With just two days left on our countdown to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, here are some fun facts about the World Cup and the Number 2!
Did you know that only TWO continents have ever won the World Cup? Yes, you heard right. Europe and South America are the only privileged winners.
Did you know that six players represented two countries in the World Cup?
Luis Monti (Argentina in 1930 and Italy in 1934), Robert Prosinecki (Yugoslavia 1990, Croatia 1998), Robert Jarni (Yugoslavia in 1990, Croatia in 1998), José Santamaria (Uruguay in 1954 and Spain in 1962), Ferenc(Hungary in 1954 and Spain in 1962), Mazola (Brazil in 1958, Italy in 1962). Credit: https://historyofsoccer.info/world-cup-facts
Continuing our series, we will look at the best players who wore the Number 2 shirt to the last two World Cup tournaments.
2. Ezequiel Garay (Brazil 2014)
Argentina’s 6 feet 2-inch center-back was a key figure at the heart of defence for Coach Alejandro Sabella’s side as they fell just short of repeating the heroics of the 1986 team led by the iconic Diego Maradona.
Coming off the back of an impressive season with Benfica, where he bagged eight goals in forty-nine appearances, Garay made his World Cup debut in the 2-1 Group stage win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. He kept his cool in the semi-final shootout against the Netherlands and converted from the spot to book a place in the final for Argentina, their first in twenty-four years.
Sadly, he could only watch haplessly as Mario Goetze settled the tie late in extra time with an acrobatic effort that beat Sergio Romero.
1. Benjamin Pavard (Russia 2018)
Pavard made his World Cup debut in France’s hard-fought 2-1 win over the Socceroos of Australia in their opening group game. Despite being capable of playing as a center-back, he played primarily as a right-back for Les Bleus as they romped to becoming the World Cup champions.
He scored his first international goal against Argentina in a very entertaining Round of 16 game, ending 4-3 in favour of France. His goal came from a fantastic half-volley that flew into the top corner and was hit with so much power and technique that a combination of Oliver Kahn and Buffon may not have been alert enough to keep out the effort.
The goal was voted the goal of the tournament and also got a nomination for the Puskas Award later that year.