El-Hadji Diouf, Asamoah Gyan & 15 World Cup one-hit wonders

Asamoah Gyan Ghana Germany World Cup 21062014
Goal looks at the players who dazzled all too briefly on the biggest international stage

  1. Asamoah Gyan

    Asamoah Gyan

    Ghana were so very close in 2010. Had it not been for the truly despicable actions of Luis Suarez, Gyan and his team-mates would have become the very first African team ever to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. Gyan was central to their push, leading the line, scoring three goals – two were penalties – but his tournament ended in heartbreak, as Gyan hit the bar in the last-minute of their clash with Uruguay. His career never truly recovered.

  2. El-Hadji Diouf

    El-Hadji Diouf

    Selected in the FIFA All-Star Team after the 2002 World Cup, Diouf was truly brilliant for Senegal in South Korea and Japan. After inspiring his country to a remarkable 1-0 win over France – Diouf set up Papa Bouba Diop’s winning goal – Diouf also laid on goals against Uruguay and Sweden. Ultimately, Senegal were knocked out by Turkey in the quarter-finals, and Diouf went on to become one of the most vilified figures in English football at Liverpool.

  3. Oleg Salenko

    Oleg Salenko

    Prior to the 1994 World Cup, Salenko had not scored for Russia. He netted once from the penalty spot against Sweden, warming himself up rather nicely for an encounter with Cameroon. Nobody saw what was coming, but Salenko scored five times as Russia won 6-1. As a result, he shared the Golden Boot with Bulgaria’s Hristo Stoichkov, despite Russia failing to progress past the group stage. He never played for his country again, and retired at the age of 31 due to weight issues.

  4. Salif Diao

    Salif Diao

    Along with El-Hadji Diouf, Diao was a key part of Senegal’s Earth-shattering win over France, and also scored in the later group stage clash with Denmark, though joy quickly turned sour as he was sent off for a high boot. His displays led to a move to Liverpool, but he was unable to replicate his international form at Anfield and quickly faded from the public consciousness.

  5. Kleberson


    Better known as a Manchester United flop, Kleberson was vital to Brazil’s 2002 World Cup victory. First finding his way into the starting XI against England, he covered every blade of grass and assisted one of Ronaldo’s strikes in the final against Germany. Signed alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford, only one of the pair went on to superstardom.

  6. Salvatore Schillaci

    Salvatore Schillaci

    Schillaci was a seemingly unstoppable force at the 1990 World Cup, as Italy finished third. The striker scored six times, including goals in the second round, the quarter-final and the semi-final. He capped his tournament by scoring the winning goal against England in the third place play-off.

  7. Ilhan Mansiz

    Ilhan Mansiz

    Turkey were one of the success stories of the 2002 World Cup, and Mansiz was the hero of the quarter-final, scoring the Golden Goal against Senegal. In the third-place play-off against South Korea, Mansiz set up Hakan Suker’s opening goal, and then scored the second and third goals to secure the bronze medal. Amazingly, Mansiz is now a competitive figure skater.

  8. Roque Junior

    Roque Junior

    A busted flush at Leeds, Roque Junior played just five games in England and is largely remembered for his ineptitude. It was a far cry from the assured displays that he turned in at the 2002 World Cup, as Brazil swept their way to glory at the expense of Germany.

  9. Javier Margas

    Javier Margas

    Margas was consistently excellent in defence for Chile at the 1998 World Cup, only truly struggling once his side came up against Brazil, as they lost 4-1 in the Round of 16. Margas’ performances earned him a move to West Ham, and he is now best known for starring in a famously zany Harry Redknapp anecdote, which features him allegedly jumping out of a window.

  10. Ahn Jung-hwan

    Ahn Jung-hwan

    A pariah after scoring South Korea’s 116th-minute winning goal against Italy in the 2002 World Cup, Jung-hwan was sacked by Perugia for his perceived extra time villainy. The club’s chairman said: "I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian soccer." South Korea went on to finish fourth.

  11. Hasan Sas

    Hasan Sas

    Another to be named in the World Cup All-Star Team, Sas was in fine form for Turkey in 2002, stunning Brazil by giving his side the lead before half-time, prior to an eventual 2-1 loss. A goal and two assists versus China saw him grab the headlines again, before the Selecao again broke Turkish hearts in the semi-final.

  12. Giancarlo Gonzalez

    Giancarlo Gonzalez

    One player who will also feature at the 2018 World Cup, it is difficult to foresee him tpping his 2014 exploits, where he impressively marshalled a defence that conceded just one goal in the group stages, against Uruguay, Italy and England. Indeed, Costa Rica amazingly defeated the first two sides before a 0-0 draw with the Three Lions. He also scored a penalty in the shootout defeat of Greece, prior to defeat to the Netherlands.

  13. Robert Vittek

    Robert Vittek

    Most pundits wrote Slovakia off prior to the start of the 2010 World Cup, as they were drawn in the same group as Italy, Paraguay and New Zealand. Vittek, however, was the hero, scoring in the 1-1 draw with New Zealand, before netting twice in the stunning 3-2 win over the Azzurri. He also scored against the Netherlands in the last 16, but it was not enough to save his side from a 2-1 defeat.

  14. Enner Valencia

    Enner Valencia

    Valencia pulled off something of a heist in 2014, as his three goals gave Ecuador a sniff at progressing to the latter stages of the World Cup. Unfortunately, a win, a draw and a loss was not enough, but Valencia earned himself a move to West Ham, where his form somewhat dipped in the Premier League.

  15. Ruben Moran

    Ruben Moran

    Moran made his international debut in the mother of all upsets – Uruguay’s win over Brazil that deprived the Samba superstars of the 1950 World Cup. Moran was just 19 and played his part in a result that prompted a period of national mourning. Brazil were so distraught, they even changed the colour of their kit.