World Football

Happy Birthday to you!

Mesut Oezil looks on during the German National team training session
© 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.

11. Renate Lingor(40) represented Germany at three FIFA Women’s World Cup™ tournaments, lifting the trophy in 2003 and 2007. In addition, the talented midfielder helped the Germans to claim two UEFA European Women’s Championships, in 2001 and 2005, and competed at the first four Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments, picking up bronze medals at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. Lingor spent the majority of her club career at FFC Frankfurt, where she amassed two UEFA Women’s Cups, five Bundesliga titles and five German Cups.

12. Christian Stuani(29) took part in all of Uruguay’s matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, including his country’s Round-of-16 defeat by Colombia. The imposing striker also appeared at the 2015 Copa America. At club level, he started out at Danubio, who loaned him out to Bella Vista, where he topped the second division scoring charts. Upon returning to the Equipo de la Curva, he bagged a Uruguayan Championship and attracted the interest of clubs in Europe, including Reggina, who secured his signature in early 2008. Loan spells at Albacete, Levante, Racing Santander and Espanyol followed, as did a permanent move to the Barcelona-based side. This summer, Stuani put pen to paper with English outfit Middlesbrough.

13. Akemi Noda(46) participated in the first two Women’s World Cups with Japan, at China PR 1991 and Sweden 1995, where she scored two goals that helped her nation to advance to the quarter-finals for the very first time. The midfielder later starred at the 1996 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, where she notched one of Japan’s two goals.

14. Alex Scott(31) donned the jersey of England at three successive Women’s World Cups, namely China PR 2007, Germany 2011 and Canada 2015, where she and her team-mates finished third. The energetic full-back also appeared at three European Women’s Championships, finishing second in 2009, and at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. After coming through the ranks at Arsenal, Scott won a number of national trophies as well as the 2007 UEFA Women’s Cup, a tournament that she capped off with a goal in the final. Following a spell in the United States with Boston Breakers, the London-born defender returned to Arsenal in 2012.

15. Mesut Ozil(27) helped Germany to recapture the World Cup at Brazil 2014, finding the net in the process, having previously been a part of the team that finished third on football’s greatest stage in 2010. The dynamic attacking midfielder also took part in UEFA EURO 2012 and the 2009 UEFA European U-21 Championship. He turned professional at Schalke, prior to lifting the German Cup with Werder Bremen. In 2010, the creative playmaker joined Real Madrid, where, over four productive seasons, he clinched the La Liga title, the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup. Ozil then committed himself to current club Arsenal, with whom he has since hoisted two FA Cups and an FA Community Shield.

16. Cristian Riveros(33) starred for Paraguay at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010, making seven appearances in total and scoring in the group stage at the latter tournament. The defensive midfielder also competed at two Copa America contests, losing the 2011 final to Uruguay. Riveros initially defended the colours of Tacuary, Sportivo San Lorenzo and Libertad, with whom he landed the Paraguayan title. He subsequently turned out for Cruz Azul (Mexico), Sunderland (England), Kayserispor (Turkey) and Gremio (Brazil). At the turn of the year, Riveros returned home to sign for Paraguayan giants Olimpia.

17. Kenneth Omeruo(22) played in all of Nigeria’s matches at Brazil 2014, after having held aloft the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, a victory that enabled him to qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup later that year. As a younger man, the rangy centre-half showcased his defensive skills at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where the Nigerians reached the final, and the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. A product of Standard Liege’s youth system, Omeruo signed his first professional contract with Chelsea, who then loaned him out to Den Haag, Middlesbrough and Kasimpasa.

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