In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
28. Kevin De Bruyne (24) is regarded as one of Belgium’s crucial components, having helped propel his country to the FIFA World Cup™ last year, their first appearance at the tournament since Korea/Japan 2002. While in Brazil, the dynamic attacking midfielder made four appearances and scored a critical goal in Les Diables Rouges’ Round-of-16 clash with United States. He began his career with Genk, where he won the Belgian League, Belgian Cup and Belgian Super Cup, before signing for Chelsea, who then loaned him back to Genk and then to Werder Bremen. Upon his return to London, De Bruyne struggled to establish himself in the starting XI, and therefore put pen to paper with Wolfsburg in January 2014. During the season just past, the Belgian star was instrumental in Die Wölfe capturing the German Cup and finishing second in the Bundesliga, a performance that qualified the club for the UEFA Champions League.
29. Jason Davidson (24) took part in Brazil 2014 with Australia, playing in three group matches. Six months later, he lifted the 2015 AFC Asian Cup with the Socceroos, a first for the Australians. The versatile defender started out at Hume City, before exporting his skills to Portugal, where he turned out for Pacos de Ferreira and Sporting Covilha. After spells at Dutch side Heracles and English outfit West Bromwich Albion, Davidson recently dropped down a division to sign for Huddersfield Town.
30. Gary Pallister (50) participated in England’s successful qualifying campaign for France 1998, but was not included in Glenn Hoddle’s final squad. The towering centre-back rose to prominence with Middlesbrough, but it was under Alex Ferguson at Manchester United that he enjoyed the most successful period of his career, landing four English Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one English League Cup, five FA Charity Shields, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and a UEFA Super Cup.
1. Vladimir Petrovic (60) represented Yugoslavia at West Germany 1974 and Spain 1982, playing five times in total and scoring the winning goal against Honduras at the latter tournament. In between those two competitions, the Belgrade-born midfielder enjoyed the taste of victory at the 1978 UEFA European U-21 Championship. He turned professional at Red Star Belgrade, securing numerous national honours including a Yugoslav Footballer of the Year award, prior to pulling on the jerseys of Arsenal, Royal Antwerp, Brest, Standard Liege and Nancy. After hanging up his boots, he moved into coaching, notably leading Red Star to Yugoslav Cup glory and guiding Chinese outfit Dalian Shide to a league and cup double. Petrovic also coached the Serbian U-21 side that reached the final of the 2004 European U-21 Championship and competed at the 2004 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Athens, as well as the senior national teams of Serbia, Iraq and Yemen.
2. Alex Morgan (26) has developed into one of the key players currently performing for the United States’ women’s team, with whom she took part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, where the Stars and Stripes lost in the Final to Japan. The all-action striker is presently terrorising opposing defences at Canada 2015, having previously triumphed at the 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament and the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Last year, she added a CONCACAF Women’s Championship title to a CV that already features three Algarve Cups. At club level, Morgan claimed the WPS Championship with Western New York Flash in 2011. After a subsequent stint with Seattle Sounders, the energetic American joined Portland Thorns in January 2013 and won the inaugural NWSL Championship crown a few months later.
3. Paul Hall (43) made three appearances for Jamaica at the 1998 World Cup in France, the Caribbean nation’s first adventure on football’s greatest stage. The forward also made a significant contribution to his country’s long qualifying campaign, playing in eight matches. Hall defended the colours of numerous clubs in England, including Coventry City, Portsmouth, Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and Walsall.
4. Tony Popovic (42) starred for Australia at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2001 and 2005 FIFA Confederations Cups. The commanding centre-half also lifted three OFC Nations Cups during his international career, which began with appearances at the 1989 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the 1991 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 1992 Olympic Football Tournament. He started off at Sydney United, later plying his trade for Canberra (on loan), Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Crystal Palace, Al-Arabi (Qatar) and Sydney FC. After retiring, Popovic fulfilled the role of assistant coach at Sydney FC and Crystal Palace, prior to taking charge in his own right at Western Sydney Wanderers in 2012. Popovic then proceeded to steer the newly formed club to an unexpected double triumph, namely the 2012/13 A-League Premiership title and the 2014 AFC Champions League. The latter accomplishment enabled the 2014 AFC Coach of the Year and his charges to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.