Sunday 03 April 2016, 06:19

Happy Birthday to you!

In our regular Sunday feature, presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.

3. Tim Krul(28) played a key role in the Netherlands’ run to the semi-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, coming off the bench just prior to his side’s quarter-final penalty shoot-out against Costa Rica, during which he made two decisive saves. In his youth, the charismatic goalkeeper finished third at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup. At club level, the Dutch shot-stopper began his career at Newcastle United, who loaned him out to Falkirk (Scotland) and Carlisle United (England) in order to gain first-team experience. Upon returning to Newcastle, Krul established himself as the Magpies’ No1, a position he occupies to this day.

4. Sami Khedira(29)was part of the German sides that emerged victorious from the 2009 UEFA European U-21 Championship and finished third at the 2010 World Cup, where he played in seven matches. The dynamic midfielder also took part in UEFA EURO 2012 and Brazil 2014, contributing to Die Mannschaft’s memorable victory at the latter tournament. A product of Stuttgart’s youth system, he established himself in the club’s starting XI and captured a Bundesliga title in 2007. Khedira subsequently signed for Real Madrid, with whom he won a Liga Championship, two Spanish Cups, a Spanish Super Cup, a UEFA Champions League crown and a FIFA Club World Cup. In the summer of 2015, he put pen to paper with Juventus.

5. Joris Mathijsen(36) competed for the Netherlands at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, playing six matches in South Africa, including the Final versus Spain. The commanding centre-back also starred at EURO 2008 and EURO 2012. Mathijsen started out with Willem II, and later pulled on the jerseys of AZ Alkmaar, Hamburg, Malaga and Feyenoord.

6. Fatawu Dauda(31) was Ghana’s last line of defence versus Germany and Portugal at Brazil 2014, and at the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, where the Black Stars finished fourth. The Obuasi-born keeper has, barring brief spells at South African clubs Orlando Pirates and Chippa United, spent most of his career with Ghanaian outfit Ashanti Gold.

7. Luigi De Agostini(55) represented Italy at the 1990 World Cup, where he made six appearances as La Nazionale finished third on home soil. The pacey full-back had previously played in four games and scored one goal at EURO 1988, and helped the Italians to finish fourth at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament that same year. After bagging a Serie B title with Udinese, De Agostini turned out for Trento, Catanzaro, Hellas Verona, Juventus, where he claimed an Italian Cup and a UEFA Cup, Inter Milan, and Reggiana.

8. Grzegorz Lato(66) was a key figure in Polish football’s golden period during the 1970s and 80s, appearing at three consecutive World Cups: Germany 1974, where he topped the scoring charts with seven goals and inspired his side to a third-place finish, Argentina 1978, and Spain 1982, where he and his team-mates again finished third. Overall, his individual record on football’s greatest stage reads ten goals in 20 matches. The attack-minded Pole also enjoyed Olympic success, picking up a gold medal at Munich 1972 and a silver medal at Montreal 1976. The Malbork native turned professional at Stal Mielec, where he clinched two Polish League titles and two Polish Footballer of the Year awards, prior to defending the colours of Belgian side Sporting Lokeren and Mexican outfit Atlante, with whom he lifted the CONCACAF Champions Cup. After hanging up his boots, Lato moved into coaching, taking the reins of several clubs, including Stal Mielec, Olimpia Poznan and Amica Wronki.

9. Jorge Andrade(38) participated in the 2002 World Cup with Portugal, where he played in two matches but could not prevent his side from being eliminated in the group stage, and in EURO 2004, where A Selecção das Quinas lost to Greece in the final. After hoisting a Portuguese Cup and Super Cup with Porto, the commanding centre-back landed a Spanish Super Cup with Deportivo La Coruna. In 2007, Andrade committed himself to Juventus, but a series of injuries prevented him from securing a regular starting place in the team. The former Portuguese international is currently the assistant coach at Lisbon-based Atletico.