The World Cup is the pinnacle of international football.
As such, it’s never been a tournament in which the minnows of the global game have fared well.
Come the business end of proceedings, the world’s top-ranked nations have dominated – and it’s widely anticipated that the same will be true when the winners of the 2022 World Cup are crowned at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar on December 18.
Across the 21 tournaments held in history, just eight nations have earned the right to call themselves world champions.
Among those players that are fortunate enough to have a World Cup winner’s medal on their mantlepiece, though, are a few surprising names.
Realistically, some were only selected to be squad players, while others were carried to glory by superior teammates.
Below, we’ve put together a full XI of players that we still can’t believe won the World Cup.
The ‘we can’t believe they won the World Cup’ XI
GK: Felix (Brazil – 1970)
Once described by former Arsenal and Scotland shot-stopper Bob Wilson as “the most incompetent goalkeeper ever to win a World Cup medal,” Felix Mielli Venerando won the World Cup as part of a side that included some spectacular talent, including Pele, Jairzinho and Rivelino.
“He was born lucky to play in a side which, if he let in three goals, had the talent to go up the other end and score four,” said Wilson of the former Selecao ‘keeper, who was an ever-present at the tournament.
Quiz: Can you name all 30 of these ‘streets won’t forget’ players from World Cups?
CB: Polga (Brazil – 2002)
One of several inclusions from Brazil’s victorious 2002 squad – which certainly turned out to be something of a mixed bag!
Polga played a full 90 minutes in two of Brazil’s group games but never featured again in the tournament.
His international career would end in 2003, with the defender earning just 11 caps in total.
CB: Shkodran Mustafi (Germany – 2014)
Mustafi was hardly a central figure in Germany’s 2014 triumph. However, his performances in Brazil were enough to earn him a move from Sampdoria to Valencia.
Two years later, Arsenal took a £35m punt on the player. Unfortunately, he looked anything but world-class for much of his time at the Emirates.
The Gunners terminated Mustafi’s contract in February 2021, meaning they didn’t recoup a penny for him.
Source:Give me Sport: