All of the African and Latin teams have officially been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup, and now it’s an all European battle to be the best in the world.
Though Africa has no representation in the next round, there are still players from the diaspora that you can support throughout the rest of the tournament.
Check out some of the best players to watch for in our list below:
Kylian Mbapp: The 19-year-old French National team star has surfaced as one of the breakout players for the 2018 World Cup. He’s captured the attention of many fans and viewers for his talent and also a controversial flop. But either way, if you are looking for the next soccer phenom in the making, look no further. He’s already tied with several players for the third most goals in the tournament.
Corentin Tolisso: The 23-year-old French midfielder played an instrumental role in France’s 2-0 win against Uruguay in the World Cup quarterfinals. Coco, who replaced Blaise Matuidi, won a free-kick that led to a goal and utilized his physical presence and passing abilities to push the arguable favorites to the semi-finals.
N’Golo Kant: This midfielder’s presence is felt all over the pitch. His disruption and defense in the midfield helped to ruin any possibilities for Argentina to move forward. His tag team effort with Paul Pogba is making things click for France.
Paul Pogba: Kant and Pogba have created a unified line of defense in the midfield that has both saved and helped propelled France forward. As someone who’s known for being in headlines for not so great things at times, Pogba has had good games.
Samuel Umtiti: The 24-year-old player has shown signs of discomfort with his knee issues but news came out that he should be alright for the showdown with Belgium. And if his teammate Raphael Varane is confident in him, we should too.
Romelu Lukaku: You may know Lukaku has Roc Nation Sports’ recent soccer signee, but he’s also a world-class player. Currently, he is in second place for most goals scored in the World Cup, with only England’s Harry Kane surpassing him by two goals. So, if you are looking for an exciting player with composure and pace to watch, look no further.
Axel Witsel: Along with Marouane Fellaini, Witsel is considered as Belgium’s forcefield. He has a knack for finding the right passes and playing the ball deep. Although both of them at times create madness, they’ve found a way to come together with the rest of the team to knock out a major powerhouse: Brazil.
Marouane Fellaini: The 30-year-old player had an attention-worthy performance against Brazil, he kept Neymar contained throughout the match. Which is a big deal if you don’t know about soccer or Neymar too much. With such a standout game, we may see it again in the match against France.
Vincent Kompany: It’s safe to say that Brazil should’ve gotten a penalty after Kompany challenged Gabriel Jesus. But, aside from that, the veteran has shown leadership on and off the pitch.
Raheem Sterling: This young talent is a chance creator, his runs off the ball have been dangerous against the opposition. Even though he hasn’t quite shown his goal scoring capabilities, he’s found crucial opportunities for England.
Dele Alli: There have been concerns previously about Alli being in the starting line up, but his goal in the 58th-minute against Sweden helped to elevate the team. Even with some struggles in the midfield.
Ashley Young: England has had injury concerns since their battle against Colombia. But, Young’s first-half cross to Harry Maguire in the 30th-minute of their match against Sweden gave England the power they needed.
Kyle Walker: The Three Lions star sparked an interestingly weird social media trend when a photo surfaced of him putting his legs up in the air after cramping. He hashtagged it as #Kyling. Although this is a social media trend, he projects the championship energy that the team needs to win.
Marcus Rashford: Even though Rashford game on to the pitch against Sweden during injury time, the emotion that overcame him showed the love and passion that he has for the sport. He’s a promising player and one that people should continue to watch even beyond the World Cup. On top of that, England’s win against Sweden marked the Three Lions first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.