Yalla! The football stars of the future are on display in Israel - and they’re lighting up the UEFA Under-21 Championship in style.
Having spent the past week in Tel Aviv covering the tournament for CNN, it’s given me a great opportunity to take a look at some of the top prospects coming through onto the international stage.
Some of the biggest names in the game have forged their reputations at this tournament and I’ve picked out a few “ones to watch” following the opening week’s action. I'd also love to hear who has caught your eye. Any player born on or after January 1, 1990 is eligible to play in the tournament, which is held every two years.
While Spain and Netherlands have both looked hugely impressive in the group stage, Italy have also cruised through their opening fixtures.
The “Azzurrini” have plenty of talent to choose from but it is Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne who has stood out for me.
At 22, with the bad-boy haircut and a whole host of tattoos, the Naples-born starlet looks every inch the part - but where he differs is that he produces.
Against England, he ran defenders ragged before popping up with the winner.
The ball appears to be tied to his laces, he moves so effortlessly and his awareness is at a different level when it comes to decision making.
New Napoli boss Rafa Benitez has inherited an absolute gem in Insigne, who should he continue at this rate of progress, will surely go on to greater things.
Another player who has wowed the masses is the mercurial talent that is Isco.
Spain’s insistence on its top, young players taking part in this tournament has led to its national side dominating in recent years. It’s hardly a coincidence.
Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez and Chelsea star Juan Mata shone for La Roja at this tournament in 2011. The likes of David De Gea, already a regular with Manchester United, Thiago Alcantara at Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao’s Iker Munian are already household names across Europe.
Isco, who shot to prominence during Malaga’s run to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, is seemingly destined to follow coach Manuel Pellegrini to Manchester City before the start of next season.
His eye for goal, exquisite first touch and ability to thread passes through the eye of a needle make him one of the most exciting talents in European football.
But it’s the performances of Real Sociedad's holding midfielder Asier Illarramendi which has got tongues wagging. His defensive positioning, especially in the opening 1-0 win over Russia, was sublime - as was his passing, which allowed Spain to move from back to front in rapid fashion.
By snuffing out attacks and shielding the defense, Illarramendi eased the pressure on his team before taking it upon himself to get Spain moving forward with devastating passing accuracy.
At 23, he is already being compared to Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets and, with Sociedad having qualified for next season’s Champions League, don’t be surprised to see a number of “bigger” clubs linked with Illarramendi.
The only team which appears ready to challenge the Spanish is the Netherlands, which has also won its first two games of the competition.
Midfielders Adam Maher and Leroy Fer have both furthered their cases for big-money moves, while forward Georginio Wijnaldum looks a class act in the making.
But Manchester United target Kevin Strootman is the one to watch. With 18 senior caps to his name and the captain’s armband, Strootman looks mature beyond his years.
At 23, he has progressed from a box-to-box midfielder at Sparta Rotterdam to a deep-lying playmaker at PSV Eindhoven. His vision and passing ability is at a level rarely seen in someone so young and he would easily adapt to the physical nature of the English Premier League.
One team which has really flown under the radar is Norway, which trounced England 3-1 in some style.
A solid defense and the goalscoring nous of Marcus Pedersen has seen the Norwegians all but qualify for the semifinals.
“He’s so big and strong, difficult to defend against,” one coach said of Pedersen. “He knows where the goal is and he’ll go back to playing in Holland next year with Vitesse after a year on loan in Denmark. Next season, there will be a lot of people talking about this guy.”
Harmeet Singh, Valon Berisha, Harvard Nordveit are all promising talents, while there is a lot of excitement over 19-year-old winger Havard Nielsen.
It’s difficult to see this tournament finishing without a Spain vs. Netherlands final - although Italy, with the likes of Insigne and Marco Verratti could run both countries close.
But which players have you enjoyed watching? Who has caught your eye? Make sure you join the discussion below and enjoy the rest of the tournament.