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.
27. Lars and Sven Bender (25) both ply their trade for rival Bundesliga clubs, Sven for Borussia Dortmund and Lars for Bayer Leverkusen. After starting out with 1860 Munich, where the twins played together in the German second tier, Sven signed for Die Schwarzgelben, with whom he has since earned two Bundesliga crowns, the DFB-Pokal, the DFL-Supercup and a runners-up medal from the 2013 UEFA Champions League final. His sibling, meanwhile, joined Leverkusen, where he finished second in the league in 2011 (behind his brother’s team). They have both experienced success on the international stage, winning the 2008 UEFA European U-19 Championship with Germany, a success that enabled them to participate in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2009. At senior level, Sven, a defensive midfielder, competed in one qualifying match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and several friendly matches. Lars has been called up more frequently thus far, and was included in Die Nationalelf’s squad for UEFA EURO 2012, during which he scored against Denmark in the group stage.
28. Walter Zenga (54) is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers to have ever pulled on an Italian jersey. He took part in the 1990 World Cup on home soil, keeping clean sheets for his country’s first five games before conceding in the semi-final and match for third place versus Argentina and England respectively. The towering custodian also participated in UEFA EURO 1988, where La Nazionale reached the last four, and in the 1984 Men's Olympic Football Tournament in Los Angeles, where they finished fourth. Zenga came through the ranks at Inter Milan, embarking on a handful of early loan stints before returning to the Lombardy club and establishing himself in the first team. His 12 campaigns with I Nerazzurri were punctuated by the capture of four major trophies, namely the Serie A title, the Italian Super Cup and two UEFA Cups, as well as Serie A Footballer of the Year award (1987) and UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year (1990) accolades. Briefer spells at Sampdoria, Padova and New England Revolution preceded his decision to retire from the game in 1999. A move into coaching saw the former Italy No1 take the reins of National Bucharest and Steaua Bucharest, where he obtained the Romanian League title. He subsequently guided Red Star Belgrade to a Serbian League and Cup double in 2006, before taking charge at Turkish outfit Gaziantepspor, Dynamo Bucharest, Catania, Palermo, Al Nassr (Saudi Arabia), Al Nasr (UAE), and Abu Dhabi-based Al Jazira, his current employers.
29. Semih Senturk (31) revealed his attacking talents to the wider football community at EURO 2008, where he notched three goals for Turkey: against Switzerland in the group stage, Croatia in the quarters and Germany in the semis. The lively forward also played in six qualifying matches for South Africa 2010. After having claimed five Turkish league championships, two Turkish Cups, two Turkish Super Cups and a Super Lig top scorer award over 12 seasons with Fenerbahce, Senturk put pen to paper with Antalyaspor in January of this year.
30. Hiroaki Morishima (42) played a decisive role in Japan’s maiden qualification for the World Cup, at France 1998, prior to featuring at the 2002 tournament four years later. In between those two prestigious events, the attack-minded midfielder finished second at the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. In addition, Morishima starred in two AFC Asian Cups, lifting the trophy in 2000. At club level, he remained a loyal servant of Cerezo Osaka for his entire career.
1. Oliver Neuville (41) appeared at two World Cups for Germany, playing in 13 matches and scoring two goals in total. Often used as an impact substitute, he was part of the squads that lost in the Final of Korea/Japan 2002 and sealed a third-place finish at Germany 2006. The clinical striker also reached the final of EURO 2008, although he made just one appearance in the competition. Born in Switzerland, he turned professional at Geneva-based Servette, where he clinched a national championship. Following a season in Tenerife, he defended the colours of Hansa Rostock and then Bayer Leverkusen, with whom he suffered double disappointment in 2002, finishing second in the Bundesliga title race and in the Champions League final. Neuville was later transferred to Borussia Monchengladbach, where he enjoyed second division championship success. The German penalty-box specialist then saw out the final few months of his career with Arminia Bielefeld.
2. Jeff Agoos (46) made his mark on numerous major international contests with the American national XI, including the 2002 World Cup, the 1999 Confederations Cup, where the Stars and Stripes finished third, and four consecutive CONCACAF Gold Cups, from which he emerged victorious in 2002. As a younger man, the rugged defender appeared at the 1987 U-20 World Cup and at the Olympic Games in 2000, where United States advanced to the semi-finals. The Swiss-born left-back began his professional career in the USA but subsequently exported his defensive skills to German outfit SV Wehen. A return to his homeland saw him commit himself to DC United, where he held aloft three MLS Cups, two MLS Supporters’ Shields, a US Open Cup, a CONCACAF Champions’ Cup and a Copa Interamericana. In 2001, he joined San Jose Earthquakes, with whom he hoisted two further MLS Cups, prior to enjoying a swansong with the MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls).
3. Beto (38) represented Portugal at the 2002 World Cup, where he bagged an unlikely goal against USA. The versatile defender had previously got to the semi-finals of EURO 2000, the 1995 U-20 World Cup and the 1996 Olympic Football Tournament. A product of Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy, he was initially loaned out to Uniao Lamas and Campomaiorense, during which time he garnered the necessary experience to stake a place in Os Leões’ starting line-up. Beto’s tenure in the first team was highly successful, producing two Portuguese league titles, one Portuguese Cup and two Portuguese Super Cups, although he also had to endure the disappointment of a UEFA Cup final defeat by CSKA Moscow in 2005. Following a short spell in France with Bordeaux, he signed for Spanish side Recreativo Huelva and then for Belenenses. In January 2011, the Portuguese centre-half moved to Spanish third division outfit Alzira, but retired a few months later.