The numbers in this world cup are surprising, to say the least.
200 of the 736 players summoned to Russia have been to the FIFA World Cup™ before. 186 were at Brazil 2014, 61 were at South Africa 2010, 21 were at Germany 2006 and one was at Korea/Japan 2002: Rafa Marquez, who will become just the fourth man to go to five editions of the tournament after Antonio Carbajal, Lothar Matthaus and Gigi Buffon.
100 percent of England’s players are based in their national league. The Three Lions are followed by Russia (21/23) and Saudi Arabia (20/23). Senegal and Sweden, on the other hand, didn’t pick a single player from their domestic championship, while Belgium, Iceland, Nigeria and Switzerland selected only one apiece. Seventy-four percent of the players at Russia 2018 are based in Europe.
53 of the squad members have a World Cup goal to their name. Thomas Muller (10) has the most, followed by James Rodriguez (6), Tim Cahill, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez (5).
Tim Cahill has scored five goals in three world cups, the most by any Australian
45 years and five months is the age that makes Essam El-Hadary the oldest player to ever make a World Cup squad. The Egypt goalkeeper was born over six years before the second-oldest player at Russia 2018 – Mexico’s Rafa Marquez – and is even older than three coaches: Aliou Cisse (Senegal), Mladen Krstajic (Serbia) and Roberto Martinez (Belgium). El-Hadary is hoping to outrank Colombia’s Faryd Mondragon (43 years and three days) and became the oldest man to play in the World Cup.
29 years is the huge age gap between Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez and his Senegal counterpart Aliou Cisse. The 71-year-old, who will become the second-oldest coach in World Cup history behind Otto Rehhagel, began his career in the dugout just a few years after Cisse was born.
19 years and five months is the comparatively old age that makes Australia winger Daniel Arzani the youngest player at Russia 2018. Femi Opabunmi (17 and two months), Theo Walcott (17 and three months), Christian Eriksen (18 years and four months) and Fabrice Olinga (18 years and one month) were the youngest players to go to 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups. The average age of the 736 players – almost 28 years old – is the oldest in the tournament’s history.
16 players make Manchester City the best-represented team at Russia 2018. The Premier League champions are followed by Real Madrid (15), Barcelona (14), Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur (12). England is the base for the most players (124), followed by Spain (81) and Germany (67).
16 is the number that makes Rafa Marquez and Javier Mascherano the Russia-bound players with the most World Cup appearances. They are followed by Lionel Messi (15), Mesut Ozil (14), Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo (13).
12 years is the absence from which two players return to the tournament. Randall Azofeifa appeared as a substitute in Costa Rica’s thrilling 4-2 loss to Germany, while Lukasz Fabianski was a non-playing back-up for Poland No1 Artur Boruc.
9 members of Germany’s Brazil 2014-conquering squad have been selected by Joachim Low this time around. Among those to miss out were Benedikt Howedes and Christoph Kramer, who started the Maracana Final, and Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze, who combined for the only goal in it. Vicente Del Bosque took 16 of Spain’s South Africa 2010 winners to the next World Cup.