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2014 World Cup: An age point of view

by on June 17, 2014

We return once more to our unofficial ‘age at major sporting events’ series of posts.  Guess what -it’s football this time.  Since my son put on a pair of yellow and green Brazil themed socks last week, I have not been able to escape the all evening, all night, football that accompanies this event.

So what of age?

The Daily Mail declares that 25 is the ‘perfect age’ to play in a world cup: based on the answer to this question “What did world cup legends Paolo Rossi, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo have in common”.  Yes, they were all 25 at the time of their breakthrough world cup.  Sadly from what I could see there didn’t seem to be a suitable candidate from England listed in their potential stars from this tournament.  Though apparently it could also be the ‘right time’ for England’s Wayne Rooney at 28, according to the Independent. (It appears actually that calculating the ‘right’ football age requires some sort of complicated calculation of caps, appearances, club trophies, injuries and many other factors to be taken into account – chronological age is just the start of it)

Thankfully the Guardian has provided a breakdown of age statistics for the tournament:  “Martín Demechelis, Hugo Campagnaro and Maxi Rodríguez are all 33 and all playing in the Argentinian squad. Despite the trio only being the joint 32nd oldest players in the tournament, the South American country’s average age of 28.5 is higher than any other side”.  “Ghana are the World Cup’s most youthful squad. The team have an average age of 24.9, with Milan’s Michael Essien the only squad member over 30”.

Meanwhile age is already being blamed for Spain’s defeat against Holland, with one football review suggesting: “Age catches up with Spain”

So how do England stack up in this particular numbers game?  Regarded as a young squad (by the BBC) “With an average age of 26, his 23-man group is the second-youngest to represent England in the tournament – a contrast to 2010 where former manager Fabio Capello selected the nation’s oldest ever squad”.  And we all remember how that one ended!  The BBC piece notes that England’s manager, Hodgson, is 66 so that prompted to see how that compares: sadly no readily available information that I could see but I’ll keep an eye out.


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