Outstanding talent ... Islam Slimani of Algeria celebrates scoring against Russia.

Outstanding talent ... Islam Slimani of Algeria celebrates scoring against Russia. Photo: Getty Images

1) Islam Slimani

Nation: Algeria
Age: 26
Position: Striker
Goals: 2
Club: Sporting CP (Portugal)
One of the most unexpected joys of this World Cup has been Algeria and their elastic, mobile style that has repeatedly caught opponents unawares. Slimani has been the fulcrum of their attack, scoring and assisting in the 4-2 win over South Korea and then bagging the equaliser against Russia, a goal that sent them through to the second phase. He picked up man-of-the-match awards in both.

2) Xherdan Shaqiri

Electric ... Switzerland's striker Xherdan Shaqiri (left) celebrates scoring hat-trick against Honduras.

Electric ... Switzerland's striker Xherdan Shaqiri (left) celebrates scoring hat-trick against Honduras. Photo: Reuters

Nation: Switzerland
Age: 22
Position: Winger
Goals: 3
Club: Bayern Munich (Germany)
Perhaps the best known of this quintet but he still can’t get a regular run at his club side, starting just 10 games for the Bavarians and 13 for the season before that. After his stunning hat-trick against Honduras, which fired his nation through to the knockout stages, he won’t be featuring on lists like this – or on the bench at the Allianz Arena – much longer.

3) Keylor Navas

Nation: Costa Rica
Age: 27
Position: Goalkeeper
Clean sheets: Levante (Spain)
With over 50 international caps, Navas may be a relative veteran of the Ticos but possesses virtually no profile outside of his homeland. At least until now. He’s kept clean sheets against England and Italy and conceded only once, in a 3-1 win over Uruguay. Now he’s being lined up to move to the top of La Liga, with Atletico Madrid said to be keen to secure his services from mid-table Levante.

Hard to get past ... Costa Rica's goalkeeper Keylor Navas celebrates the victory over Italy.

Hard to get past ... Costa Rica's goalkeeper Keylor Navas celebrates the victory over Italy. Photo: AFP

4) Enner Valencia

Nation: Ecuador
Age: 25
Position: Striker
Goals: 3
Club: Pachuca (Mexico)
A classic World Cup bolter, Valenica emerged as a cult hero at this tournament for his pace, goal sense and, best of all, that unbelievable leap. Scored once against Switzerland and twice against Honduras to confirm his class and now he’s on the radar of some of Europe’s best clubs. Arsenal and Tottenham have already been linked with his signature and he appears to be a ready-made star.

5) Ahmed Musa

Bolter ... Enner Valencia of Ecuador runs past Mamadou Sakho of France.

Bolter ... Enner Valencia of Ecuador runs past Mamadou Sakho of France. Photo: Getty Images

Nation: Nigeria
Age: 21
Position: Attacking midfielder
Goals: 2
Club: CSKA Moscow (Russia)
At just 176 centimetres, Musa is no giant – but his strides made at this tournament are exactly that. Being squirreled away from Europe’s most prominent leagues has meant this is the first time much of the world has seen his talent live and there’s plenty in his locker (speed, touch, positioning) to get excited about. A brace against Argentina and subsequent energetic displays have turned heads in Brazil and beyond.