The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off this Sunday with the game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador. Among the many former participants in the Tournament, several will be closely followed.
There will be 82 of them. 82 players who have been through the Maurice Revello Tournament will be playing in Qatar at the 2022 World Cup. That's one more than in 2018, and it shows once again how important the Tournament is as a real career booster.
Among these 82 players, we have chosen ten to follow in particular. In addition to their qualities, they all have in common that they are playing in their first World Cup.
The gifted Brazilian winger is no longer in need of introduction as he has been impressing for nearly two years. Having arrived at Manchester United last summer after a sparkling season with Ajax, Antony is a dynamo that defences in Group F will fear. The 2019 Maurice Revello Tournament winner, who has been installed in the starting line-up by Erik Ten Hag at the Red Devils, will certainly not play as a starter given the abundance of attacking talent in the Seleção, but he should have a wildcard role that suits him well. His dribbling and acceleration can be a strong argument at the end of the games.
Jonathan David (Canada)
Alongside Alphonso Davies, he will be the main asset of the Canadian team, back in the World Cup after a last participation in 1986. The LOSC striker, who has scored nine goals in Ligue 1 this season, is full of confidence and arrives in Qatar as a starter. A key figure in Canada's qualification (9 goals in 18 games), the man who played in the 2018 Tournament has all the qualities needed to hurt defences: power, skill in front of goal, intelligence in the game, and touch of the ball. A complete player that we can't wait to follow.
Conor Gallagher (England)
After a successful loan spell at Crystal Palace last season, the midfielder has returned to Chelsea with a new status. While the start to the season has not been as successful as hoped, the 2019 Tournament participant has found his form and playing time since Graham Potter took over the Blues bench. The 22-year-old Gallagher will face stiff competition in England's midfield, but will have a lot to play for as a creative player with a good shot on goal.
Adrien Rabiot (France)
What if it was finally his time? The midfielder, who has often been criticised for his inconsistency, finally seems to be blossoming with Juventus this season. He has already scored five goals in all competitions. In the absence of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kanté in midfield, the PSG-trained player is expected to take over and become an integral part of the French team at the World Cup. His technical touch and ability to project are significant assets that Didier Deschamps will certainly rely on.
Kaoru Mitoma (Japan)
The attacking midfielder arrives with confidence. Brought back into the fold by the arrival of Roberto de Zerbi on the Brighton bench, the Japanese player has continued to perform at a very high level, scoring two goals in the last two games. At 25 years old, the finalist of the 2019 Maurice Revello Tournament has only 9 caps but will have a big role to play in a Japanese team armed to aim for qualification despite a very difficult group (Germany, Spain, Costa Rica). And to do so, they will be counting on their elegant and powerful midfielder.
Uriel Antuna (Mexico)
The Cruz Azul winger represents both the present and the future of the Mexican team. At 25 years of age, the 2018 Tournament runner-up has not always lived up to expectations, but his qualities are still there: speed, ability to eliminate, percussion... Behind Raul Jimenez, Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega, who should be the starters in the Mexican attacking sector, Antuna will have his say.
Vitinha was promised the bench and hard times when he made the decision to leave FC Porto to join PSG last summer. This was not the case. Now a regular starter in the Parisian midfield, Vitinha has integrated perfectly into his new club. Thanks to his vista, his quality of passing and his technical ease, the 2019 Tournament Special Prize-winner is still only a novice in the national team, with only 4 caps to his name. But in a Portugal team that sometimes lacks creativity, he could well have a key role to play.
Akram Afif (Qatar)
All of Qatar is counting on him. The Al Sadd striker will be the number one asset for the host nation's World Cup squad. It was thanks to his excellent performances that the Qataris won the Asian Cup for the first time in their history in 2019. The player who featured in the 2014 Maurice Revello Tournament is still going strong with his club (18 games, 14 goals) and will obviously be the leader of his team's attack. Stirring, technical, very agile and skilful, Afif will certainly be one of the players to watch in the competition.
Lee Kang-In (South Korea)
After a lacklustre season with Mallorca, the South Korean midfielder is back to his best this year. The winner of the 2018 Maurice Revello Tournament Special Prize has been a key player in Mallorca's strong start to the La Liga season and has already scored 2 league goals. Alongside Heung-Min Son and Hwang Ui-Jo, Lee Kang-In will be the other major asset of the selection in a very homogeneous group (Portugal, Uruguay, Ghana).
Daniel James (Wales)
The winger arrived at Fulham last summer and has not had the expected playing time since the beginning of the season (8 Premier League games) but he is a regular in the Welsh squad. A starter in the last 16 games played by Wales, he has the confidence of his coach Robert Page, who knows him well having coached him during the 2017 Maurice Revello Tournament. James scored against Manchester United on the last matchday in Premier League and has received a timely confidence boost ahead of his country's first World Cup since 1958.