These athletes have made it a habit of rising to the occasion on the biggest stage.

Every FIFA World Cup, we get to see a phenomenal player who we have never heard of in club football emerge at the biggest football event. But, as time passes, we forget how they helped their countries reach new heights in World Cup history. We’ve seen such great players come up for their countries and lead them single-handedly deep into the tournament.

At each FIFA World Cup, we have seen them deliver a brilliant performance. From James Rodriguez to Miroslav Klose there are many such cult heroes. In this article, we have picked the top five cult heroes of the FIFA World Cup.

5. Tim Krul (Netherlands)

Many people may recall his spectacular penalty saves that helped the Netherlands reach the World Cup semi-finals in 2014. Krul did not play in any of the Netherlands’ World Cup games. He was not a regular starter for the national team. However, one moment changed his standing at the FIFA World Cup.

The most memorable substitution was when the Netherlands and Costa Rica couldn’t be separated after extra-time and the game went to penalties. Krul took over from Jasper Cillessen and saved two penalties to send the Oranje through.

4. Diego Forlan (Uruguay)

Forlan was an Uruguay icon who wreaked havoc on other teams and his competitive drive was instrumental in Uruguay scoring many goals at the 2010 World Cup.

What better way to kick off the 2010 World Cup as the Golden Boot winner, than with one of his goals being named the Goal of the Tournament? He finished the tournament with six goals and Uruguay will never forget his contribution to the 2010 World Cup.

3. Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina)

Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer until Lionel Messi surpassed him. Batistuta came on the scene during the 1994 World Cup, when his team was impacted owing to the suspension of their talisman Diego Maradona, for doping. But, Gabriel Batistuta carried the aspirations of millions of fans and delivered a world-class performance, scoring a hat-trick against Greece.

However, the South American nation were eliminated from the group stage after losing to Romania. With ten goals, Batistuta is Argentina’s leading goalscorer at the FIFA World Cup.

2. Enner Valencia (Ecuador)

With three goals at the FIFA World Cup 2014, the former West Ham star made a statement. Although Ecuador did to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Ener Valencia made the news once again and demonstrated the mirror image of his 2014 World Cup success by scoring three goals at the 2022 World Cup, despite Ecuador failing to advance past the group stage.

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1. Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)

The World Cup is a platform for the former Malaga star to flourish and put on a world-class performance. Since his World Cup debut, his goalkeeping abilities have advanced to a higher level in the competitions. He rose to prominence at the 2014 World Cup, when he made numerous high-quality saves that had viewers captivated.

He repeated his performance from the 2018 World Cup as if every World Cup is a showcase for Ochoa’s exceptional goalkeeping abilities. And he has already displayed this in the 2022 World Cup, saving a penalty from Lewandowski and rescuing a point for Mexico.

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