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Our players at the World Cup

With the World Cup starting on Sunday, I thought I'd have a look at what players have played in the World Cup whilst they were Newcastle United players and how they got on.

In 1950, Jackie Milburn and George Robledo were our first players to go to the tournament when they were selected for England and Chile respectively with both nations having been drawn in Group 2. Both of them were eliminated at the first hurdle although Robledo did score as Chile beat the USA 5-2 in the final round of group games but both would taste FA Cup success with us in both of the next two seasons. As for Milburn, his only ever World Cup appearance came in England's 1-0 loss to group winners Spain, which confirmed an early exit for Walter Winterbottom's side.

Neither of them went to the 1954 tournament as Milburn wasn't named in the England squad and Chile didn't qualify but Ivor Broadis played in all four of England's games, scoring twice in a 4-4 draw against Belgium in the group stages. The Three Lions went further than they did four years earlier but were beaten 4-2 by defending champions Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

In 1958, Alf McMichael, Dick Keith and Tommy Casey were all selected for Northern Ireland as they qualified for the first time. McMichael and Keith started in all five of their games (which included a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Czechoslovakia in the first round of group games) as they reached the quarter-finals, where they were beaten 4-0 by France. Casey started when they held defending champions West Germany to a 2-2 draw in the group stages and in the defeat to France but didn't get a goal.

There wouldn't be another Magpies player at the World Cup until 1986, when David McCreery and Ian Stewart were all selected for Northern Ireland and Peter Beardsley was selected for England. McCreery and Stewart played all three games as Billy Bingham's side went out in the group stages after a draw against Algeria and defeats to Brazil and Spain. Beardsley came off the bench in England's 1-0 loss to Portugal in the first round of group games and didn't feature as Bobby Robson's side drew 0-0 with Morocco but played 75 minutes in a crucial 3-0 win over Poland, which sealed their place in the knockout stages. He scored in a 3-0 win over Paraguay in the round of 16 before playing the whole of that famous quarter-final against Argentina, which saw Diego Maradona score the "Hand of God goal" before a spectacular solo goal four minutes later as the South Americans won 2-1 and would go on to lift the trophy.

Roy Aitken was selected for Scotland's 1990 squad and having been made captain when we signed him from Celtic halfway through the previous season, he was also named captain for the Scots and played all three games as they were eliminated in the group stages. Despite our 3rd place finish the previous season, none of our players were selected for the 1994 tournament (which probably wasn't helped by England's failure to qualify whilst Czech Republic not qualifying either meant that Pavel Srníček also wouldn't be going), although Philippe Albert did sign for us from Anderlecht later that summer, having scored in Belgium's games against Holland and Germany.

In 1998, David Batty, Alan Shearer and Rob Lee were selected for England. Batty and Shearer started in all the group games with the latter opening the scoring in a 2-0 win over Tunisia in the first round of group games whilst Lee came on for Darren Anderton in another 2-0, this time against Colombia to seal a place in the knockout stages for Glenn Hoddle's side. Shearer netted a penalty against Argentina in the round of 16 but his elbow on goalkeeper Carlos Roa in extra time ruled out a golden goal winner by Sol Campbell and despite him scoring from twelve yards again in the shoot-out, Batty saw his kick saved to end English hopes of winning the tournament.

Shearer had retired from international football by the time the 2002 tournament came around but we had Kieron Dyer named in the England squad whilst Shay Given and Andy O'Brien were called up by Ireland. Dyer had suffered knee ligament challenge after a horrible challenge from Tahar El Khalej in our final day 3-1 loss at Southampton but recovered in time to play and made three substitute appearances as Sven-Göran Eriksson's outfit were beaten 2-1 by eventual winners Brazil in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, O'Brien didn't make an appearance for Ireland but Given did play every minute for Mick McCarthy's side as they reached the knockout stages despite Roy Keane pulling out the squad after a bust-up with the manager, only to lose to Spain on penalties in the round of 16.

Michael Owen's first season on Tyneside saw him miss four months after breaking a metatarsal bone against Tottenham Hotspur on New Year's Eve but he was still named in the England squad for the 2006 tournament but he tore his ACL in the first minute of their group game against Sweden, this led to him missing almost all of the 2006-07 season for us as well as the round of 16 win over Ecuador and the quarter-final against Portugal, which saw the Three Lions lose on penalties. Centre-backs Craig Moore and Jean-Alain Boumsong were both selected for Australia and France respectively despite disappointing 2005-06 campaigns for us, Boumsong didn't play a single game as France reached the final but lost to rivals Italy on penalties but Moore started all of Australia's games and scored a penalty in a 2-2 draw with Croatia as the Socceroos qualified for the knockout stages for the first time. Guus Hiddink's side were eliminated in the round of 16 as a 95th minute Francesco Totti penalty meant they were beaten 1-0 by the Italians.

Despite spending the 2009-10 season in the Championship with us, Jonás Gutiérrez was selected for Argentina for the 2010 tournament but was suspended for their final group game against Greece after being booked in the wins against Nigeria and South Korea. He came on as a substitute for Ángel Di María in a 3-1 win over Mexico in the round of 16 but was an unused substitute as Diego Maradona's side were beaten 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals.

Six players that had spent the 2013-14 season on Tyneside were picked for their countries for the 2014 tournament - Tim Krul for Holland, Cheick Tioté for the Ivory Coast, Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko and Loïc Rémy for France and Shola Ameobi for Nigeria. Ameobi's departure from the club was confirmed three weeks before the tournament started and he only made two substitute appearances without scoring as Stephen Keshi's side were eliminated by France in the round of 16. Sissoko did get a goal as France beat Switzerland 5-2 in the second round of group games whilst Debuchy started all their games apart from the final group game against Ecuador after Didier Deschamps' side sealed their place in the knockout stages but Rémy only made substitute appearances against Ecuador and in their 1-0 loss to eventual winners Germany in the quarter-finals, replacing ex Magpie Yohan Cabaye. Debuchy would join Arsenal soon after the tournament ended and Rémy's loan move from Queens Park Rangers was not made permanent as he joined Chelsea later that summer.

Tioté started all three of the Ivory Coast's games as they were eliminated in the group stages for a third consecutive time after losing 2-1 to Greece in the final round of group games as a Georgios Samaras penalty denied Sabri Lamouchi's side a place in the knockout stages. However, despite being second choice behind Jasper Cillessen in the Dutch side, Tim Krul produced one of the best moments of the tournament when he was brought on as their quarter-final against Costa Rica was about to go to penalties and saved Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umaña's kicks to seal a semi-final against Argentina for Louis Van Gaal's side but he didn't get the chance to reproduce his heroics when that game also went to penalties and they were eliminated but he did return to Tyneside with a third place medal after they beat hosts Brazil 3-0 in the third place play-off.

Only Aleksandar Mitrović, who was out of favour with manager Rafael Benítez, went to the 2018 tournament as he was called up for Serbia. They were eliminated in the knockout stages but he did score in a 2-1 loss to Switzerland before he joined Fulham permanently after helping to them win promotion in successful loan spell at Craven Cottage in the second half of the 2017-18 season. With Serbia and Switzerland in the same group once again for the 2022 tournament, Fabian Schär, who joined us from Deportivo La Coruña four days before Mitrović left, could face the striker again on 2 December whilst Brazil are also in their group game for the second consecutive World Cup so Bruno Guimarães could also face the pair of them. Meanwhile, Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson have been called up for England and could come up against our former right-back DeAndre Yedlin on 25 November as he has been selected for the USA, having missed out on playing in the World Cup whilst he was a Magpies player as they failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament. 18 year old Garang Kuol, who is set to join us from Central Coast Mariners in January, will also be going after he became the youngest ever player to be selected for an Australian World Cup squad so hopefully we'll know more about what he could bring to us. Good luck to all six of them (especially the English lads) and hopefully none of them will pick up any injuries with our season resuming soon after the tournament ends.



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