Of the six teams taking part on Day 5 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, only three - New Zealand, Slovakia and Korea DPR – had eligible candidates for the Hyundai Best Young Player Award on show. Two of those young hopefuls were handed a start, while the other two had to settle for cameo appearances. FIFA.com reflects upon their performances.
Tommy Smith (New Zealand): At just 20, the Ipswich Town man is one of the youngest players at South Africa 2010. Smith, who only became eligible to play for the All Whites earlier this year after previously representing England at youth level, took his place on the left-hand side of a defensive trio against Slovakia, and put in a solid, mistake-free display against a side ranked 44 places above the Kiwis. Statistics show he completed 34 out of 49 passes in Rustenburg.
Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia): Vladimir Weiss, the son his coach and namesake, left Inter Bratislava in 2006 in a bid to make a name for himself in the English Premier League. Manchester City snapped up the rising star, who spent last season on loan at Bolton Wanderers. A starter for Slovakia against New Zealand, his pace and dribbling proved a constant thorn in the All White's side, and he was equally effective when he switched flanks midway through the first half. Weiss, on corner duty for Slovakia, was certainly one of his team's best players.
Miroslav Stoch (Slovakia): Said by many to be the new wonder boy of Slovak football, the skilful midfielder was recently released by English Premier League champions Chelsea and has since joined Turkish side Fenerbache. Stoch came on as the 84th minute substitute for Slovakia's goalscorer and Budweiser Man of the Match Robert Vittek, but had little time to make an impact as New Zealand pressed forward in search of that all-important equaliser. The 20-year-old managed to make nine passes in the short time he was on, however, although was only able to complete four of those.
Chris Wood (New Zealand): The youngest member of the All Whites squad, at just 18, Wood is the great hope of New Zealand football and one of only five Kiwi players currently plying their trade in the English Premier League – Wood signed for newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion when he was just 17. The forward offered a physical presence when he came on as a 70th-minute substitute for Chris Killen in the historic 1-1 draw with Slovakia, and boasted a perfect passing record, completing five passes out of five.