While superstars Neymar and Messi disappointed in their opening performances at the Fifa World Cup soccer tournament in Russia, new faces have caught the eye – yes, we are talking about their looks. Skills? That's not our key consideration.
Here are seven players we have identified from the 32 competing nations.
1. Roman Bürki of Switzerland (Aged 27, six foot two)
Every child has the right to play and grow up safe. I am happy to announce that I will do my part and support @tdh_ch as their new ambassador! #tdh #terredeshommes #childrelief #helpingchildrenworldwide
A post shared by Roman Bürki (@rbuerki) on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:40am PDT
With nearly 600,000 Instagram followers, the Switzerland goalkeeper went to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but had to wait months later to make his international debut. The 27-year-old, who plays for German club Borussia Dortmund, is still a backup keeper, but he has our support.
2. Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti of Morocco (aged 22, six foot one)
A post shared by Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti (@reda_tagnaouti) on Nov 14, 2017 at 9:23am PST
The youngest player in the Morocco team is out on loan at Ittihad Tanger, from Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca. Why do backup goalkeepers at this tournament look so good?
3. Yoshinori Muto of Japan (Aged 25, five foot 10)
A post shared by Yoshinori Muto 武藤嘉紀 (@yoshinori_muto_09) on May 10, 2018 at 8:41am PDT
Japan, one of five Asian qualifiers, surprised fans by beating Colombia 2-1 in the first round. Even though striker Muto, who plays for FSV Mainz 05 in the German Bundesliga, missed the opener we can’t wait for his first World Cup goal.
4. Radamel Falcao of Colombia (Aged 32, five foot 10)
#Repost @falcao: Vamos a defender esta camiseta con el % de nuestras fuerzas, energías y capacidad. // we are going to fight for this colors with all our energy, strength and ability. #falcao #radamelfalcao #seleccioncolombia #asmonaco #tigre #mundial2018 #mundial #09
A post shared by Fans De Falcao García (@falcaogarciaoficial) on Jun 13, 2018 at 7:52pm PDT
Falcao was missed the last World Cup because of a knee injury. The Monaco-based striker is not holding back this time and looks even sharper with short hair rather than his flowing long locks.
5. Rodney Wallace of Costa Rica (Aged 30, five foot 11)
A post shared by Rodney Wallace (@rodwall22) on Dec 5, 2015 at 1:07pm PST
Wallace has spent most of his professional career in the United States after moving there at the age of nine. Now playing for New York City, the father of a daughter has finally realised his World Cup dream. It’s never too late.
6. Julian Brandt of Germany (Aged 22, six foot)
The Bayer Leverkusen winger made his World Cup debut as the world champions started their defence in the worst possible manner – losing 1-0 to Mexico. Brandt’s highlight in the second half came when he hit the post. He was also rose to stardom after taking a selfie with a fan after the match.
7. Birkir Bjarnason of Iceland (Aged 30, six foot)
The Aston Villa central midfielder, nicknamed “Iceland’s Thor” for his impressive physique and golden hair, was one of the stand-outs as Iceland heroically held one of the pre-tournament favourites Lionel Messi’s Argentina in their opening game. Iceland, with a population of only 300,000, were the surprise package of the 2016 European championships, beating England on their way to the quarter-finals, and threaten to do the same in Russia.