With just six days left before the 2022 World Cup, did you know that only six host countries have ever won the World Cup?
Continuing our series, we will review six of the best players who wore the Number 6 shirt at the last six World Cup tournaments.
6. Roberto Carlos (France 98)
Brazil’s left-back scored a goal against France in 1997 from a free kick which has been described as the best. Luckily for the French, he could not replicate the same feat when both teams met in the final in a game where France won 3-0.
FIFA’s Technical Study Group selected Carlos as the best left-back in the tournament. The sturdy Brazilian possessed a cultured left foot capable of unleashing unstoppable scorchers from long range. Nicknamed, The Bullet Man, Carlos’s free-kick was measured at 105 miles per hour.
5. Roberto Carlos (Korea/Japan 2002)
Such was the consistency of Roberto Carlos that he carried on his impressive form for Brazil to the 2002 World Cup, where he was part of the team that wiped out the painful memory of defeat by France in 1998.
Regarded by many as the most offensive Left-back in the game’s history, Carlos played six matches at the 2002 World Cup and scored a trademark free-kick against China. Again, he was selected by FIFA’s Technical Study Group as the best left-back.
4. Claude Makelele (Germany 2006)
In 2005, Makelele was persuaded to come out of his international retirement to help France qualify for the 2006 World Cup. Makelele was a very combative and tireless player who served mainly as a defensive screen for his more offensive teammates.
His partnership with Patrick Vieira at the heart of Les Bleus’ midfield proved very effective as they conceded just three goals and kept four clean sheets en route finishing second to the eventual winners, Italy.
3. Andreas Iniesta (South Africa 2010)
Iniesta wrote his name into Spanish folklore when he controlled a perfectly-weighted Cesc Fabregas pass to break the deadlock in extra time against the Netherlands. He earned a yellow card for taking off his shirt as the ball hit the bottom of the net.
His quick feet, agility, close control, vision, and insane ability to keep the ball glued to his feet earned him a deserved place in the Dream Team of the Tournament, which was decided by an online vote. He scored two goals and grabbed two Man-of-the-match awards, including the final.
2. Sami Khedira (Brazil 2014)
Khedira made a miraculous comeback from a torn ACL injury to be included in Germany’s squad for the showpiece in Brazil. He started the game against Portugal as the Germans laid down a marker by brushing aside Portugal 4-0.
On July 8, he was on the positive side of history as he scored the fifth goal in Germany’s 7-1 rout of the host country, Brazil. He picked up an injury in the Pre-match warmup for the final, but that did not deter the Germans from winning a tightly-contested game 1-0 in extra time.
1. Paul Pogba (Russia 2018)
Paul Pogba’s fierce left-footed strike in the final against Croatia was the first goal scored outside the box in a World Cup final since Italy’s Marco Tardelli did it in 1982. He also became the first English Premier League player after compatriot Emmanuel Petit to score in the final of World football’s showpiece event.
Pogba completed 82% of his passes, including a delightful pass for Kylian Mbappe’s goal.