2010 has seen the issue of the England captaincy once again make front page news. John Terry’s off-the-field behaviour saw him stripped of the role, and vice-captain Rio Ferdinand has barely played after a series of back problems. It is therefore conceivable that by the time England kick off their World Cup campaign in Rustenburg on 12th June that Capello’s original third choice - Steven Gerrard - could be the England captain.
According to bookmaker Paddy Power, England are the 11/2 third favourites to win the World Cup in 2010. If the Three Lions were to reach the Final, Gerrard could become the third Liverpool player to feature in the biggest match of them all.
Liverpool’s first World Cup hero was, of course, Roger Hunt, who was part of England’s triumphant World Cup team in 1966. Indeed, Hunt would have scored in the Final itself had he not turned away celebrating Geoff Hurst’s controversial second goal before it was awarded by the Russian linesman.
Hunt remains the only player to have represented Liverpool and won a World Cup winners medal. The second Anfield favourite to play in a World Cup final was Dietmar Hamann who represented Germany in the 2002 final. Germany were unexpected finalists in Japan and eventually succumbed 2-0 to Brazil.
As well as these two finalists, a host of other Liverpool alumni have lit up the World Cup over the last four decades. John Barnes contributed much to England’s 1986 (then a Watford player) and 1990 campaigns and Michael Owen’s solo goal in 1998 thrust the young striker into the international spotlight. The Scottish trio of Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness regularly featured in the 1970s and 1980s whilst playmaker Jan Mølby was part of the talented Denmark squad that reached the quarter finals in 1986.
This summer, it is quite possible that a current Liverpool hero could end up bringing home a World Cup winners medal. Spain are 4/1 favourites to triumph in South Africa. Perhaps Fernando Torres and Jose Reina will add a World Cup medal to their European Championship medal from 2008?
In addition, Javier Mascherano is a key part of Argentina’s talented squad, Daniel Agger is one of Denmark’s star men and Martin Skrtel will be proudly representing Slovakia in their first ever World Cup Finals.
However, could it be a bona fide Liverpool legend lifting the trophy in Johannesburg on 11th July? Steven Gerrard and the rest of England will hope so.
- Written for LFChistory.net