The 2018 World Cup in Russia is just over five months away. Many bigger and not so bigger names have the chance to shine on the world stage, each of 32 teams’ forwards will try to make a bigger name for themselves and help their team advance to the knockout stages and play into July.
Below are two forwards from each qualified team with the best chance to become (bigger) heroes in their country and around the world.
Fyodor Smolov: 27 years old Krasnador forward with almost dozen goals to his name while playing for his national team. Regular scorer at club level and European club competitions.
Artem Dzyuba: Zenit player struggling with injuries. One of the stars of Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Mohammad Al-Sahlawi: Top scorer for club (Al-Nassr) and country with a more than one goal every two games goal scoring record over his career.
Nasser Al-Shamrani: A veteran on the team who featured for his national team as long ago as 2005.
Mohamed Salah: One of the stars of the 2017-2018 European season leading the way for Liverpool after moving to England from Roma.
Ahmed Hassan Mahgoub: Not a regular for club (Braga) but still young at 24.
Luis Suarez: The infamous player still going strong for Barcelona and his national team.
Edinson Cavani: The owner of many missed chances is still a crucial part of the puzzle for the teams he plays for.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Needs no introduction of course, heading towards the end of his career and it is his last chance to make as strong an impact at a World Cup.
Andre Silva: Young forward with a very good national team record (11 goals in 18 caps) and praised by many but struggling for minutes and goals in his first season in Italy.
Alvaro Morata: Almost super star level scoring regularly for Chelsea and his country.
Diego Costa: Hot headed but important player who fulfills certain characteristics, back in Spain after over three years in England.
Khalid Boutaib: Regular scorer for club (Yeni Malatyaspor) and country. French born.
Youssef El-Arabi: Plays in the Qatar Stars League, also French born.
Sardar Azmoun: 22 goals in 30 caps. The hope of the national team.
Karim Ansarifard: Regular scorer in the Greece Superleague and the national team. A rising star in his mid 20s.
Antoine Griezmann: In demand forward likely to move from Atletico Madrid after the World Cup.
Kylian Mbappe: One of the most expensive players in the world, still only 19.
Tim Cahill: Still going strong at 38. His country is very reliant on him.
Mathew Leckie: One of the stars of his national team’s qualification for the World Cup.
Jefferson Farfan: Top scorer for country, one of the key reasons Peru are back at the World Cup.
Raul Ruidiaz: Good scorer in his native land and in the Mexican league.
Nicklas Bendtner: Lord Bendtner is still a key player for the national team.
Kasper Dolberg: Rising star for Ajax and Denmark. In demand across Europe.
Lionel Messi: Needs no introduction. Scored the goals that rescued Argentina from a near World Cup miss.
Sergio Aguero: Super star. Prolific scorer everywhere.
Alfreo Finnbogason: One of the national team’s leading scorers.
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson: Scorer of a historic goal – the winning goal vs England – at Euro 2016.
Mario Mandzukic: Key man for Juventus and country. Tall center forward.
Nikola Kalinic: Poor form at club a concern.
Ahmed Musa: Not always at his best but crucial for country.
Kelechi Iheanacho: Some important goals for Manchester City before moving to Leicester City last summer.
Neymar: Record transfer holder and prolific scorer, now his own star at PSG.
Gabriel Jesus: A rising star at Manchester City.
Haris Seferovic: Not always consistent but his goals are needed for country.
Admir Mehmedi: The same as Seferovic. Can be inconsistent and miss chances.
Marco Urena: MLS player who plays an important role up front.
Bryan Ruiz: Veteran captain who has starred in several European leagues.
Aleksandar Mitrovic: One of the stars of World Cup 2018 qualification.
Aleksandar Prijovic: A good goal scorer at club level.
Thomas Muller: Can play anywhere in the front line. Typical strong German player.
Timo Werner: At 21 a rising star of the Bundesliga, Champions League and the national team.
Javier Hernandez: Back in England after time in Spain and Germany. Divides opinion but a pure goal scorer.
Raul Jimenez: Experienced forward. Super sub at his club (Benfica).
Marcus Berg: Veteran who plays an important role in the post Ibra era.
Alexander Isak: Youngest goalscorer for the Swedish national team.
Son Heung-min: Doing well for Tottenham in England. A key player for the national team.
Ji Dong-won: Not the most prolific at Augsburg in Germany but important for his native country.
Romelu Lukaku: His country’s big hope. Strong and experienced at only 24. Subject of a big move to Manchester United last summer.
Dries Mertens: Almost a late bloomer. A star in the Serie A for Napoli.
Blas Perez: 36 years old veteran still going strong for the first time qualifiers.
Gabriel Torres: Scorer of important goals to qualify for World Cup 2018.
Youssef Msakni: Qatar based top scorer.
Ahmed Akaichi: Saudi Arabia based forward whose goals will be needed in Russia.
Harry Kane: Outscored everyone – including Messi and Ronaldo – in the 2017 calendar year with 56 for club and country.
Jamie Vardy: His pace and work ethic will be needed in Russia.
Robert Lewandowski: One of the world’s best will carry his country forward.
Arkadiusz Milik: Injury has hampered his progress but is very capable.
Sadio Mane: An offensive star for Liverpool and country.
Moussa Sow: UAE based veteran whose contribution is required.
Carlos Bacca: Highly experienced goal scorer. Sometimes struggles in Europe.
Radamel Falcao: Back to his best at Monaco after years of injury and falling form.
Shinji Okazaki: Valuable experience in England has helped this veteran.
Takuma Asano: Once of Arsenal now based in Germany. He can and must step forward and add important goals.