The second day of last-16 ties at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ proved a productive one for the Netherlands’ Memphis Depay, as he advanced his claims to the Hyundai Young Player Award.
Sunday’s two matches featured only three candidates for the Hyundai Young Player Award, with the Netherlands’ Terence Kongolo and Memphis Depay starting their tie with Mexico on the bench and looking on helplessly as El Tri took the lead in Fortaleza. With time against the Dutch, Louis Van Gaal sent Depay on in a bid to exert more pressure on the Mexican back-line.
Operating on the left flank, the young PSV Eindhoven forward proved a threat with his mobility and pace, as the Dutch squeezed their opponents back before hitting them with two late goals to edge into the last eight. Having risen to the occasion with a convincing display, Depay was entitled to feel pleased with his part in the Oranje’s last-gasp comeback.
Greece goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino was the third contender potentially in action on Sunday, but watched from the bench as his side went down on penalties to tournament revelations Costa Rica.
Monday’s two high-profile ties feature a clutch of young players in the running for the award, starting with Nigeria defender Kenneth Omeruo, who has a tough assignment ahead of him in trying to stifle France’s free-scoring front line. Lining up for Les Bleus, meanwhile, will be Raphael Varane, who has had a fine tournament so far, Paul Pogba and Lucas Digne.
In the evening match up-and-coming Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb will be out to help his country repeat their stunning defeat of Germany FR at Spain 1982, a match that took place several years before he was even born. Mannschaft youngsters Matthias Ginter and Julian Draxler will almost certainly be among the substitutes for what promises to be an intriguing occasion.