Golovin, the Young Tsar Who Makes Russia Hope

With that suffering expression of his, midfielder Aleksandr Golovin reminds of Aleksei Ivanovich, the main character of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella The Gambler. But rather than going through his fictional alter ego’s pains, Golovin could be Russia’s young leader in the upcoming World Cup - as well as of one of our Top 10 young players to keep an eye for...

Meteore Mondiali: Schillaci, Re Mida senza corona di Italia ’90

As World Cup 1990 approached, Italy's coach Azeglio Vicini could lineup strikers such as Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Baggio. Still, he decided to add to his squad a little known Sicilian forward from Juventus. His name was Salvatore Schillaci, and he became the underdog King of the Notti Magiche ("Magic Nights") of Italia '90, scoring 6 goals and leading the Azzurri to the 3rd place.

Meteore Mondiali: Grosso, l’uomo dell’ultimo minuto

“You will take the last penalty, because you have always been decisive so far.” This is what coach Marcello Lippi told Fabio Grosso before the penalty shootouts that determined the outcome of World Cup 2006 Final between Italy and France. Lippi’s choice to bet on a player who was not even part of his original starting lineup proved to be a winning one.

Meteore Mondiali: Goycochea, l’ammazza-sogni delle Notti Magiche

Sergio Goycoechea was not even supposed to play in World Cup 1990, as the starting goalkeeper of Argentina was undoubtedly Nery Pumpido. But when Pumpido suffered an injury, the first choice became this unknown goalie with a cowboy face, who ended up leading the Albiceleste up to the Final match, shattering Italy's Notti Magiche dreams along the way.

Meteore Mondiali: Gotze, eroe solo per una sera

Scoring the decisive goal during a World Cup Final: Could you ask more from a 22-year-old boy? Mario Gotze is the man who in 2014 made Germany celebrate their fourth world title. Everybody would have bet on a shining future for him. Instead, Gotze slowly declined in the following four years, up to the point that he was not selected for the upcoming World Cup.

Meteore Mondiali: Salenko, una partita di ordinaria follia

Scoring five goals in a single match surely is a heck of an exploit. Doing it in a world championship game makes it even more noteworthy. Indeed, this is something that has happened only once, as of today. The author of that astonishing glut was Oleg Salenko, Russia’s top striker during the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.A. It happened on June 28, in Stanford, California.

Meteore Mondiali: Blanco, il giocoliere messicano di Francia ’98

When you manage to give your name to a specific trick, it means you have made it to the history of football. Raise your hands, those who don’t remember the cuauhtemina, a feat that enabled you to dash past your opponents with the ball tied between your feet. This is what Mexican attacking midfielder Cuauhtémoc Blanco showed during World Cup 1998 in France.

Meteore Mondiali: Quando Letchkov fece piangere la Germania

"Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” British footballer Gary Lineker, the author of this famous quote, was not always right. Because during World Cup 1994, the incumbent World Champions were eliminated by a header by Yordan Letchkov, a Bulgarian striker who looked like a bookkeeper.

Meteore Mondiali: Asamoah, un incubo lungo 11 metri

It is said that, just one moment before dying, a person relives their whole life in an instant. In the case of Asamoah Gyan, one of the top images will likely be that moment in which he hit the crossbar from a penalty kick that could have consigned him to the history of African football - making his native Ghana the first African Country to ever reach a World Cup Semi Final.

Meteore Mondiali: Guivarc’h, il Campione del Mondo senza goal

Sometimes, you make it to history not because of what you did, but of what you didn't do. The France squad that won World Cup 1998 featured strikers like Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet. Yet, their starting forward was Stephan Guivarc'h. Today's World Cup Meteor (Number 9 on the pitch, and in our countdown) is the striker who won a world title without scoring a goal.