In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
7. Chris Wood (23) has, despite his young age, already taken part in several major tournaments with New Zealand, the highlight of which was undoubtedly the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, where he made three appearances. The clinical striker also starred at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2012 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament and the 2012 OFC Nations Cup. He started out at Waikato, before exporting his skills to West Bromwich Albion, who loaned him out to various lower league sides such as Brighton and Hove Albion, where he earned a league winners’ medal. Wood eventually secured a permanent transfer to Leicester City, helping the East Midlands club to achieve promotion to the English Premier League last season.
8. Raheem Sterling (20) rose to prominence with England at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico, where his performances gave him the confidence to establish himself in Liverpool’s starting XI and help his team-mates finish second in the Premier League in season 2013/14, a campaign in which he was named the Anfield club’s Young Player of the Year. The pacey winger’s fine form saw him called up to the Three Lions’ squad for Brazil 2014, where he played in three matches but could not prevent his country from suffering a disappointing group-stage exit.
9. Ioan Lupescu (46) was part of the Romanian golden generation that competed at Italy 1990 and USA 1994, where they reached the quarter-finals, as well as at the UEFA European Championships of 1996 and 2000. At club level, the respected midfielder enjoyed four separate spells at Dinamo Bucharest, during which time he clinched three Romanian League titles and three Romanian Cups. He also ventured abroad, turning out for Bayer Leverkusen, where he held aloft the German Cup, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bursaspor and Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia). After briefly turning his hand to coaching, Lupescu took up an administrative role with the Romanian Football Association.
10. Gonzalo Higuain (27) would have surely loved to celebrate his birthday as a FIFA World Cup winner, but unfortunately Germany’s victory over Argentina in the Final of Brazil 2014 put paid to that dream. Having played in all seven of La Albiceleste’s encounters this summer, the bustling front man can still be reasonably satisfied with his second adventure on football’s biggest stage. In 2011, he participated in the Copa America, and will likely play an important role at the next edition of the continental contest in 2015. Higuain turned professional at River Plate, where his strong displays sealed a move to Real Madrid. After bagging three Liga crowns, a Copa del Rey and a Supercopa de Espana over a seven-year period with Los Blancos, the French-born attacker then put pen to paper with Napoli, with whom he brandished the Coppa Italia last season.
11. Steve Nicol (53) represented Scotland at Mexico 1986, but it was with Liverpool that he truly made his name, claiming five English League titles, three FA Cups, four FA Charity Shields and a European Cup during a 14-year period. The no-nonsense defender started out at Ayr United, and later turned out for Notts County, Sheffield Wednesday, West Bromich Albion, Doncaster Rovers and Boston Bulldogs. After hanging up his boots, the Irvine native briefly coached Boston before steering New England Revolution to success in the US Open Cup and the North American SuperLiga. In 2002, Nicol was named MLS Coach of the Year.
12. Guadalupe Worbis (31) defended the colours of Mexico at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2004 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, as well as at two CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cups, finishing third on both occasions.
13. Tamaki Uchiyama (42) was one of the pioneers of women’s football in Japan, appearing at the first three Women’s World Cups: China 1991, Sweden 1995, where the Nadeshiko reached the quarter-finals, and USA 1999. The Asian forward also took part in the inaugural Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, at Atlanta 1996.