driving runs are not Sabirkhodjaev's forte but his languid movement to find space is equally effective and he has shown a real subtlety to his game in Turkey.
Although physically strong, there is work to do before the 18-year-old can adapt to senior football and the manner in which his head dropped in the 4-0 defeat to Uruguay was alarming. However, there is plenty of quality there to work with and he can expect to play a big part at full international level for an Uzbekistan side that is an emerging force in Asian football.
Nicolas Maturana (Chile)
There is a tendency when watching youth football to have the eye drawn to the more physically-imposing players. And yet, the danger is that their assets will be neutralised in the world of bruising strikers and powerhouse midfielders. Of course, smaller players are even more likely to be swamped in the senior game but when they are as gifted as Nicolas Maturana then hopes remain high.
At just 5'4", the Chile No.10 can be bullied off the ball but blessed with a fine first touch and sublime skills, he is often able to sway away from his marker with ease. Comfortable in the hole or on the flanks, the Universidad de Chile youngster is at his best with his head down and dribbling into space but also has good crossing ability and an awareness to feed the ball to the striker's feet.
Several of Maturana's team-mates in the Under-20 squad are already pursuing their career in Europe but the 19-year-old has some growing up in mind and body before the big clubs come calling. However, if he can continue his development at club level and make the necessary physical improvements then there is every chance that Maturana could yet emerge as the top-class performer in a gifted Chile squad.