November 11, 2022 12:35 PM
Last modified date: November 14, 2022 12:21 PM
Alex Sarwar

Who are the youngest and oldest players & goalscorers in FIFA World Cup history?

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One of the most exciting aspects of any World Cup is not only the emergence of young superstars representing their country on the global stage, but also the nostalgia of watching veteran players continue to make their mark despite their age. The 2018 World Cup will be packed full of players on the opposite ends of the scale, whose contributions for their respective nations will be crucial, particularly in front of goal!

But where will those players rank in the history books when looking back at the oldest and youngest players to feature at the World Cup? Let’s take a look, starting with the ten youngest players to appear in the tournament and the date in which they did so.

As it stands, seven footballers have appeared in the World Cup at the age of just 17, with the youngest being Northern Ireland's Norman Whitehouse in 1982. The first 17-year-old World Cup debutant however, is a name the footballing universe will be very familiar with! Brazilian striker Pele made his World Cup bow on June 15th 1958 and the rest as they say, is history!

Speaking of Pele, that provides the perfect platform for us to reveal the ten youngest World Cup goalscorers. Needless to say, the man who scored 77 goals for Brazil, more than any other player, tops the list.

Heading into Qatar 2022, Pele remains the only player to have scored at the World Cup as a 17-year-old having done so on June 19th 1958 against Wales, four days after making his debut. Manuel Rosas is the youngest 18-year-old to do so, scoring for Mexico against Argentina all the way back in 1930.

From one end of the scale to the other, let's take a look at the top ten oldest players to have netted in the World Cup

28 years old and Cameroon forward Roger Milla sits proudly as the only player to score a World Cup goal in their forties, Milla having done so against Russia in Stanford, California on June 28th 1994. The fact that the second oldest player, Sweden's Gunnar Gren, was almost a full five years younger than Milla when he scored at the World Cup puts into perspective the achievement of Milla.

However, whilst the Cameroonian stands comfortably as the oldest World Cup goalscorer, he is not the oldest player to feature in the competition. See where he ranks in the top ten oldest players in World Cup history below.

Milla remains the oldest outfield player to appear at the World Cup, with the only two players of a highest age both goalkeepers. Egypt's Essam Elhadary boasts the title of oldest player in World Cup history, having been 45 years and 161 days old when he made his final appearance the tournament for the Pharaohs at the 2018 World Cup. Three days after his 43rd Birthday, Faryd Mondragon came off the bench for Colombia against Japan in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup. The veteran goalkeeper was to retire following his country's exit from the tournament at the hands of Brazil.

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