Four candidates for the Hyundai Young Player Award have had their final taste of action at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ after both France and Colombia bowed out at the quarter-final stage.
The first two contenders for the Young Player title bid farewell as Germany dispatched Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane's France in the Maracana. The Real Madrid defender was beaten in the air as Mats Hummels scored the only goal of the game, which set the 21-year-old towards only his second defeat in the colours of Les Bleus. While he tested opposing goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the second period, he was not able to make amends, and the hugely promising UEFA Champions League winner bowed out.
It was also the last we saw of Pogba, whose elegantly combative performances in midfield have been one of the highlights of France's campaign. However, the Juventus star was not able to exert the same kind of influence had done in previous games, with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira hampering his athleticism.
Juan Quintero and Eder Balanta also saw their World Cup end, with Colombia's progress halted by hosts Brazil in the cauldron of noise that was Fortaleza's Estadio Castelao. The former arrived on the field with ten minutes to go in a bid to rescue Jose Pekerman's side after pulling a goal back, but his whipped corners could not prevent them losing 2-1 to their fellow South Americans.
Argentina will hope to silence two youthful Belgian forwards with growing reputations, this after both excelled in the Round of 16. Romelu Lukaku was a game-changer for Les Diables Rouges in Salvador after scoring one and making another, while Divock Origi impressed leading the line. Costa Rica, meanwhile, will have to subdue another starlet from the European lowlands in Memphis Depay, as the Netherlands front man looks to fire the Oranje into the final four.