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.
5. Jaroslav Plasil (31) took part in the Czech Republic’s only FIFA World Cup™ adventure to date, at Germany 2006, and competed in the last three UEFA European Championships. The Opocno-born midfielder started out at Hradec Kralove in his homeland, before signing for Monaco, who then loaned him out to lower-league Creteil. A subsequent move to Osasuna was followed by a four-season spell with Bordeaux. Plasil is currently on loan at Serie A side Catania.
6. Mohamed Oulhaj (25) can celebrate his birthday with pride this year, having recently marshalled the Raja Casablanca defence during their unexpected run to the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, a match the Moroccans lost to an on-form Bayern Munich. The solid centre-back came through the ranks at Raja, earning a promotion to the senior team, with whom he won three Botola Pro League titles and a Moroccan Cup. Oulhaj was called up for his country several times during the unsuccessful qualifying campaigns for South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.
7. Jade North (31) helped Australia to claim second place at the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup, participated in the Olympic Football Tournaments of 2004 and 2008, lifted the 2004 OFC Nations Cup and finished second at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. In addition, the reliable defender played an important role in the Socceroos’ successful 2010 and 2014 World Cup qualifying campaigns, and hopes to make his debut in the tournament proper in Brazil. North began his career at Brisbane Strikers, before putting pen to paper with Sydney Olympic, where he secured the Australian Championship. He then repeated this feat with his next two clubs, Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets. The Australian international opted to export his skills abroad, first to Korean outfit Incheon United and then to Norwegian club Tromso, Wellington Phoenix, FC Tokyo and Japanese side Consadole Sapporo. He returned home to represent A-League team Brisbane Roar in January 2013.
8. Sebastian Eguren (33) has been instrumental in Uruguay’s return to prominence at continental and global level, appearing at the 2010 World Cup, where La Celeste finished fourth, and hoisting the 2011 Copa America. Last year, the midfield man was part of the squad that first reached the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup and then qualified for Brazil 2014. Eguren turned professional at Montevideo Wanderers, prior to pulling on the jerseys of Danubio, Nacional, Norwegian giants Rosenborg, and Swedish side Hammarby. After enjoying a two-year stint with Villarreal, he retraced his footsteps to Sweden, where he obtained a league winners’ medal with AIK Solna. He then played for Sporting Gijon and Paraguayan club Libertad, before committing himself to current employers Palmeiras, with whom he landed the Brazilian second division title last year.
9. Juanfran (28) emerged victorious from EURO 2012 with Spain and played an active part in his nation’s successful qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014. As a younger man, he appeared at two U-20 World Cups, attaining the final at UAE 2003 and the quarter-finals at Netherlands 2005, and triumphed at the UEFA European U-19 Championship in 2004. The tireless right-back was a product of the Real Madrid youth academy but, due to stiff competition for places, moved to Espanyol on loan for the 2005/06 season, a campaign which culminated in a Copa del Rey victory for Los Periquitos. Juanfran was then transferred to Osasuna, where his consistent form attracted the interest of Atletico Madrid, with whom he has since clinched the UEFA Europe League title, the UEFA Super Cup and another Copa del Rey.
10. Nelson Cuevas (33) defended the colours of Paraguay at Korea/Japan 2002, where he scored two goals against Slovenia, and Germany 2006, where he found the net against Trinidad and Tobago. The skilful winger had previously starred at the 1999 U-20 World Cup and the Copa America tournaments of 1999 and 2007. At club level, the South American has won league titles in four different countries: Argentina, with River Plate (five times), Mexico, with Pachuca, Paraguay, with Libertad, and Chile, with Universidad de Chile. Cuevas also plied his trade for, among others, Inter Shanghai, Club America, with whom he competed in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2006, Santos, Olimpia, Albacete and Puebla.
11. Ali Zitouni (32) played in all three of Tunisia’s group-stage encounters at Korea/Japan 2002, but could not prevent the Eagles of Carthage from suffering an early exit. Two years earlier, the talented wide man had finished fourth at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, scoring twice during the continental contest. Zitouni scooped no fewer than eight Tunisian League crowns, two Tunisian Cups and an African Cup Winners’ Cup with Esperance, during which he time he finished top scorer in the league four times. Following a brief stay at French side Troyes, he tried his luck in the Turkish Super Lig, turning out for Antalyaspor, Konyaspor and Kartalspor. At the start of this current season, the Tunisian headed home to Hammam Lif.