Oldest World Cup players are goalkeepers

2010-06-07 12:15

David James, Sander Boschker, Marcus Hahnemann and Mark Schwarzer

are the four oldest players competing at the World Cup.

They are also all goalkeepers.

Portsmouth’s James, who is expected to be the starting goalkeeper

for England at the June 11 to July 11 finals, will be turning 40 less than a

month after the final, while Dutch goalkeeper Boschker, who will probably not

see game action in South Africa, is two and a half months younger.

What makes Boschker’s call-up surprising is that the 39-year-old,

who has just won the Dutch League with Twente, had not played a single game for

Oranje going into the tournament.

He will, however, be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jan

Jongbloed, who in 1974 was not expecting to play, but then ended up being first

choice and played in the final against Germany. He also played in the 1978 final

against Argentina as a 37-year-old.

Compared to James and Boschker, Hahnemann and Schwarzer are

practically spring chickens at age 37.

For Schwarzer, the World Cup comes hot on the heels of a

disappointing Europa League final defeat with his Premier League side Fulham

against Atletico Madrid.

“You just try to put those defeats behind you. I am lucky, I now

have the World Cup to look forward to and that is a highlight for any

footballer,” he said.

Given that he turns 37 in November, the World Cup will surely bring

down the curtain on the glittering international career of Mexico striker

Cuauhtemoc Blanco which has seen him amass 118 caps as of early June.

Drawn into Group A with the hosts South Africa, France and Uruguay,

the oldest outfield player will be hoping that he can lead his side into the

next round.

Of the 11 oldest players in the squads, seven are goalkeepers,

which would seem to suggest that most coaches are looking for experience when it

comes to the man between the poles.

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