World Football

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!
© 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.

17. Anders Svensson(40) represented Sweden at two consecutive FIFA World Cup™ tournaments: Korea/Japan 2002, where he played in all of his country’s fixtures and scored a goal against Argentina, and Germany 2006, where he made one appearance. In addition, the creative midfielder participated in three successive UEFA European Championships, in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Svensson played for just two clubs during his career, namely Elfsborg, with whom he captured two Swedish League titles and a Swedish Cup in two separate spells, and English outfit Southampton.

18. Hege Riise(47) took part in the first four FIFA Women’s World Cup™ contests with Norway, reaching the final at China 1991 and lifting the illustrious trophy at Sweden 1995, where she was awarded the adidas Golden Ball. In total, the incisive midfielder played in 22 Women’s World Cup matches, scoring nine times. She starred in two Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments, picking up a bronze medal in 1996 and winning a gold in 2000. The Lorenskog native also played in five UEFA Women’s Championships, emerging victorious once and reaching another final. In 1995, she was named Norwegian Women’s Footballer of the Year.

19. Rene Houseman(63)showcased his skills with Argentina at two World Cups, scoring three goals in six encounters in 1974, and playing in six of La Albiceleste’s seven matches in 1978, as they held aloft the trophy on home soil. After starting out in his homeland at Defensores de Belgrano, the talented South American pulled on the jerseys of Huracan, River Plate, Colo Colo (Chile), Amazulu (South Africa) and Independiente.

20. Roger Hunt(78) made six appearances in England’s World Cup-winning campaign in 1966, scoring three goals in the group stage. Two years later, the prolific striker was part of the Three Lions side that finished third at EURO 1968. At club level, he made his name at Liverpool, amassing two English League titles, an FA Cup, an English second division championship and two FA Charity Shields. Hunt later donned the colours of Bolton Wanderers.

21. Johnny Acosta(33) helped Costa Rica to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where he played in the Round of 16 and the quarter-finals, but could not prevent his nation from being eliminated by the Netherlands on penalties. The experienced centre-back also appeared at two CONCACAF Gold Cups and two Copa America tournaments. Acosta began his career at Santos de Guapiles, before moving to Alajuelense and then to Mexican outfit Dorados.

22. Rene Vandereycken(63) was a member of Belgium’s squad at Spain 1982, where he remained on the bench, and at Mexico 1986, where he played in two matches as *Les Diables Rouges *finished fourth. The midfielder also appeared at two European Championships, scoring a goal against Germany in the final in 1980. He rose to prominence at Club Brugge, with whom he claimed four Belgian League titles and a Belgian Cup, and reached the final of the European Cup and UEFA Cup. The Belgian international then joined Anderlecht, where he secured two further league crowns and made it to another UEFA Cup final. Vandereycken later turned his hand to coaching, taking charge of, among others, Gent, Standard Liege, Anderlecht, Genk, Mainz, Twente and the Belgian national side.

23. Andy Townsend(53) starred for Ireland at the 1990 World Cup, where he played in all five of his country’s games as they reached the quarter-finals, and at USA 1994, where he and his team-mates reached the Round of 16. The bustling midfield man spent his entire career in England, with clubs such as Aston Villa, where he lifted two English League Cups, Southampton, Chelsea, Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion.

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