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.
6. Siboniso Gaxa (30) played at several major tournaments with South Africa, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where the Bafana Bafana finished fourth. The energetic right-back also took part in every CAF African Cup of Nations between 2006 and 2013, as well as in the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup. At club level, he won three national trophies with Supersport United, before lifting the domestic cup with Mamelodi Sundowns. He then exported his defensive skills to Belgium, spending two seasons with Lierse. Gaxa returned to his homeland to sign for Kaizer Chiefs in the summer of 2012.
7. Bodo Illgner (47) starred at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups with West Germany and the unified German team respectively, playing seven games and conceding just five goals as his side emerged victorious in Italy. In the USA four years later, he suffered a surprise quarter-final exit at the hands of Bulgaria. The outstanding shot-stopper also experienced disappointment at UEFA EURO 1992, where Denmark defeated Die Nationalelf in the final. He had previously enjoyed success at the UEFA European U-16 Championship in 1984. The reliable custodian started out at Cologne, with whom he reached the finals of the German Cup and UEFA Cup and was named European Goalkeeper of the Year in 1991, prior to putting pen to paper with Real Madrid, where he secured two Liga titles, a Spanish Super Cup, two UEFA Champions League crowns and an Intercontinental Cup. In April 2013, Spanish football publication Marca included him in the best foreign XI in Real’s history.
8. Therese Sjogran (37) competed at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ for Sweden in 2003, where they reached the final, as well as in 2007 and 2011, where they finished third on both occasions. The dynamic midfielder also participated in three Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments, namely Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, and in four UEFA European Women's Championships. Sjogran began her career at Wa IF, and then spent nine seasons at Malmo, with whom she clinched the Damallsvenskan title. Following a subsequent spell with American outfit Sky Blue, she retraced her steps, rejoining Malmo (now known as Rosengard) and inspiring her team-mates to Swedish League and Super Cup glory.
9. Blaise Matuidi (27) played a key role in France’s eventful but ultimately successful qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014, making nine appearances in total. Consequently, the tireless midfielder will be hopeful of making his way into Didier Deschamps’ final squad this summer. After turning professional at Troyes, he turned out for Saint-Etienne, where his performances attracted the attention of Paris Saint-Germain. Matuidi has since blossomed in the French capital, claiming the Ligue 1 title and Trophee des champions last year.
10. Alvin and Lorenzo Tehau (25) were part of the Tahiti team that made history by qualifying for a major international competition – the 2013 Confederations Cup – for the first time, following their remarkable victory at the 2012 OFC Nations Cup. Earlier in their careers, the twin brothers has appeared at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, held in Egypt. The siblings started off at the same club, AS Tefana, where they won the Tahitian League and Cup double two years in a row. Alvin, an imposing striker, later defended the colours of Indonesian side Atjeh United and modest Belgian outfit BX Brussels, before joining back up with his brother at Tefana in 2012.
11. Matt Holland (40) represented the Republic of Ireland at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, playing four matches and scoring an equaliser against Cameroon in the group stage, but unfortunately missing a penalty in the shoot-out that determined his country’s Round-of-16 clash with Spain. The bustling midfield man made his professional debut at Bournemouth, but truly rose to prominence at Ipswich Town. In 2003, Holland committed himself to Charlton Athletic, where he spent six productive campaigns before hanging up his boots.
12. Blerim Dzemaili (28) made a significant contribution to Switzerland’s recent qualification for the 2014 World Cup, playing in nine of their ten encounters, and now looks likely to feature for the Helvetians in Brazil over the summer. The composed midfielder had previously taken part in the 2005 U-20 World Cup. He originally came through the ranks at FC Zurich, with whom he sealed two Swiss Championships and a Swiss Cup. A move to English club Bolton Wanderers followed, as did stints at Torino and Parma in Italy. In 2011, Dzemaili joined Napoli, holding aloft the Coppa Italia later that season.