With just three days to the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, did you know that only three players have scored three or more goals in three consecutive World Cups?
The three musketeers are Jurgen Klinsmann, Ronaldo “The Phenomenon,” and Miroslav Klose.
Continuing our series, we will look at the best players who wore the Number 3 shirt to the last three World Cup tournaments.
3. Asamoah Gyan (South Africa 2010)
The Number 3 shirt is more often worn by a left-back or a more defensively-inclined player but not in this case for the Black Stars as Asamoah Gyan warmed his way to the hearts of many fans of the game wearing the Number 3 shirt for Ghana.
The fleet-footed forward already held the proud record of scoring Ghana’s first-ever goal at the FIFA World Cup for his effort against the Czech Republic at the 2006 World Cup. Still, on the night when he could have etched his name into the history books, he missed the crucial penalty kick in stoppage time of extra time in the quarter-final against Uruguay. Ghanian and African hearts were broken when his effort came crashing thunderously against the crossbar.
He finished the tournament with three goals as the Black Stars of Ghana lost the resulting shootout 4-2 after Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah failed to convert.
2. Thiago Silva (Brazil 2014)
Brazil’s game against Colombia in the quarter-final was won by a stunning David Luiz free-kick from all 35 yards, and it sent the whole stadium into ecstasy. Still, ultimately, it was a game that would eventually prove to be costly.
The win came at the expense of two of Selecao’s most significant assets at both ends of the pitch. Thiago Silva was harshly shown a yellow card, his second of the tournament, which ruled Brazil’s Captain out of the game against Germany. They also lost Neymar to a brutal tackle.
Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany scandalously and clearly missed Silva’s calmness and defensive organization. Thiago picked up a goal and an assist from his center-back position as the hosts finished fourth on home soil.
1. Ivan Strinic (Russia 2018)
The Croatian team led by Luka Modric was one of the most enterprising teams at the 2018 World Cup. Often lining up in a 4-3-3, Croatia’s left-sided trio of Strinic, Modric, and Ivan Perisic often looked very dangerous.
Strinic looked unfazed against Argentine magician Lionel Messi when both sides faced off in the group stages. Throughout the tournament, he consistently provided solid defensive cover for his more offensive teammates. His ability to play comfortably as a left-sided center-back meant that coach Zlatko Dalic could switch seamlessly between a four-man defence and a three-man system.
Sadly, Strinic was forced to withdraw from football due to a diagnosed heart condition.