France captain Hugo LIoris lifts the trophy as the jubilant players celebrate their World Cup victory. France beat Croatia 4-2 to win their second title, the first they won in 1998. REUTERS

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World Cup at fever pitch

Local Sports

Portugal's Christiano Ronaldo: FIFAPortugal's Christiano Ronaldo: FIFATHE excitement for 2018 World Cup soccer is at fever pitch among Fijians of all ages.


Fans are rooting for their teams and there is a huge following on some of the planet’s most recognizable names that have joined other superstars from six continents hoping to lift the famous trophy.

From Costa Rica to South Korea, many teams feature at least one player of transcendent quality, which means every moment of the tournament is must-see TV.

Brazil is one of the favorites to lift the World Cup trophy — and Neymar is the key man who may lead the Seleção to the promised land.

There is already talk that the 26-year-old striker is better than Messi and Ronaldo, and leading Brazil to the 2018 World Cup title could confirm that his star is ascending as the others’ dim.

He became the world’s most expensive player last year after Barcelona sold him to Paris-Saint Germain for around $262 million. Neymar wanted to leave, in part, to get out of Messi’s shadow in Barcelona.

The problem is Neymar was part of the Brazil squad that lost 7-1 — yes, 7-1 — to Germany in the semifinals at the last tournament (which took place in Brazil). Neymar and his team will try to exorcize those demons in Russia.

While it’s impossible to list all the great players at the World Cup this year, here’s a list of 13 you should definitely make time to watch play.

1) Lionel Messi, Argentina
2) Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
3) Neymar, Brazil
4) Mo Salah, Egypt
5) Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium
7) Sadio Mane, Senegal
8) Thomas Müller, Germany
9) Alex Iwobi, Nigeria
10) Keylor Navas, Costa Rica
11) Antoine Griezmann, France
12) Andres Iniesta, Spain
13) Luis Suarez, Uruguay





 

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