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5 men who’ve shone in 2017 Confederations Cup in opening games

| 20.06.2017

The opening four games of the 2017 Confederations Cup have thrown up 13 goals and plenty of excitement, with Germany’s narrow defeat of Australia the pick of the bunch so far.

Those fixtures have given us a flurry of impressive individual displays. So without further ado, here are the five men who’ve really caught our eye so far, from a Russian rock to an Arsenal ace…

Alexis Sanchez (CF: Arsenal)

One of the tournament’s biggest names, it’s been no surprise to see Sanchez among the top performers in the opening round of fixtures.

The 28-year-old bailed Chile out in against Cameroon, coming on as a substitute in the 58th minute and duly setting up both of La Roja’s two goals in the final 10 minutes of the game.

The first was an impudent chip for Arturo Vidal’s opener, the second a superb piece of build-up play leading to Eduardo Vargas’ close-range injury-time clincher. This was classic Sanchez, with the only real surprise that he wasn’t in the starting XI.

Leon Goretzka (DM: Germany)

The Schalke 04 youngster was a thorn in Australia’s side for the entire 90 minutes of this contest, with the midfielder both solid in his holding midfield role, as well as bursting forward with devastating effect.

His neat one-two with Lars Stindl led to Goretzka being brought down for the penalty which allowed Die Mannschaft to go 2-1 up, before his superb finish over Socceroos’ keeper Mathew Ryan put Germany firmly in control at 3-1 up.

At just 22-years-old, he’s a hugely exciting talent. Keep your eyes on him.

Tom Rogic (AM: Australia)

The Griffith-born midfielder played a major part in Celtic’s treble-winning side of 2016-17, and he’s taken that good form into this tournament, with an excellent performance against World Cup holders Germany.

While there was a little bit of fortune in his goal – a decent strike which German keeper Bernd Leno nevertheless should have had covered – the creative Rogic created plenty of work for one of world football’s best defences.

His second goal for the national side in the past three games, he’s probably Australia’s most important performer right now.

Giorgi Jikia (CB: Russia)

While this was a fairly one-sided contest – with the hosts having the lions’ share of the game – the Russian backline rarely allowed New Zealand even a sniff of goal when they did come forward. And Spartak Moscow man Jikia was at the heart of that success.

Steely, organised and composed on the ball, it was hard to believe we were watching a player featuring in his first competitive game for the national side.

As for the All Whites, it was the first time they had failed to net in nine competitive games. Quite the feat from Russia’s defensive dynamos – and one of them in particular.

Ricardo Quaresma (RW: Portugal)

The 33-year-old seems to have been on the cusp of brilliance since forever. He spent time at Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea, but never quite made it anywhere. But for Portugal, his form – at least in the past two years – has been genuinely top-rate.

He netted the opener in Selecao’s 2-2 draw with Mexico, rounding opposition keeper Guillermo Ochoa in impudent style, before tucking home. And the veteran winger looked lively throughout, with the Euro 2016 winners unlucky not to take all three points in this clash.

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.