Spurs are all over this World Cup!
Spurs fans around the world are well aware of the 12 current players who have travelled to Russia with their respective International squads. Harry Kane already has true hero status as England’s youngest ever World Cup captain, and as the scorer of our two goals against Tunisia, the second of which came in added time.
Harry joined 13 previous Spurs players who scored in a World Cup Finals tournament match. They include goal scoring legends such as Jimmy Greaves, Steve Archibald, Gary Lineker, Jurgen Klinsmann and Jermain Defoe.
Harry’s fellow Spurs - Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Dele Alli have also travelled with England. Dier got on the pitch only in the very late stages of the Tunisia game, and although he too has captained Gareth Southgate’s England team in the run-up to this tournament, Eric is now in a head to head with Jordan Henderson for one place in the team. Kieran Trippier won many plaudits for his performance and had it not been for Harry’s brace, the Spurs right back was in line for England’s man of the match.
Dele has picked up a troublesome quad injury, and Danny Rose had to watch Ashley Young play in his left back position. Danny has been widely tipped to take Young’s place for Sunday’s game against Panama.
Also playing in Group G and all featuring for Belgium in the win against Panama were Toby Alderweireld, player of the season Jan Vertonghen, and substitute Mousa Dembele. Belgium won well and will surely be battling England for top place in the group when the two teams meet on June 28th.
Christian Eriksen didn’t have a great game for Denmark, but he did have the vital assist for their winning goal against Peru. Club captain Hugo Lloris (who also captains his country) made important saves as France beat Australia 2-1, but our other current representatives Son Heung-min (South Korea) and Davinson Sanchez (Colombia) suffered defeat in their first game of the tournament.
Spurs fans will follow the progress of all our current players with interest, and no doubt will hope they can see one or two potential future signings. For example, Davinson Sanchez’s team-mate – 24-year-old midfielder Wilmar Barrios – is one name I have seen linked with a move to Tottenham. Barrios plays in Argentina for Boca Juniors, and came off the bench for Colombia against Senegal.
England’s Kyle Walker needs no introduction and had special reason to give hero Kane a great big smacker of a kiss at the end of the Tunisia game after he had been penalised for the African side’s equalising goal.
Some Spurs fans may not be aware of all of these former Spurs players who have also travelled to Russia for this World Cup. They are: -
1. Centre-back Federico Fazio (Argentina), who lost favour at Spurs, but who has been a regular for Roma over the last two seasons, the first of which he spent on loan. Fazio went back to Sevilla on loan in the 2015-16 season and even got a Europa League winners’ medal as part of that winning squad. Federico did not get off the Argentine bench in their draw against Iceland.
2. Speaking of Iceland, Gylfi Sigurdsson is of course very well known to Spurs fans. Perhaps “Siggy”’s best moment in the club’s colours was when he scored a 19th minute goal in a 1-1 home draw against Chelsea in 2013. The following year he was off back to Swansea where he spent some time on loan before being signed for Spurs. Gylfi was a massive £45 million signing last year for Everton, but like his club did not have the best of seasons.
3. A less well-known Icelandic squad member and also a former Spur is midfielder Emil Hallfredsson, signed in 2004, but never making it any further than our reserve team. Hallfredsson has 65 senior caps and has been based in Italy for the last 10 years, spending the last three seasons with Udinese. Emil is now 33. He last played for Spurs reserves in 2007.
4. Massimo Luongo is with Australia but did not appear against France. Luongo has been with QPR for three years. His one senior appearance for Spurs came in a League Cup game against Stoke at The Britannia Stadium in September 2011, when he came off the bench and had the misfortune to have his penalty saved by Sorensen to give Stoke a 7-6 penalty shoot-out win.
5. Croatia’s Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka are very well known. Corluka did not play against Nigeria, but as a seasoned professional, and one who has spent the last 6 seasons in Russia, he will be a valuable member of the squad.
6. Giovani Dos Santos is a veteran for Mexico having acquired no less than 106 senior caps. Giovani has played for L.A.Galaxy for 4 years now and did feature for his country earlier this month against Christian Eriksen’s Denmark, but he didn’t get off the bench in his country’s dramatic 1-0 win over 2014 World Cup winners Germany.
7. Perhaps one of the least well known former Spurs player at this tournament is Nigerian centre-back William Troost-Ekong. Ekong is 24 years old and has 21 senior caps. He played against Harry Kane in the friendly earlier this month and conceded a penalty (converted by Modric) against Croatia on Saturday. William was a Spurs junior between 2010 and 2012, and actually got sent off in a friendly match against a Rwandan Under 17 side in May 2011. Massimo Luongo also featured for Spurs in that friendly match. Ekong has played in The Netherlands, Belgium and Norway since leaving Spurs, and spent last season in Turkey playing for Bursaspor.
8. Our next Spurs connection in this World Cup is Serbia’s Milos Veljkovic, still only 22. Veljkovic plays either at centre-back or holding midfield and has two senior caps. He has been with Werder Bremen for three full seasons now and was perhaps an early example of the current trend for German teams to sign promising Premier League academy players. Keanan Bennetts is the latest Spurs example of this trend, having moved to Borussia Monchengladbach this summer. Veljkovic made three substitute appearances for Spurs in 2014, but he has yet to get off the bench in this World Cup.
9. Finally, Paulinho is a regular for Brazil and Barcelona these days, after three years playing in China for Guangzhou. Paulinho was one of the seven players signed when AVB was at the Spurs helm in 2013 after Gareth Bale was sold to Real Madrid for that massive £85 million fee. Paulinho’s time at Spurs was not his best. He scored 8 club goals from midfield in the 2013-14 season, the most important of which was a last-minute winner at Cardiff, but he was given little Premier League exposure in Pochettino’s first season and is remembered (badly) for a woeful attempt on goal in a 0-0 draw at Turf Moor in one of his last games at the club in the Spring of 2015. This match can be more positively remembered for being the first senior game in which Harry Kane captained the side. Harry had returned from an International break and his debut for England, in which he scored within two minutes of coming on against Lithuania in his very first senior International appearance, which brings us back to England!
Enjoy the rest of this World Cup everybody!
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