The group stages of this year’s Under-20 World Cup, which is being held in Turkey, have just finished. There has been some mesmerising talent on show, as well as plenty of goals, drama and extravagant celebrations. It is only right to look back upon the key players that shone the brightest, some out of the tournament and some still in it.
Armindo Tué Na Bangna (Bruma) – Portugal – 18
Born in Guinea-Bissau, he grew up and learnt his footballing education in Portugal. At the age of just 12, he joined the Sporting Lisbon setup and ever since has continued to develop. Last season, he made 13 appearances for the first-team and headed into the U20 World Cup high on confidence. Undoubtedly, Bruma was the shining light in Portugal’s Group B triumph. He scored five times (two braces), bagged a handful of assists and drew glowing remarks from commentators and spectators alike. Unfortunately, Portugal crashed out in the Last 16 but Bruma’s summer doesn’t end there; with the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid reportedly very keen on the 18-year-old. If he doesn’t move this summer, then it will be next.
Yaya Sanogo – France – 20
It’s been quite a past couple of weeks for the Frenchman, who has helped fire his country to the quarter-finals of the U20s and penned himself a spanking long-term deal with Premier League heavyweights Arsenal following substantial interest from manager Arsene Wenger. A gangly target man, Sanogo is a robust and powerful striker who has a fantastic goal record through all the age levels of the national team. His goals were important in France’s second-place finish in Group A and on Tuesday night, he scored the third of the team’s 4-1 win over Turkey in the Last 16. France face surprise package Uzbekistan in the quarters on the weekend, and Sanogo will be firmly expected to deliver once more. The pressure will be on. For him, though, that won’t matter.
Bryan Rabello – Chile – 19
Chile have been consistently high so far in the competition and that is due in no small part to little attacking midfielder Bryan Rabello, who has been at the fulcrum of their attacking play. Just starting to find his feet with his club Sevilla, for whom he made his debut for in December last year, Rabello should feature more prominently next campaign. He already has two senior caps and will look to build on that, gaining confidence from his dominant displays for the U20s. Chile play Ghana in the quarter-finals on Sunday evening.