When the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia this June, Stoke City fans will look forward to watching their own players compete in the biggest sporting event in the world.
With the World Cup just around the corner we have looked at what players represented their country whilst signed for Stoke City, and with many players representing their country before or after playing for Stoke City, we could only find seven who were signed at Stoke, whilst playing in the World Cup.
Before we look at those players who have already played at the World Cup, here are members of the current squad who we could see in Russia.
Jack Butland will hope he can emulate World Cup winner Gordon Banks, as he fights for the England No.1 spot and a place on the plane in Gareth Southgate’s first World Cup squad.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Cameroon), Mame Diouf (Senegal) and Ramadan Sobhi (Egypt) have the weights of Africa rested on their shoulders as each team looks to be the first ever African nation to lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s Switzerland, qualified for the competition after beating Northern Ireland 1-0 over two legs, this will be their fourth consecutive World Cup that they have qualified for, and all eyes will be on the Potters winger to produce similar displays to those during Euro 2016.
The first player to represent the Potters was the greatest goalkeeper to ever have played the game, Gordon Banks.
Banks won the 1966 World Cup whilst signed for Leicester City, one year later he signed for the Potters from the Foxes, and his debut came in a 3-1 win against his previous club.
During the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, he played three times as England qualified for the knockout stage before being knocked out in extra-time against West Germany, which Banks missed with illness.
The 1970 World Cup was the first to be televised in colour, England in white and Brazil in yellow, their second group game was always going to be a great spectacle, but the most memorable moment of the game could be argued as the ‘greatest save of all-time’.
Jarzinho picked the ball up on the wing and floated a cross towards Pelé, tracking the cross from the front post, Banks shuffled his feet towards the back post before diving to spectacularly scoop the ball up and over the bar at what looked to be an impossible an angle.
Two years later Banks was lifting the League Cup, as the Potters beat Chelsea 2-1 in the final at Wembley, thanks to goals from Terry Conroy and George Eastham.
After playing over 300 games for Manchester United, Sammy McIlroy signed for the Potters in 1982, and went onto make over 100 games for the club.
McIlroy represented Northern Ireland during the 1982 World Cup held in Spain, he played in all five of the Northern Ireland’s games as they qualified for the second round, after drawing against Yugoslavia and Honduras, the Irish needed a heroic performance against the host nations to qualify, the Irish won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Gerry Armstrong.
In the second round N. Ireland were placed in Group D, with only the winners going through, the first game they drew 2-2 against Austria, unfortunately, three days later they lost against France 4-1.
McIlroy left Stoke in 1985 signing for Manchester City, a year later he captained Northern Ireland in the 1986 Mexico World Cup.
28 years later Thomas Sorensen became the next Potter to represent his country on the World stage, as his Denmark team featured in the first World Cup held on the African continent.
Playing in all three games, the Danes failed to qualify for the knockout stage as they lost two games against Netherlands and Japan. Ibrahim Affelay came off the bench for the Netherlands as the beat Sorenson’s Denmark 2-0.
The Danes only win of the tournament came during the second group game held in Pretoria, they faced Cameroon and overcame the African nation 2-1 with former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner scoring to cancel out a Samuel Eto’o goal, before John Dahl Tomasson scored the winner.
Wilson Palacios followed Peter Crouch from Tottenham to the Potteries in a deal thought to be around £6 million, playing only 38 games in a four-year spell.
Palacios played 97 games for Honduras during an eleven year spell, with two of those caps coming during the 2014 Brazil World Cup, unfortunately though, his team were knocked out during the group stage as he appeared in losses against France and Switzerland.
Joining Palacios at the 2014 World Cup was Geoff Cameron who featured in two games against Ghana and Portugal.
Cameron signed for the Potters in 2012 from MLS side Houston Dynamo after being named in the MLS All-Star team which played against Manchester United.
Cameron’s USA team faced Ghana during the first game of the group stage winning 2-1 before holding Portugal to shock 2-2 draw, as Portugal equalised in the 95th minute.
Asmir Begovic & Peter Odemwingie
Asmir Begovic and Peter Odemwingie also represented their nations in the 2014 World Cup, Begovic’s Bosnia failed to qualify for the knockout stage even though they beat Iran in the last game of the group 3-1.
Bosnia lost their first game against Argentina 2-1, whilst Odemwingie’s Nigeria drew to Iran 0-0 and then lost their last game against Argentina 3-2.
The second game of the Group F, saw Odemwingie and Begovic lock horns, with Nigeria scoring the only goal of the game, and it was Odemwingie who placed it past his teammate at Stoke, Begovic.
Overall, Stoke players have played 21 games at the World Cup, winning seven games, drawing five and losing nine, since Gordon Banks was the first player to play at the World Cup whilst signed for the Potters in 1970.