Milla, Zoff, El Hadary & the oldest players in World Cup history

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As we near ever closer to the finals in Russia, Goal takes a look at the oldest players to have represented their countries at the tournament

  1. #17 Mario Yepes - Colombia - 38y 5m 21d

    Former Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Mario Yepes registered 102 international appearances for Colombia, making his senior debut in 1999 and ending it in 2014 following his side's exit from the Brazil World Cup.

    Colombia took on the hosts during the quarter-final stage of the competition, with Yepes captaining the side at the age of 38.

  2. #16 Vitor Damas - Portugal - 38y 8m 3d

    Portugal played three games at World Cup 1986, beating England 1-0 but losing the other two and ultimately dropping out of the tournament at the bottom of Group F. Damas played in both of the defeats as a stand-in for the injured Manuel Bento but would retire on his return from Mexico.
  3. #15 David Seaman - England - 38y 9m 2d

    The England squad of 2002 was dubbed a Golden Generation by supporters and looked value for money as they eased into the quarter-final stage of the Korea/Japan World Cup.

    Seaman, the most senior member of the Three Lions XI at 38, would ultimately play a part in his country's abrupt exit, though, as Brazil's Ronaldinho floated a ball over the top of the former Arsenal goalkeeper from distance in the 50th minute of the tie, sending the Brazilians through to the final four.

  4. #14 Jan Heintze - Denmark - 38y 9m 20d

    Ex-PSV full-back Jan Heintze recorded 86 appearances for Denmark, ending his international career after the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup.

    Heintze captained Denmark to a 1-1 draw with Senegal during a Group A meeting, aged 38, but then failed to register another appearance as Denmark went on to be knocked out by England in the Round of 16.

  5. #13 Sergei Ignashevich - Russia 38y 11m 0d

    The CSKA Moscow centre-back received his 123rd cap for Russia as his country kicked off the 2018 World Cup against Saudi Arabia. In doing so, he became the oldest outfield player to start a World Cup since Cameroon's Roger Milla in 1994. 

    It is an achievement which nearly did not happen, as Ignashevich had retired from international football. However, he was recalled after an injury to Ruslan Kambolov and now has earned his way into the XI. 

  6. #12 Stanley Matthews - England - 39y 4m 25d

    Stanley Matthews, the only player to have been knighted while still playing football, ended his Three Lions career in 1957. Matthews' final World Cup game with England came at the 1954 tournament in Switzerland, signing off with a 4-2 quarter-final loss to Uruguay, aged 39.
  7. #11 Joseph Antoine Bell - Cameroon - 39y 8m 16d

    Former Marseille and Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Jojo Bell appeared for the Cameroon national side on 52 occasions, travelling to the World Cup in 1982, 1990, and 1994.

    Bell was between the sticks during a Group B match against Brazil in '94, a game which Cameroon lost 3-0, at the age of 39.

  8. #10 Angel Labruna - Argentina - 39y 8m 18d

    River Plate icon Angel Labruna led the attack for the Argentina national side for their 6-1 mauling at the hands of Czech Republic in 1958, though the 39-year-old failed to score at the tournament. Labruna ended his Albiceleste career with 17 goals in 37 outings.
  9. #9 David James - England - 39y 10m 26d

    David James endured a tumultuous relationship with the England national team before his retirement in 2010. It was the Germany World Cup in the same year which James registered his final appearance at the tournament, ending his Three Lions career following a 4-1 loss to Germany, aged almost 40.
  10. #8 Jim Leighton - Scotland - 39y 10m 30d

    Scotland's last appearance at a World Cup finals came in 1998 and ended in spectacular failure. With defeats against Brazil and Morocco in the group stages, and a draw with Norway, Jim Leighton and his Scotland team-mates returned home as Group A losers.

    Leighton, almost 40 years of age at the time, played all three games.

  11. #7 Ali Boumnijel - Tunisia - 40y 2m 10d

    A 40-year-old Ali Boumnijel was Tunisia No.1 for the African side's 1-0 loss to Ukraine in 2006, with Andriy Shevchenko scoring the winning goal. Tunisia would end the group stage in third place and Boumnijel would retire a year later.
  12. #6 Dino Zoff - Italy - 40y 4m 13d

    The 1982 World Cup final proved the perfect send off for legendary Italy shot-stopper Dino Zoff, with Azzurri beating West Germany 3-1 in front of in front of 90,000 people in Madrid.

    Zoff, who finished fourth with Italy in the previous tournament, was aged 40 years, four months and 13 days at the time of the final.

  13. #5 Peter Shilton - England - 40y 9m 19d

    With England freshly wounded from their semi-final penalty slip-up against West Germany, Shilton was named as Three Lions goalkeeper for their third-place play-off with Italy. England went on to lose the game 2-1 in what would be Shilton's final World Cup game, three months shy of his 41st birthday.
  14. #4 Pat Jennings - Northern Ireland - 41y 0m 0d

    Pat Jennings played his final game for Northern Ireland in 1986 but remains the county's most-capped international. The former Watford, Tottenham and Arsenal goalkeeper was between the sticks during Brazil's 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland in their last appearance at the tournament, on his 41st birthday in 1986.
  15. #3 Roger Milla - Cameroon - 42y 1m 8d

    Former Cameroon international Roger Milla donned the national jersey of his country at three World Cups - 1982, 1990, and 1994. During the latter, a month after his 42nd birthday, Milla became the oldest scorer in the tournament's history with a goal in his side's 6-1 defeat against Russia.
  16. #2 Faryd Mondragon - Colombia - 43y 0m 3d

    At 43 years old, former Independiente, Galatasaray and Koln shot-stopper Faryd Mondragon is currently the oldest player to have ever represented his country at a World Cup finals. Mondragon set the record during a 4-1 victory over Japan in 2014 during a Group C tie which confirmed their position as group winners.
  17. #1 Essam El Hadary - Egypt - 45y 5m 10d

    Essam El Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history for Egypt against Saudi Arabia in their final group game of the 2018 finals. The goalkeeper, 45, is older than three of the managers at the Russia tournament.