The 10 oldest outfielders to play at a World Cup: Matthews, Milla, Latapy…
England arrive in Russia this summer with a largely inexperienced squad, with only three players over the age of 30.
Gary Cahill, Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy are the oldest heads in Gareth Southgate’s squad, which has an average age of just 26.
We’ve taken a look way beyond that, looking at the oldest outfield players to ever feature at a World Cup.
Aged 37, Borja captained his Bolivia side at their last World Cup appearance at USA 1994.
The two previous competitions the nation had appeared in only involved two group games, and as Borja is one of eight players to have featured in all three in 1994, the midfielder is a record appearance holder at a World Cup for Bolivia as well as their oldest ever player in the competition.
Walter was a one-club man, making all his appearances for FC Kaiserslauten, scoring an incredible 357 goals in 364 appearances before retiring a year after the 1958 World Cup.
At 37 years, 7 months and 24 days old, he is the exact same age as Gunnar Gren, but as Sweden knocked Germany out in 1958, Walter has to settle for ninth place on the list.
Gren became one of the oldest outfield players to appear at a World Cup in the 1958 final – where his home country Sweden were defeated 5-2 by Brazil partly thanks to two goals from a 17-year-old Pele.
The Swedish legend scored in the 3-1 win over West Germany in the semi-final, meaning that by knocking Walter’s side out, he appeared in the competition five days after his opponent of the same age.
Former Hibs, Rangers and Falkirk midfielder Latapy is currently working as head coach for Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20s.
The 37-year-old came on as a substitute in Scotland’s final group game at the 2006 World Cup, when his nation finished bottom of England’s group in Germany.
— SPFL (@spfl) November 16, 2017
In 1981, Clavijo chose to give up the regular game and turn his attention to the American Indoor Soccer League. He spent just one further season of his career playing the outdoor game, favouring the variation under a roof.
He was without a club after the Indoor League disbanded in 1992 but still made up part of the US national team for their home World Cup in 1994, playing in three of their four games, ending with a 1-0 defeat to Brazil – Clavijo’s final ever appearance on a football field, aged 38 years, five months and 11 days.
Yepes was captain of the Colombia squad which made it to the quarter finals of the 2014 World Cup, eventually losing 2-1 to hosts Brazil.
It was their best ever performance at a World Cup, while Yepes earned his 100th cap in a squad that featured the oldest player ever to play in the competition, 43-year-old goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon.
It's quite mad that 38-year-old centre back Mario Yepes isn't even the oldest player in the #COL squad (3rd choice GK Faryd Mondragon is!)
— Sam Thompson (@Thom_Sampson_) June 19, 2014
Denmark finished top of their group at the 2002 World Cup, joining Senegal in defeating holders France, who finished bottom of Group A.
And in Denmark’s group game with Senegal, Heintze made his second and final appearance in the tournament aged 38 years, 9 months and 20 days, before being replaced as captain by Rene Henriksen.
A 39-year-old Matthews travelled to the 1954 World Cup alongside other legendary names such as Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney.
Unfortunately, due to the second World War, it was only the second World Cup that England’s oldest ever player – and the English top flight’s oldest ever player – could appear in.
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) May 15, 2017
The third player from the 1958 World Cup to appear in this list is Argentine forward Labruna, who played in two group games as his side finished bottom of their group.
At club level, Labruna played 515 times for River Plate over 20 years, scoring 293 times, leaving a year after appearing at the World Cup aged 39 years, 8 months and 18 days.
Six players over the age of 40 have appeared at a World Cup, but Milla is the only outfield player to achieve the feat.
It also makes him the oldest scorer at a World Cup, as he netted in Cameroon’s final match of the 1982 tournament, a 6-1 defeat to Russia with Milla aged 42.