Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News

Tuesday's Top Tens: World Cup Stars

10 June 2014

Ahead of Thursday’s eagerly-awaited start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, this week’s edition of Tuesday’s Top Tens looks at former Crystal Palace players who have made the biggest impact on football’s greatest stage, either before, during or after their time at Selhurst Park.  

Although they didn’t all set the world alight during their time in south London, have picked a top ten based on the success they have enjoyed with their respective nations at previous World Cups.  

(10) Gregg Berhalter
The only player ever to make a World Cup finals appearance while still on the books at Crystal Palace, Berhalter was part of the United States of America squad that travelled to Japan and South Korea in 2002. 

The defender missed all three of his country’s group games, but they still managed to finish second as they progressed alongside South Korea – causing a shock by knocking out Portugal and Poland in the process. 

Berhalter stepped in for the injured Jeff Agoos in the knockout rounds, playing all 90 minutes in the 2-0 second round victory over Mexico – and was again in the starting line-up as the States were narrowly beaten by Germany in the quarter finals. 

He was included in the USA’s World Cup party four years later, but failed to make an appearance as they were knocked out in the group stage. 

(9) Kenny Sansom
Sansom participated in two World Cups for England, the first of which came in 1982.

He helped the Three Lions progress through the first group stage, but they exited in the second group stage after goalless draws with Germany and Spain. 

The full-back was again selected in Bobby Robson’s squad for the 1986 World Cup, but could not prevent England going down 1-0 to Portugal in their opening group game.

They recovered though to draw with Morocco and beat Poland, with Sansom helping England keep consecutive clean sheets in those matches as they progressed to the knockout rounds. 

A routine 3-0 win over Paraguay followed to set up a quarter-final clash with Argentina, where Sansom was one the players left in Maradona’s wake as he scored one of the best goals in World Cup history to help the Argentines to a 2-1 success.

(8) Ivan Kaviedes
Having risen to prominence in the late 1990s with Emelec, Perugia and Celta Vigo, Kaviedes became a regular part of the Ecuador set-up. 

The frontman scored in his country’s 1-1 draw with Uruguay which meant they qualified for the World Cup for the first time in their history in 2002. 

Having played against Croatia and Mexico that summer, Kaviedes made his biggest impact in Germany in 2006.

After defeating Poland in their opening game, Ecuador then beat Costa Rica 3-0, with Kaviedes scoring his first World Cup goal – and memorably celebrating by donning a yellow Spiderman mask in honour of his late teammate Otilino Tenorio, who was killed in a car crash in 2005. 

That strike helped Ecuador qualify for the last 16, where they were beaten 1-0 by England. 

(7) Aruna Dindane
Ivory Coast frontman Dindane failed to make a first team appearance during his brief stint with Palace at the back end of the 2012/13 season, but the former Anderlecht man certainly made a name for himself six years earlier in the 2006 World Cup. 

With his country trailing 2-0 to Serbia in a group stage encounter, Dindane inspired his team to a memorable 3-2 victory, scoring twice as the Ivorians rallied to pick up all three points.

However, previous defeats to the Netherlands and Argentina in a difficult group meant that the African nation came up just short in their bid to reach the knock-out stages of the competition. 

Four years later, following 10 goals in 24 games at then-Premier League side Portsmouth, Dindane was called up to the Ivory Coast squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Dindane started his country’s first two group games, against Portugal and Brazil, but they again finished third in their group, just one point behind Portugal. 

(6) Craig Moore
Moore represented Australia in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, scoring a penalty in the 2-2 group stage draw against Croatia as the Socceroos progressed to the second round, where they were controversially beaten by Italy. 

Although now 34 years of age, Moore was again included in the Australian party that went to the 2010 tournament in South Africa, playing in group stage clashes against Germany and Ghana as his country missed out on a place in the knock-out stages on goal difference. 

(5) Ashley Cole
Having spent a loan spell at Palace during his formative years with Arsenal, Cole progressed to become an England regular. 

After just four appearances for the under-21s, the left back was fast-tracked into the England senior team and, after making his Three Lions debut in March 2001, he played for England at the 2002, 2006 and 2010  World Cups.

Cole was an ever-present for England in Germany in 2006, making a crucial block in their second round match with Ecuador, deflecting Carlos Tenorio's shot onto the crossbar as his country held on for a 1-0 win. 

He made his 80th appearance for England in the 2010 World Cup against Algeria and in doing so surpassed John Barnes’ record of caps by a black English international.

(4) Steve Staunton
Versatile defender Staunton went to Italy with Jack Charlton’s squad as the Republic of Ireland competed in their first ever World Cup finals. 

Although he was the youngest member of that 1990 Irish party, Staunton played every game at left back as his country progressed to the quarter finals, where they were beaten by the host nation. 

Now 25, Staunton was picked again by Ireland ahead of their USA 1994 campaign, which saw them progress through the group stage before losing to the Netherlands in the second round. 

The defender was a late addition to the Republic of Ireland’s 2002 World Cup party following the acrimonious departure of Roy Keane, but he went on to play in each of his nation’s games, with the 1–1 group match draw against Germany on 5th June proving to be an historic occasion for the player, as he became the first Irishman to make 100 appearances for his country. 

Staunton was the first footballer to have reached a century of caps for the Republic of Ireland and is the only player to have played in every single one of Ireland's 13 World Cup finals games.

(3) Edgar Davids
Combative midfielder Davids made his debut for the Netherlands in April 1994 and although he represented the Oranje for 11 years, he appeared in just one World Cup during his illustrious career. 

However, the then-Juventus midfielder left his mark on the biggest stage of all during France 1998, playing in two of Guus Hiddink’s side’s group stage matches, before scoring a last-minute winner against Yugoslavia in the second round of the tournament. 

The Dutch ultimately missed out on a place in the final after an agonising penalty shootout defeat to Brazil at the semi-final stage, before losing to Croatia in the third place play-off. 

Davids though received the accolade of being named in the FIFA Team of the Tournament after turning in a string of fine performances during his six World Cup appearances. 

Twelve years later, following spells with Barcelona, Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and a return to Ajax, Davids spent a brief spell with Crystal Palace, playing seven games in all competitions between August and November 2010. 

(2) Tomas Brolin 
At the tender age of 20, Brolin was named in Sweden’s squad for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, having scored four goals in his first two international appearances against Wales and Finland. 

The young forward played in all three of Sweden’s group games, scoring in a 2-1 defeat against Brazil, with his displays earning him a move to Italian outfit Parma. 

Brolin was back in World Cup action in 1994, leading the line for Sweden as they surpassed all expectations in the United States of America. 

Having drawn their opening game with Cameroon, Brolin netted the equaliser in a 3-1 win over Russia, before an unexpected 1-1 draw with Brazil saw them progress to the second round.

Brolin starred again in a 3-1 triumph over Saudi Arabia, before scoring in a 2-2 draw with Romania at the quarter-final stage – when he also netted a penalty in a 5-4 shootout success. 

That meant the Swedes came up against their group rivals and eventual winners Brazil in the last four, where they were dumped out by Romario’s late winner. 

Brolin wasn’t done yet though, scoring Sweden’s opening goal in a crushing 4-0 win over Bulgaria to claim third place – and earn himself a spot in the World Cup All Star Team. 

(1) Ray Houghton
Houghton earns his place at number one in our list after scoring one of the Republic of Ireland’s greatest-ever World Cup goals.

The midfielder got his first taste of World Cup action at Italia ’90, playing in all three group games as his country progressed from a tough draw that saw them come up against England, Egypt and the Netherlands. 

Ireland took on Romania in the second round where, after a hard-fought 0-0 draw, Houghton scored his side’s second penalty in a memorable 5-4 shootout success, but they were ultimately knocked out by Italy at the quarter final stage. 

After playing in every game that year, Houghton was again called up by Jack Charlton for his squad that went to the United States in 1994 – and it was here that the then-Aston Villa man wrote his name into Irish folklore. 

In the 11th minute of the Group E match against old foes and eventual runners-up Italy, Houghton hit a stunning looping shot past Gianluca Pagliuca to give Ireland a shock 1-0 victory and gain revenge for that heart-breaking defeat four years earlier.  

That result helped the Republic progress to the knock-out stages, where they were beaten by a Dennis Bergkamp-inspired Netherlands. 

A year later, Houghton joined Palace, where he scored eight goals in 86 appearances. 

To watch our top 10 in action for their countries, sign up or log in to our award-winning online TV channel Palace Player!

Advertisement block