The World is still trying to take in the fact that World best duo Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are out of the World Cup. The damage was done by France and Uruguay and they fully deserved to go through to the last 16. The two stars have left us but Kylian Mbappe has just announced his arrival to the big stage. The 19-year-old terrorized the South Americans and they simply couldn’t handle his electric pace. The PSG star won a penalty to put his side ahead and then made his mark with a double to make it impossible for Messi and his team to recover. He has now joined Pele as the only two teenagers to ever score more than 2 goals in the World Cup knockout stage. Today, as we hope for more amazing stuff from the second batch of matches, let’s look at youngest ever World Cup debutants.
5. Edson Arantes do Nascimento aka Pele- 17 Years, 233 Days
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I remember that in the 1958 World Cup, there was nothing special about the number 10 shirt. I was given it by the organisers, rather than through choice. I was only 17 years old and didn't know what the number would mean for the sport's history. // Eu me lembro que na Copa do Mundo de 1958, não havia nada especial sobre a camisa número 10. Ela foi me dada pelos organizadores e não por escolha minha. Eu tinha apenas 17 anos e não sabia o que este número iria significar para a história do esporte.
Football will be different today without the likes of Pele and Maradona. This kind of names makes the World Cup a must watch for many people around the World. Brazil is the most successful country in the tournament with 5 trophies. Pele helped the Samba Boys win three of them in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
The South American magician was the youngest debutant (17 Years, 233 Days) until 1982 when Norman Whiteside broke the record aged only 17 years and 41 days. However, none of the players who broke his record managed to lift the trophy. The 77-year-old still holds the record for most goals for Brazil national team with 77 in 92 Caps.
4. Salomon Olembe- 17 Years, 183 Days
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World Cup youngest debutant record was broken twice in a matter of days in France 1998. On June 11, Salomon Olembe became the third youngest player (17 Years, 183 Days) in the tournament history. Six days later, on the 17th of the same month, his teammate Samuel Etoo broke the record (17 Years, 97 Days) again to become the second youngest ever debutant behind Norman Whiteside. Olembe was overtaken by Nigerian winger Femi Opabunmi in 2002 (17 Years, 99 Days) but now he is comfortable at the 4th place. The 37-year-old played 64 times for Cameroon.
3. Femi Opabunmi- 17 Years, 99 Days
Nigeria football fans obviously know Femi Opabunmi well but little is known about the third youngest World Cup debutant. The 33-year-old retired from football in 2006 due to serious eye problems. However, we will not forget his record in the World biggest stage. He made his debut aged only 17 years and 99 days on 12th June 2002 at Osaka in a Group F match against England.