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Ecuador striker among three unheralded World Cup stars to shine

| 25.06.2014

Take your eyes of this World Cup for a second and you’re bound to miss something. One of the most exciting features is the rise to prominence of previously uncelebrated players for nations outside of the recognised elite.

Premier League scouts will be racking up some impressive phone bills from Brazil purring to their clubs about these three below:

Enner Valencia, 25 – Ecuador (7/1 to score first v France)

Before these finals, the only ‘Valencia’ to have registered in the minds of the British football public was understandably Antonio Valencia, the Manchester United winger.

However, three goals in his opening two games have opened the world’s eyes to this prolific striker, who plays his trade for Mexican Premier League outfit Pachuca. He’s sharper than Don Draper’s suit in front of the onion bag.

Celso Borges, 26 – Costa Rica (Costa Rica to beat Greece 11/8)

Costa Rica threw a gigantic and unexpected spanner into Group D’s works, seeing off World Cup royalty Uruguay and Italy before containing England to finish as winners.

The man who keeps things ticking over the AIK central midfielder who was his country’s creative fulcrum in the rout of Uruguay and then the scourge of the Azzurri.

He’s sure to be courted by big clubs on this evidence.

Sofiane Feghouli, 24 – Algeria (8/1 to score first v Russia)

Perhaps the most recognisable of the trio, the Valencia winger was by no means a household name outside of Spain where he plies his trade. Not so anymore.

Feghouli put Algeria on the board in their first game against Belgium by cooling netting a penalty and catching the eye with his forward runs.

Then in the 4-2 dressing down of South Korea, he was instrumental once again and is sure to fetch a king’s ransom should he move after the finals.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.