Soccer World Cup

Top 10 Forwards Who Will Be At The 2014 World Cup

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Gearing Up For The 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

With 2014 now fully in swing, there is no doubting that the sport of soccer is in the midst of a great part of the calendar. As nearly every league in Europe is playing, the UEFA Champions League is about to enter the knockout stages and the best players and teams are entering their best form. No longer are teams looking to establish an identity, players gaining fitness from the summer break, and fans twiddling their thumbs in the stands. Now, cup play is in full effect and championships must be decided.

Of course, during the current season the best cup will be taking place in June and July, as the 2014 World Cup will be kicking off on June 12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and billions of eyeballs around the world will be glued to the television accordingly. And while the wait for this kickoff may seem agonizingly far, in all honesty, it is very close, and thankfully so. Each of the 32 teams and eight groups have already been assigned, and pundits around the world have turned their attention to one of the seemingly thousand story lines that will surround the world's biggest sporting event.

The one story line that captivated my mind unlike any other was who the best and most exciting players at the 2014 World Cup are going to be, and specifically who will be scoring the breath-taking goals. To this effect, I have decided to formulate a ranking of the top 10 forwards who will be at the 2014 World Cup.

When picking each candidate for this list, I have weighed past form for club and country, current form for both, and potential to either advance or decline during the 2014 World Cup. Of course, there will certainly be a few people who disagree with these rankings, and to that extent, I encourage you to leave a comment about who you believe should or shouldn't have been included. I will make sure to comment back and engage in an open-ended conversation, and thank you for reading this slideshow.

Tyler Leli is a Washington Capitals writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter, "Like" him on Facebook or join his network on Google.

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10. Gonzalo Higuain

2014 World Cup
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

During the current season, Gonzalo Higuain has lit up Serie A for Napoli, contributing nine goals in six assists on the season. Blessed with an innate ability to find open space, finish in front of the net, and play effective balls to teammates, it is clear that Higuain can be effective on any stage. This includes the 2014 World Cup, where Higuauin should build upon the nine goals scored for Argentina during World Cup Qualifying, a total that ranked third in CONMEBOL.

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9. Wayne Rooney

2014 World Cup
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

While some people may criticize Wayne Rooney at times for drifting in and out of games, it appears that in the current season, he has been fully committed to both Manchester United and the England National Team. Whether lining up as a main striker or in a role right behind the center forward, Rooney has the ability to get teammates involved in matches and has a striker's instinct in front of the net. When his ability to assist and score the ball is combined with an incredibly high work rate on the defensive end of the ball, it is clear that Rooney is a top forward.

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8. Robin van Persie

2014 World Cup
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Robin van Persie is an out and out striker, and has shown the ability to both find space and time on and off the ball for both Manchester United and the Netherlands National Team in recent years. Currently, he may be out with a thigh injury, but after scoring 33 goals in 45 Barclays Premier League games the last two years, it is clear van Persie knows how to finish the football with the best in the world.

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7. Edinson Cavani

2014 World Cup
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Edinson Cavani is an absolute bull with the football at his feet, and has immense ability to hold the ball up, get a head onto the ball and rifle it in with his foot. During the current seasons, Cavani has 12 goals in Ligue 1 for PSG, and is ranked sixth in CONMEBOL with six goals during 2014 World Cup Qualifying for Uruguay. At the 2014 World Cup, he may not be the most dangerous weapon for Uruguay, but it would be foolish to doubt Cavani.

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6. Neymar

2014 World Cup
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Neymar has been the talk of the soccer world for the last few years, as his trickery on the ball for both Santos FC and Brazil in past years has kept fans everywhere on their toes. A move to FC Barcelona this season gave fans a true glimpse of what Neymar could do against top sides, and after a rough start, he has now settled in. All eyes will be on Neymar come June, and it appears that he has the mix of pace, ball skills and finishing ability to create opportunities against any side in the world.

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5. Radamel Falcao

2014 World Cup
Hugo Santos-USA TODAY Sports

Radamel Falcao is the epitome of a finisher, as he has the ability to finish with his head and feet from nearly anywhere in the offensive half of the field. Currently, Falcao has nine goals in 16 games for AS Monaco in Ligue 1, and after scoring nine goals in CONMEBOL Qualifying, there is no doubting that his finishing touch is effective on any stage.

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4. Sergio Aguero

2014 World Cup
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Aguero is undoubtedly one of the best forwards not only in the Barclays Premier League, but in the entire world. Boasting great dribbling skills, a lethal foot from long and short range, and great movement off the ball, Aguero is an absolute force. On the current season, he has scored 13 goals in 15 games for Manchester City, and it is hard to imagine this form not continuing into the 2014 World Cup.

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3. Luis Suarez

2014 World Cup
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

After lighting the Barclays Premier League on fire during the current season, it is clear that Luis Suarez is nearly unstoppable. On the season, Suarez has 22 goals in 17 games for Liverpool, and led CONMEBOL with 11 goals during 2014 World Cup Qualifying. Blessed with extreme technical ability and a will to score goals, it seems impossible that Suarez will not torment defenders at the 2014 World Cup.

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2. Cristiano Ronaldo

2014 World Cup
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

It seems that Cristiano Ronaldo could not stop scoring goals if he wanted to, as his mix of size, ability and determination is rivaled by few in the world. Additionally, after leading Portugal to the 2014 World Cup with a hat trick in the deciding playoff match against Sweden, it is clear that Ronaldo is willing to put his nation on his back. Look out for this guy come June and July.

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1. Lionel Messi

2014 World Cup
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

While each of the forwards on this list possess great ability, there is simply nobody that can match up with Lionel Messi. He may not be the biggest or strongest player, but Messi can and will do whatever his team needs, whether that is running through the defense and scoring, giving a teammate a through ball, or trekking back on defense. Simply put, Messi is the best player in the world and he will show this for Argentina at the 2014 World Cup.