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.
26. Andre (36) made a name for himself in beach soccer circles by taking part in every FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup since 2006 with Brazil, contributing to their four consecutive victories between 2006 and 2009. At Ravenna 2011, the Brazilians suffered a surprising defeat to Russia in the final, but that did not prevent Andre from finishing top goalscorer in the competition. His overall record at the entertaining event makes for impressive reading: 29 matches, 28 wins, 35 goals.
27. Johan Elmander (32) is regarded as one of the best forwards to come out of Sweden over the last decade. With his national side, he participated in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ as well as the UEFA European Championships of 2008 and 2012. At the outset of his career, he appeared at the 2004 UEFA European U-21 Championship, where he ended up top scorer. The talented striker has also enjoyed success at club level, securing silverware in several different countries. After starting out in Sweden with Holmalunds and Orgryte, he signed for Feyenoord, with whom he lifted the UEFA Cup. A subsequent loan spell at Djurgardens saw Elmander win two Swedish League titles and a Swedish Cup. He then defended the colours of Dutch outfit NAC Breda and of Brondby, helping the Danish side to claim the domestic league and cup, as well as of Toulouse and of Bolton Wanderers. The Swedish international joined current club Galatasaray in 2011, and has since earned winners’ medals in two Turkish League campaigns and one Turkish Cup final
28. Hannah Wilkinson (21) may only be in the early stages of her career, but she has already established herself in the New Zealand women’s national team, starring at the FIFA World Cup Germany 2011™, where she scored a late equalising goal against Mexico to help her country earn their first and only point of the competition. The precocious striker also represented the Football Ferns three times at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 2012, but could not prevent her side from succumbing to the might of the United States in the quarter-finals. In addition, she has two FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup campaigns under her belt, in 2010 and 2012. Wilkinson started off playing at university level in the USA, before returning to New Zealand to play for Glenfield Rovers, and then for North Force.
29. Arne Friedrich (34) competed at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and at two FIFA World Cups (2006 and 2010) with Germany, finishing third on each occasion. In 2008, the versatile defender came close to triumphing at the UEFA European Championship, but Spain proved too strong in the final. Despite this disappointment, the Germans’ good performances at the event helped to make up for their poor UEFA EURO 2004 campaign. Friedrich began his career with amateur outfit Verl, before moving to Arminia Bielefeld and then to Hertha Berlin. It was with the club from the capital that he truly rose to prominence, propelling his team-mates to lift the German League Cup and the UEFA Intertoto Cup. Following a subsequent season at Wolfsburg, he committed himself to current team Chicago Fire.
30. Akwa (36) can look back with pride on a career in which he played a key role in Angola’s maiden qualification for the FIFA World Cup, in 2006. At the tournament proper in Germany, he appeared in all three of the Palancas Negras’ group matches, from which they emerged with the creditable record of two draws and a defeat. The forward also took part in two CAF Africa Cup of Nations events, in 1996 and 2006. Akwa played for Benfica, Alverca and Academica de Coimbra in Portugal before packing his bags for Qatar, where he hoisted the Crown Prince Cup and finished top scorer in the league with Al Wakrah. After joining Qatar SC, he added another national championship and two further Crown Prince Cups to his footballing CV, but then chose to return to Al Wakrah. The African striker was named Angolan Player of the Year in 2006.
31. Christopher Dawes (38) was involved in the Jamaican national side’s most remarkable achievement, namely qualifying for the 1998 FIFA World Cup France. He also played in two CONCACAF Gold Cups with the Reggae Boyz, finishing fourth in 1998. The disciplined defender donned the colours of several clubs during his career, including Jamaican outfit United Galaxy and MLS side Colorado Rapids. After hanging up his boots, Dawes moved into coaching.
1. Hawar Mulla Mohammed (32) is one of Iraqi football’s greatest stars, having helped his national team to achieve some truly memorable feats. After having represented his nation at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2001, he played a key role in the side that finished fourth at the Olympic Football Tournament at Athens 2004. With the senior team, the pacey wide man turned out at the AFC Asian Cups of 2004 and 2007, emerging victorious against the odds at the latter competition. This laudable accomplishment provided the Lions of Mesopotamia with a berth at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Mohammed turned professional with Mosul in his homeland, prior to inspiring Bagdad-based Al Quwa Al Jawiya to league glory. He then exported his skills to Lebanon, where he landed a domestic league and cup double with Al Ansar of Beirut. After putting pen to paper with Apollon Limassol, with whom he held aloft the Cypriot Super Cup, he enjoyed spells with UAE side Al Ain and Qatari club Al Khor. A return to Cyprus saw the much-travelled Iraqi reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League with Anorthosis Famagusta. He took advantage of the opportunity to become the first player from Iraq to score in Europe’s flagship club contest. He was then transferred to Iranian giants Persepolis, where he won the Hazfi Cup. Stints with Esteghlal and Zob Ahan followed, as did a return to Iraq and a contract with Erbil Sports Club.