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Palace's Top 10 World Cup Performers

14 June 2018

Many players who have pulled on the red and blue stripes at some point in their careers have made a huge impact at the World Cup, for various nations scattered all across the globe.

Many players who have pulled on the red and blue stripes at some point in their careers have made a huge impact at the World Cup, for various nations scattered all across the globe.

Here we count down the 10 ex-Eagles who have made the biggest contributions or produced the most memorable moments during one or multiple tournaments.

10. Gregg Berhalter

The first player to make a World Cup appearance while contracted to the club, Berhalter was part of the USA 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 stage, 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 where he helped the Three Lions progress to the second group stage where they were eliminated 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 to draw with Morocco and beat Poland, with Sansom helping England keep consecutive clean sheets in those matches as they progressed to the knockouts. 

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 Diego 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, the Ecuadorian played for 19 clubs in his career including Palace briefly in 2004, but it was on the international stage where he made his biggest impacts.

The frontman scored the goal that sent Ecuador to the 2002 edition, and after playing in all three group games there, he was again selected 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. 

That strike helped Ecuador qualify for the last-16, where they were beaten 1-0 by England thanks to a David Beckham free-kick.

7. Aruna Dindane

Ivory Coast frontman Dindane failed to make a first-team appearance during his brief stint with Palace in 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 and Montenegro 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 knockout stages of the competition. 

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

6. 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 went on to win 107 caps for England to surpass Sansom and become England’s most capped full-back in history, but after not being selected for the 2014 tournament in Brazil, he called time on his international career.

5. Steve Staunton

Another former Palace loanee, Staunton went to Italy in 1990 as the Republic of Ireland competed in their first ever World Cup finals, and played every game at left-back as his country progressed to the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by the host nation. 

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’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.

A 1-1 group match draw against Germany proved to be a historic occasion for the player, as he became the first Irishman to make 100 appearances for his country, and is the only player to have played in every single one of the country’s 13 World Cup finals games.

4. Mile Jedinak

The Aussie made club history when he became the first Palace player to score at a World Cup finals in Brazil four years ago, but his first appearance at the tournament came in 2010 when he came on as a substitute against Germany during the group stages.

By 2014 he was skippering the Socceroos, and played in Australia’s opening game defeat to Chile before they came up against Holland. With the scores locked at 1-1, the Aussies were awarded a penalty and Jedinak stepped up to fire it into the net to put his side in front, and create Palace history.

However, they would eventually succumb to a 3-2 defeat to the Dutch, and a 3-0 defeat to Spain saw Jedinak’s team eliminated by finishing bottom of the group.

He has the chance to do better this summer, having been selected for the Australia squad that will travel to Russia on the back of his displays for Aston Villa.

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. 

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. 

2. Tomas Brolin 

At the tender age of 20, Brolin was named in Sweden’s squad for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, and he played in all three group games as well as score against Brazil, earning him a move to Parma. 

He was back in World Cup action in 1994, leading the line for Sweden as they surpassed all expectations in the USA. 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, but Sweden exited in the semi-finals by Brazil after a late Romario winner. 

The future Eagle wasn’t done yet though, and scored 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 before 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. 

After also playing in their eventual exit to Italy, Houghton was again called up by Jack Charlton for his squad that went to the USA in 1994, and it was there 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 the Republic a shock 1-0 victory and gain revenge for that heart-breaking defeat four years earlier.  

That result helped them advance to the knockout stages, where they were beaten by a Dennis Bergkamp-inspired Netherlands. 

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