How often have clubmates faced each other in the World Cup final? | The Knowledge | Football


“How often have clubmates faced each other in the World Cup final?” asks Mukhtar Khan.

Here’s Ben Cordes with an impressively thorough response. “The first domestic teammates to play on opposite sides in a World Cup final were Stuttgart’s José Basualdo (Argentina) and Guido Buchwald (West Germany) in 1990. The 1998 final between France and Brazil was the first instance with multiple examples: Ronaldo and Youri Djorkaeff (Internazionale), Leonardo and Marcel Desailly (Milan) plus Roberto Carlos and Christian Karembeu (Real Madrid).

“In 2006, Juventus contributed eight players to the line-ups, the most ever from a single club. They were: Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro del Piero, Mauro Camoranesi, Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy); and Patrick Viera, Lilian Thuram, David Trezeguet (France). Netherlands v Spain in 2010 saw the first Premier League clubmates facing off. Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt and Fernando Torres, as well as Arsenal’s Robin van Persie and Spanish substitute Cesc Fàbregas. In 2014, Lazio’s Miroslav Klose (Germany) prevailed over club colleague Lucas Biglia (Argentina).”

Fernando Torres (right) and Dirk Kuyt take part in their first Liverpool training session after returning from the World Cup, where they faced each other in the 2010 final.

Fernando Torres (right) and Dirk Kuyt take part in their first Liverpool training session after returning from the World Cup, where they faced each other in the 2010 final. Photograph: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Perhaps it’s no surprise that this is becoming a more regular occurrence. As Ben points out, in 2018 there were three Spanish clubs involved as France played Croatia: Atlético Madrid (Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernández, Sime Vrsaljko), Real Madrid (Raphaël Varane, Luka Modric) and Barcelona (Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Rakitic).

Mike Meehall-Wood has more examples, including 2010, where extra-time substitute Rafael van der Vaart came on to face Real Madrid teammates Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos (Xabi Alonso started the game but had already been substituted). Mike also offers an example from 2002, when Brazil defender Lucio took on Leverkusen teammates Carsten Ramelow, Bernd Schneider and Oliver Neuville, six weeks after playing alongside them in the Champions League final. Lucio was on the winning side in Yokohoma, as Brazil beat Germany 2-0.

Japan defender Aya Sameshima won the 2011 Women’s World Cup during a brief stint at Boston Breakers, defeating clubmates Rachel Beuhler, Lauren Cheney and Amy LePelbeit in the final against USA. And in 2007, Martina Müller came off the bench for Germany while her Wolfsburg colleague, Cristiane, was on the field for Brazil.

Friday night lights

“My hometown club, Southend United, used to play a very large number of home games on a Friday night. The reason, I was told, is that attendance really suffered on Saturdays when West Ham (an hour’s train to Upton Park, back in the day) were also at home. This got me wondering, which team in the top four divisions of English football has played most games on a Friday night?” asks Dean Collins.

“I couldn’t give an exact figure, but from the 1960s onwards, due to their geographical proximity to both Liverpool and Everton, a lot of Tranmere Rovers’ home fixtures were played on a Friday,” writes Matt McCann. “They played the night before to try and attract fans of those clubs and I’m guessing they would have played more Friday night games than anyone else in the league.

“This springs to mind chiefly because of a (probably apocryphal) story about the legendary troubadours Half Man Half Biscuit. Sometime in the early 1980s, the band were asked to appear live on Channel 4’s the Tube but, as the show went out at 6pm on Friday the band, who were staunch Rovers fans, declined the invitation as it would clash with the home game against Scunthorpe on the same night.

“The story goes that the producers of the show were so keen to employ the services of the band, that a helicopter was offered to ferry the lads back from Newcastle in order for them to see the game. They still turned them down as they would have missed the opening stages of the game. HMHB would eventually go on to appear on the Tube, performing the classic ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit’ [it should have been Friday Nights And The Gates Are Low – Knowledge Ed]. As far as I am aware, Tranmere beat Scunthorpe 2-1.”

We haven’t been able to come up with an exact number of Tranmere’s Friday night games but considering they have regularly played on that day for over almost 60 years, it is hard to imagine any other club has more Fridays under their belt. “My fag packet calculation would be that, if they played 75% of their 23 home games per season on a Friday, over the course of 20 seasons, you’d be looking at 200-plus Friday night games,” reckons Mike Meehall Wood. 

Meanwhile, John Tumbridge has written in to point out that the reason he was given for Southend playing on Fridays was that “in the 80s when I worked nearby, I was told it was to avoid clashing with the Saturday market”. Other teams have experimented with Friday night football but they haven’t stuck with it for long. Scarborough tried it in 1990 but pulled in only 625 fans against Wrexham, the fourth tier’s lowest ever attendance.

City’s fastest five

“Glynn Marshall points out that Leicester were 4-0 up on the 15-minute mark and that this is the fastest a Premier League team has been 4-0 up,” writes Miles Macklin. “However, Bernardo Silva put Manchester City 4-0 up after 15 minutes in the 8-0 win over Watford earlier this year, so I wondered if you could confirm the exact timings of these goals.”

We haven’t been able to confirm the exact minutes and seconds for these goals but Opta did not flag the 4-0 lead as being faster than that of Leicester’s in 1998. They did, however, confirm that the fifth goal, scored by Nicolás Otamendi in the 18th minute, sealed the Premier League record for the quickest team to lead 5-0.


5 – Manchester City’s five goals after just 18 minutes is the fastest any side has ever gone 5-0 ahead in a @premierleague match in the competition’s history. Ridiculous.

September 21, 2019

Knowledge archive

“Noticing Stephen Shepherd’s story last week about half of Gillingham’s side not making the Orient game due to traffic, are there any other infamous cases of a side not arriving on time for the game?” asked Kevin Meadowcroft in October 2011.

Here’s one answer from Rob Davies: “This story does not concern a team but rather an individual, Ishmael Demontagnac, who during the festive programme of 2005-06 stayed in bed for Walsall’s trip to Bristol City on 2 January 2006, instead of getting the team bus. Apparently he thought there was no game that day and that it was his day off. Walsall lost 3- 0.”

Knowledge archive

Can you help?

Jerry Higgins

We all know some former players walk straight into managerial roles at the top level. Following on from Raheem Sterling’s comments yesterday what is the highest placed club in the UK a BAME manager has had as their first managerial role?

June 9, 2020

“Has anyone waited longer between scoring on their debut and their second goal than Charlton Athletic’s Peter Reeves?” asks Marlon Seton.

Agostinho Lagostim

Lowest tier team to ever play a european competition.

June 9, 2020


Kingsley Coman is about to win his 8th league title in a row, he’s almost 24. Has anyone else won 8 league titles by age 24 or first 8 years as a pro? Celtic or Rangers player possibly. Zlatan had a similar record (8) but w/ Juve and Calciopoli he had 04/05 & 05/06 revoked.

June 9, 2020

Chris van Thomas

What dreadful debut stories are there? Sent off after a min? Two own goals? etc

June 9, 2020

“Seeing as we would have reached the point of some teams having nothing to play for. It got me thinking. Surely there must have been some thrilling dead-rubber over the years?” wonders Vincent Ely.

Ben Chia

Nearly all footballers these days start out as kids from academies. But has there been a footballer who did so as a career switch? (I.e. had a reasonable tenure in a non-football job before kicking a ball professionally)

June 9, 2020

“Sheffield Wednesday have visited Huddersfield eight times (seven in the league and one play-off semi-final) without conceding. Is there a record for them to chase or do they already hold it?” asks Richard Askham.

Send your questions and answers to or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU.


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