When Hellas Verona centre forward and captain Luca Toni took to the field last Saturday against Burnley he became the latest member of a small and very exclusive club, non-English players who have graced Turf Moor with a World Cup medal in their trophy cabinet.
Toni was a member of the Italy squad who won the World Cup in 2006, when the Italians overcame France 5-3 on penalties in Berlin, after the match had finished 1-1 after extra time. Oddly enough Toni, who played all 120 minutes of the final, didn’t take a penalty, but he wasn’t needed as all five were unerringly dispatched. This was the final of course when France’s Zinedine Zidane was sent off for the infamous head butt to the midriff of Marco Materazzi.
The previous World Cup winner to appear at Turf Moor was France’s Patrick Vieira who assisted Emmanuel Petit’s goal in his country’s 3-0 win in the 1998 final against Brazil in Paris. However, although Vieira was known mainly as an Arsenal player during his career in England, it was whilst he was playing for Manchester City that he appeared at Turf Moor as a World Cup winner. He scored City’s fourth goal in their 6-1 demolition of the Clarets in April 2010. Burnley fans will recall that this match hit the headlines following reports that Kevin McDonald had adjourned to a local hostelry to watch the rest of the match after his half time substitution.
In January 2008 there were two World Cup winners in the Arsenal side who defeated the Clarets 2-0 at Turf Moor in a televised FA Cup third round tie. Slovakian defender Stanislav Varga made his Clarets’ debut, on loan from Sunderland, whilst Kyle Lafferty was sent off on the hour for a wild tackle. Gunners’ midfielders Gilberto Silva and Denilson both appeared in the 2002 final when Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in Yokohama, Japan. Gilberto played the whole of the final, whilst Denilson was used as a very late substitute.
Another member of France’s victorious side of 1998 was Youri Djorkaeff who came on as a second half sub to replace Patrick Vieira. Djorkaeff joined Bolton Wanderers from Kaiserslautern in 2002 and played when the Trotters drew 1-1 at Turf Moor in a pre-season friendly in July 2002.
A third member of France’s 1998 World Cup winning side has also played at Turf Moor. Emmanuel Petit began his career in England with Arsenal, before joining Chelsea in 2001 after a season with Barcelona. One of Petit’s first appearances for the Blues was at Turf Moor in August 2001, when he featured alongside future Claret Jon Harley in a 2-1 win for the visitors.
So there are just six members of this exclusive club, non-English World Cup winners at Turf Moor, although two more World Cup winners appeared here before their day of ultimate football glory. Winger Jurgen Grabowski was a key member of the Eintracht Frankfurt side which knocked Burnley out of the European Fairs Cup in 1967. Grabowski went on to lift the World Cup with West Germany in 1974, when the Netherlands were beaten 2-1 in the final in Munich.
Finally, undoubtedly the most famous name in this round-up also played at Turf Moor before twice going on to be a World Cup winner. Winger Garrincha “the little wren” was in the Brazilian World Cup winning sides of both 1958 and 1962, when first Sweden were beaten 5-2 in Stockholm, Sweden, then Czechoslovakia were overcome 3-1 in Santiago, Chile. Garrincha was just 22 when his first club, Botafogo, played a friendly at Turf Moor in April 1956, winning 2-1.
Now Burnley are back in the big time we may just see a few more World Cup winners at Turf Moor during the coming season.
We could see Chelsea’s Andre Schurrle, a winner with Germany in 2014, together with his team-mates Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres who both played a part in Spain’s triumph in 2010. In March 2015 we might see Manchester City’s Jesus Navas, another winner with Spain in 2010, then in April 2015, when Arsenal come calling, maybe two more of Germany’s 2014 winning side, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker.