The World Cup is now just days away, with the first match set to kick off Thursday afternoon. If you're a casual fan looking for story lines, here are 10 players to keep an eye on throughout the tournament.
Lionel Messi, F, Argentina
Arguably the greatest player of all time, the Barcelona man set the record last year for the most goals in a 365-day period. He's shorter than your mother and can play just about anywhere. Don't be surprised if scores the most goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo, ST/LW, Portugal
Probably the most complete player in the world, and when all is said and done, he'll be considered one of the greatest ever. He also happens to date supermodels and has an unusual rate of taking off his shirt after scoring.
Luis Suarez, ST, Uruguay
Love him or hate him, he's a lot of fun to watch. He's sure to score some eye-pleasing goals this World Cup. He led the English Premier League in scoring at Liverpool. Don't be surprised if he's involved in some controversy.
Edin Hazard, LM/CAM, Belgium
The Chelsea man is arguably the greatest dribbler in the world. You'll love watching him take defenders on, beat them, and win free kicks.
Diego Costa, ST, Spain
Easily the most polarizing figure heading into the World Cup. He had the option to play for the hosts, Brazil, but turned his back on them and chose Spain. Let's just say Brazilians won't be sending him Christmas cards.
Clint Dempsey, ST/Midfielder, United States
The U.S. Men's National Team enters the group of death with an inexperienced defense likely to give up goals. The Americans will dig in and hope to get goals on counterattacks. If Dempsey can provide two or three, the U.S. has a shot to make it out of the group.
Neymar, ST, Brazil
The Brazilian No. 10 has by far the most pressure on his shoulders. The country is looking for a performance like the one they saw at last summer's Confederations Cup, when he was brilliant. If he can deliver, he will be remembered forever.
Thibaut Courtois, GK, Belgium
He was named the goalkeeper of the year last season by ESPN and is the best young keeper in the world. Many consider Belgium to be this World Cup's dark horse, and it will require a big performance from the 22-year-old.
Wayne Rooney, CF, England
Grouped with Uruguay and Italy, England could easily make an early exit. With budding strikers like Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, it's likely Rooney's last chance to put himself into English folklore. The Manchester United superstar has struggled with form this season, but at 28 years old, he has the ability to show up and take a seasoned England squad far.
David Luiz, CB, Brazil
The PSG defender is one of the best in the world, with the adaptability to even play in midfield. He'll team with Thiago Silva to make one of the best central-defense duos in the tournament. Brazil loves its creative style, and David Luiz brings all the flair to the back line. Side note: He also has the best hair of any player in the tournament.