World Footbal

Happy Birthday to you!

Fatmire Bajramaj holds up the trophy
© Getty Images

In our regular Sunday feature, presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.

30. Anatoliy Tymoschuk (35)played a key role in Ukraine’s historic qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, where the tournament debutants reached the quarter-finals. He also took part in his country’s maiden UEFA European Championship campaign, in 2012. The deep-lying midfielder spent two seasons at Volyn Lutsk, before signing for Shakhtar Donetsk, where he won three Ukrainian League titles, three Ukrainian Cups and a Ukrainian Super Cup. A decade later, he crossed the border to join Zenit St. Petersburg, securing the Russian Championship, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup soon after. The combative international’s fine performances attracted the attention of Bayern Munich, with whom he went on to claim two Bundesliga crowns, two German Cups, two German Super Cups and a UEFA Champions League title. At the beginning of this current season, he returned to Zenit. In terms of individual accolades, Tymoschuk was named Ukrainian Footballer of the Year three times – in 2002, 2006 and 2007.

31. Stephen Tataw (51) helped Cameroon to qualify for Italy 1990, where Les *Lions Indomptables *surprised the watching world by attaining the quarter-finals. The influential right-back did not enjoy the same success at USA 1994, as he and his compatriots failed to advance past the group stage. In between those two prestigious competitions, Tataw finished fourth at the 1992 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

1. Fatmire Alushi (26) lifted the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007™ with Germany and reached the quarter-finals on home soil four years later. She also earned a bronze medal at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 2008, having previously appeared at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2006. In addition, she scooped winners’ medals at the 2006 UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship and at its senior equivalent (in 2009 and 2013). The attacking midfielder began her career with Duisburg, where she landed the UEFA Women’s Champions League title and the Frauen DFB-Pokal, and finished second in the Bundesliga no fewer than four times. A subsequent move to Turbine Potsdam saw her add a second Champions League crown and two national league championships to her CV. In 2011, Bajramaj put pen to paper with FFC Frankfurt, propelling her new team-mates to the final of the Champions League and the German Cup later that season.

2. Miralem Pjanic (24) is regarded as one of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s most talented players, a status he confirmed during the Balkan nation’s momentous qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014, during which they made up for previously falling at the final play-off hurdle prior to South Africa 2010. The skilful midfield man came through the ranks at Metz, where his excellent form persuaded Lyon to acquire his services in 2008. Following three productive seasons at Stade de Gerland, Pjanic committed himself to Roma, his current club.

3. Sasa Ognenovski (35) recently contributed towards Australia’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup, and will be hopeful of being included in the Socceroos’ final squad. He also reached the final of the AFC Asian Cup in 2011. The robust centre-back started out at Preston Lions, prior to pulling on the jerseys of Melbourne Knights, Greek outfit Panachaiki, Queensland Roar and Adelaide United, with whom he appeared at the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup. A transfer to South Korean outfit Seongnam FC proved fruitful for the Melbourne-born defender, who not only lifted the ACF Champions League trophy and Korean Cup, but earned the AFC Asian Footballer of the Year award. He was also part of the Seongnam team that reached the semi-finals of the Club World Cup in 2010. Ognenovski later played for Qatari side Umm-Salal and Sydney FC, his present employers.

4. Rene Girard (60) may have only won a handful of caps for France, but he can look back with pride on his experiences at Spain 1982, where he scored in the match for third place versus Poland (2-3). The defensive midfielder defended the colours of Nimes and Bordeaux during his playing days, after which he pursued a varied coaching career, taking charge of Nimes, Pau, Strasbourg, France’s U-16,U-19 and U-21 sides, Montpellier and Lille.

5. Marius Lacatus (50) competed at two World Cups for Romania: Italy 1990, where he played three matches and scored twice in a 2-0 victory over the Soviet Union, and France 1998, where he made two appearances. The explosive forward also starred at UEFA EURO 1996. A product of Brasov’s youth system, he made his name at Steaua Bucharest, with whom he clinched ten Romanian League titles, six Romanian Cups, three Romanian Super Cups, a European Cup and a European Super Cup during two separate spells with the former army club. In between time, Lacatus represented Fiorentina and Real Oviedo, and later brought the curtain down on his career with National Bucharest. After turning his hand to coaching, he took the reins at Arad, Steaua, Vaslui, Targu Mures and CSMS Lasi, among others.

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