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Pompey At The World Cup

Discover which Blues players have featured at previous tournaments

14 June 2018

David James in action for Pompey at the 2010 World Cup
David James in action for England against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup
Club News

Pompey At The World Cup

Discover which Blues players have featured at previous tournaments

14 June 2018

Get ready to put social lives on hold for the next month.

With 32 teams contesting 64 games in 12 different Russian stadiums, the World Cup is sure to take up a lot of your time.

Most of the Fratton faithful will no doubt be cheering on Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions as they bid to end more than 50 years of hurt.

There is no Blues involvement at this year’s tournament (although Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse did make 28 appearances for the club between 2004 and 2006).

That has not always been the case, however, so prepare to take a trip back in time as we remember when Pompey talent took to the greatest stage of all…

England did not enter the first three tournaments, but there was a Pompey player present when they finally joined the party in 1950.

Jimmy Dickinson played in all three of the group games and everything started brightly in Brazil, with a 2-0 victory over Chile.

But that was followed by one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, as England were beaten by the unfancied USA before ending their campaign with another defeat against Spain.

Dickinson also featured in all three games in Switzerland four years later, but scored an own-goal in a 4-4 draw with Belgium.

He then appeared as the hosts were beaten in the second – and final – group game and a quarter-final loss to holders Uruguay.

Jackie Henderson and Alex Wilson were selected in a 22-man squad for Scotland, who made their debut in the competition.

But only 13 players actually travelled to the tournament, with the Blues duo remaining at home on the reserve list as their country failed to reach the knockout stages.

Northern Ireland made their World Cup bow when the competition was staged in Sweden and there were two Pompey players who made the trip.

Derek Dougan started as they began with a 1-0 win over Czechslovakia, but – along with goalkeeper Norman Uprichard – was on the bench for a defeat by Argentina and draw with West Germany.

Uprichard then got the nod for a play-off with the Czechs to see who would reach the knockout stages and – despite suffering a broken hand – helped his country secure a 2-1 triumph.

Both players then had to watch from the sidelines as France eased to a 4-0 victory in the quarter-finals.

It had been 36 years since a Pompey player had gone to the World Cup when Alan McLoughlin got the Republic of Ireland call.

The Blues midfielder had scored the crucial goal – an equaliser against Northern Ireland – that secured his country a spot in the USA.

But McLoughlin – who had also featured at Italia 90 four years earlier – did not emerge from the bench for any of the four fixtures.

Paul Hall and Fitzroy Simpson were both selected by Jamaica – along with former Blues Deon Burton and Darryl Powell – for their World Cup debut in France.

The pair appeared in all three group games for the Reggae Boyz, who were beaten by Croatia and Argentina before finishing with victory over Japan.

Robert Prosinecki had just completed a memorable season at Fratton Park when he made the trip to the World Cup – held in Japan and South Korea – with Croatia.

He appeared in an opening defeat to Mexico as their competition came to an early end in the group stage.

Meanwhile, Mladen Rudonja played all three matches as Slovenia finished pointless in Group B, while goalkeeper Yoshi Kawaguchi remained on the bench as joint hosts Japan reached the last 16.

Ognjen Koroman had only appeared fleetingly during a loan spell at Pompey from Terek Grozny, but was still named in the Serbia & Montenegro squad that travelled to Germany.

They failed to collect a point in a tough group that included Argentina, Netherlands and Ivory Coast, with the winger featuring in two fixtures.

This tournament was the most prolific for Pompey selections, with seven players heading to South Africa.

David James missed out on the opening game against USA, but was recalled following Rob Green’s blunder.

The veteran goalkeeper then played the remaining three games, as the Three Lions bowed out to Germany in the last 16.

One of those appearances was against Nadir Belhadj and Hassan Yebda’s Algeria, who appeared in all matches as the African nation finished bottom of Group C.

In fact, aside from James, all of the Pompey representatives at the tournament came from that continent.

Kevin-Prince Boateng had the most to celebrate, playing every fixture as his Ghana side reached the quarter-finals.

The midfielder netted in their last 16 triumph over USA, only to then suffer heartache following a dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat to Uruguay.

Meanwhile, Aaron Mokoena was skipper for the host nation as they narrowly missed out on qualification from Group A.

And Nigeria ended bottom of Group B, with Kanu featuring in one fixture against South Korea, while John Utaka failed to climb off the bench.

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