Only one national team, Colombia, has more than one player in the top 10 of oldest players who’ll be part of the 2014 World Cup, featuring Mario Yepes and Faryd Mondragon. It’s not only fringe and lesser known players on this list, as fading stars like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Gianluigi Buffon and Miroslav Klose have also made it into the list.
There are four goalkeepers among the 10, as expected, with Stipe Pletikosa and Noel Valladares of Honduras on here as well, but there are players from other positions as well – strikers like Drogba and Klose, midfielders lke Karagounis and Lampard and also defenders such as Yepes and Van Buyten.
Stipe Pletikosa, Croatia – 35
Born on January 8, 1979, this will be the third World Cup for Pletikosa, who has been playing his club football for FC Rostov since 2011. He started for Croatia through the qualifiers and is the side’s second most experienced player with 111 caps after Darijo Srna. He has also played for Croatia in Euro 2008 and 2012.
Frank Lampard, England – 35
Born on June 20, 1978, Lampard is part of the England World Cup squad for a third time, although this time he isn’t going to be a key member, or at least not initially. After 13 seasons with Chelsea, in them winning three league titles and one Champions League trophy, Lampard will be playing somewhere else next season, probably the MLS. With 105 caps, he comes in second for England behind Steven Gerrard.
Miroslav Klose, Germany – 36
Born on June 9, 1978, Klose is now the all-time leading scorer for the German national team with 69 goals, surpassing Gerd Muller. He needs only one more World Cup goal to be the joint all-time scorer along with Ronaldo, but obviously expects to finish above him by the time the 2014 tournament is over. Currently playing for Lazio, Klose has been capped 132 times for the national side, playing in three World Cups prior to this one and also three Euro tournaments.
Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast – 36
Born on March 11, 1978, Drogba is heading into his third World Cup with The Elephants, hoping to finally make it past the group stage with this very talented group. He has been capped 101 times and scored 65 goals for the national team, currently playing for Galatasaray. He has won the Premier League title three times with Chelsea and also the 2012 Champions League.
Daniel Van Buyten, Belgium – 36
Born on February 7, 1978, Van Buyten is currently looking for his next team after leaving Bayern Munich, where he hasn’t played much in recent years. The 6’6 centre back was actually part of the 2002 World Cup squad Belgium sent to Asia, the last time their national side made it to the tournament. He also played for Belgium in Euro 2004, and is the only player on the squad over the age of 29.
Gianluigi Buffon, Italy – 36
Born on January 28, 1978, Buffon is a living legend who will be part of Italy’s World Cup squad for a fifth time. He is of course part of the group that lifted the 2006 trophy, being part of FIFA’s All-Star team for that tournament and winning the Lev Yashin Award in 2006. He is a five-time (or seven) champion with Juventus in the Serie A, and with 140 appearances for the national side is the most capped Azzurri ever.
Noel Valladares, Honduras – 37
The least known name on this least, Noel Valladares is the Honduras team captain and was born on May 3, 1977. He has been playing for Club Deportivo Olimpia in Honduras for the last nine seasons, and is in the World Cup for a second consecutive time. He was part of the Honduras squad that finished third in the 2001 Copa America. He has played 122 times for the national team and is Honduras’ second most capped footballer of all time, after Amado Guevara.
Giorgos Karagounis, Midfielders – 37
Still here after all these years. Born on March 6, 1977, Karagounis is the captain of the Greek side and one of the relics from that heroic (or disgusting, depends on who you ask) Euro 2004 triumph, Greece’s only achievement in international football. He is playing in the World Cup for a second time, and also has three Euros in his past. He last played for Fulham and with 135 caps is the most capped player in Greece’s history.
Mario Yepes, Colombia – 38
Born on January 13, 1976, the Colombian captain is still playing at a high level, featuring for Atalanta this passing season. He has been capped 97 times for the national side, the most experiences player on the team heading into the World Cup with only two players (Yepes and Mondragon) above the age of 30. He was part of the Colombian side that won the 2001 Copa America.
Faryd Mondragón, Colombia – 42
Born on June 21, 1971, Mondragon is the oldest player heading into this World Cup and is actually part of the golden generation Colombia had during the 1990’s, being part of the squads to the 1994 and 1998 squads. He returned to the national team’s goal in 2013 after three years of absence. He’ll probably be on the bench behind David Ospina from Nice, who at 25 already has 43 caps, only 12 less than Mondragon.