2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July

2010 FIFA World Cup™

Young 35 begin trophy race

Giovani dos Santos of Mexico celebrates after scoring
© Getty Images

The swashbuckling dribbles of a 17-year-old Pele in Sweden; Franz Beckenbauer belying his mere 20 years with some impeccable displays in England; Enzo Scifo, at the same age, radiating under the Mexican sun; and Michael Owen, then 18, leaving opponents in his trail in France – there is no doubt that youngsters have made spectacular impacts at the FIFA World Cup™.

The aforementioned players have all been named as the competition’s top young player, along with Florian Albert (1962), Teofilo Cubillas (1970), Wladyslaw Zmuda (1974), Antonio Cabrini (1978), Manuel Amoros (1982), Roberto Prosinecki (1990), Marc Overmars (1994), Landon Donovan (2002) and Lukas Podolski (2006). So, who will emulate these greats at South Africa 2010?

Thirty-five names are in the running for the prestigious Hyundai Best Young Player Award. Some are household names, such as Toni Kroos and Giovani dos Santos. Others are relative unknowns, like Vincent Aboubakar and Pak Sung-Hyok. All have been featured in profile stories, which you can see by clicking ‘Players to Watch' by FIFA.com in recent months.

Selection processThe Hyundai Best Young Player will be selected by the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG), which includes former winner Cubillas, Gerard Houllier and Christian Karembeu. They will take into account the following criteria:

• Exceptional skills
• Youthful and refreshing playing style
• Creativity and inspiration
• Tactical maturity and efficiency
• Fan recognition as a result of entertaining performances
• Role models for young players
• Positive attitude – Fair Play

Podolski certainly displayed those traits at the last FIFA World Cup. "I would have very much liked to take another trophy home, but I'm very, very glad to have this," the Germany forward said upon being presented with the gong. "It is a great honour for me to be given this award."

Here are the 35 players eligible for this year’s Hyundai Best Young Player Award by being born on or after 1 January 1989:

Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon)
Dominic Adiyiah (Ghana)
Daniel Agyei (Ghana)
Jozy Altidore (USA)
Andre Ayew (Ghana)
Holger Badstuber (Germany)
Ryad Boudebouz (Algeria)
Eric Choupo-Moting (Cameroon)
Giovani Dos Santos (Mexico)
Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
Lukman Haruna (Nigeria)
Samuel Inkoom (Ghana)
Kim Bo-Kyung (Korea Republic)
Ki Sung-Yueng (Korea Republic)
Simon Kjaer (Denmark)
Rene Krhin (Slovenia)
Toni Kroos (Germany)
Lee Seung-Yeoul (Korea Republic)
Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay)
Marko Marin (Germany)
Joel Matip (Cameroon)
Tim Matavz (Slovenia)
Jonathan Mensah (Ghana)
Thomas Muller (Germany)
Sotiris Ninis (Greece)
Nicolas N’Koulou (Cameroon)
Pak Sung-Hyok (Korea DPR)
Javier Pastore (Argentina)
Radosav Petrovic (Serbia)
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
Tommy Smith (New Zealand)
Miroslav Stoch (Slovakia)
Carlos Vela (Mexico)
Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia)
Chris Wood (New Zealand)

So, which one of them do you think will the award, and the Hyundai Tucson ix 35 that goes with it?