Switzerland might just have one of the competition's biggest stars on their hands - even if he can't get into Pep Guardiola's starting eleven.
Xherdan Shaqiri can count himself both blessed and deeply unlucky. Blessed because he is an important part of a Bayern Munich squad that, until they fell short against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, swept all comers aside exhilaratingly last season; deeply unlucky because, in any other side, he would almost certainly be the star man.
The Kosovan-born schemer may have gained the rather mixed accolade of being Pep Guardiola's favourite substitute last term, but he'll have no such problem in this Switzerland team. There is a fair argument to suggest that Shaqiri is on track to become his nation's best player of all time. He debuted at senior level back in March 2010, when just 18. By then he had already nailed down a regular spot in the FC Basel side, one that he would keep until his move to Bayern the summer of 2012. A talismanic figure for his country during World Cup qualifying, he scored in both of Switzerland's fixtures against Albania in emotional circumstances - he is of ethnic Albanian descent, and moved to Switzerland from Kosovo as a very young child.
What makes Shaqiri so special? He has the pace, trickery and skill of a winger but also boasts the poise, passing range and ability to thread the ball through the eye of a needle seen in the best playmakers. He can crack a mean dead ball, and is a goalscoring threat both from range and when scampering beyond defenders. Seven goals from 21 appearances was a more than respectable tally for Bayern last term - and one that, allied to his general play, has seen him become the latest attacker linked with a move to Brendan Rodgers' upwardly-mobile Liverpool side.
Shaqiri will probably start on the right of an attacking three for Ottmar Hitzfeld's Switzerland side, whose mixture of silk and steel makes it one of the more intriguing dark horses on display this summer. Granit Xhaka - who shares a birthplace, the Kosovan town of Gnjilane, with Shaqiri - will provide him with plenty of ammunition to work his magic, sitting behind him in midfield. Shaqiri will turn defenders this way and that, cut inside, slide balls through and hammer them towards the target from distance - and could, conceivably, be one of the stars of this World Cup.