The six unheralded names who could surprise us in Brazil

The Rio Report

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Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar... we all know who the likely stars of the World Cup will be, but what about those talents who have flown under the radar?

Our friends at have scoured their extensive database of stats to search out the six unheralded names who are ready to make a big impression in Brazil.

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Shinji Okazaki (Japan): WhoScored rating 7.27

Okazaki was one of few Bundesliga stars to score a higher proportion of his side's goals this season than Admir Mehmedi (see below), but with 28.8% of Mainz's goals he was marginally ahead in that regard. He will play in Japan's frontline this summer and will provide a lethal touch; his 20.8% conversion rate was amongst the best in the league this season. His goalscoring went through peaks and troughs throughout the season but four goals in his final four appearances of the season - including a brace at Dortmund - hinted that he is coming into the tournament in fine form.

Alessio Cerci (Italy): WhoScored rating 7.28

Much is made of an apparent dearth in the striker department for Cesare Prandelli, but most of these assertions are made by those ignorant to the quality truly at the Italy manager's disposal. Ciro Immobile is second only to Lionel Messi in the top five European leagues' goalscoring charts in 2014, while Alessio Cerci was the only player to hit double figures for both goals and assists in Serie A this season. With 11.4% of his touches either being key passes or shots, he is primarily focused on the opposition goal and will be a real threat to England when the teams meet in Manaus.

Admir Mehmedi (Switzerland): WhoScored rating 7.38

The 23-year-old Mehmedi enjoyed an impressive season on loan at Freiburg last season, so much so that he won a permanent move to the Bundesliga from Dynamo Kiev. Switzerland are not regarded as a European powerhouse, but having convincingly topped their group in qualifying they perhaps should be considered a strong candidate to topple France this summer. Able to play as the furthest man forward or behind another striker, Mehmedi carries a huge goal threat. With 12 goals this season, he scored a higher proportion of his team's Bundesliga goals (27.9%) than the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Mario Mandzukic or Marco Reus, and could be set to shine this summer.

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Keylor Navas (Costa Rica): WhoScored rating 7.27

WhoScored's goalkeeper of the season, Keylor Navas, will have possibly the toughest job at this summer's World Cup, charged with thwarting the attacks of Uruguay, Italy and England as he defends Costa Rica's net. He made more saves (160) than any other stopper in Europe's top five leagues this season, as he helped Levante - who scored only 35 goals in 38 games - to a 10th-place finish with the best defence outside the top four in Spain. He is used to facing plenty of shots and the barrage will only continue this summer.

Stephane Mbia (Cameroon): WhoScored rating 7.18

Most commonly remembered in England for his largely unsuccessful spell at QPR, the combative Cameroonian midfielder has spent this season on loan at Sevilla, where he has rediscovered the kind of form that saw him so highly regarded at Marseille. It took him a while to cement his place in the team - he made only 18 league appearances all season - but he played a key role in the final part of the campaign, helping Sevilla to Europa League glory. He scored an unstoppable penalty in the shootout with Benfica in Turin and also scored in both legs of the semi-final against Valencia, taking his goal tally to 5 for the season in Europe and the league, while he also contributed 4 assists. For a player who also averaged 1.9 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per game last season, this is good going, and he could prove vital at both ends for Cameroon this summer.

Alexander Kokorin (Russia): WhoScored rating 7.24

Russia's Alan Dzagoev shone (briefly) at Euro 2012, and this summer it could be Kokorin who steals the limelight. Statistically calculated strengths including key passes, headed attempts, dribbling, through balls and finishing show just how complete this tricky forward's game is. Pacy and versatile, Kokorin can play in a number of different positions and is able to be the player either attacking crosses or supplying them. He is fouled on average 2.2 times per game and with the technical ability in Russia's squad, those free-kicks could be crucial.

All statistics courtesy of, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

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