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Jun 21, 2014

Newcastle's World Cup history

Newcastle's Moussa Sissoko scored in France's rout of Switzerland on Friday night.

When Moussa Sissoko scored France's fifth goal in their 5-2 victory over Switzerland on Friday night he became the first Newcastle United player to score at a World Cup since Alan Shearer back in France '98 and only the fifth Newcastle player to net on the world's biggest stage. Here's a look through the history books at Newcastle's representation throughout the tournaments down the years...

Newcastle's first representation at the World Cup came way back in 1950, in Brazil. England were competing in the tournament for the first time having ended their long, self-imposed FIFA exile and the squad who went to South America included United's legendary centre forward, Jackie Milburn.

He wasn't the only Magpie at the tournament, though. Chile called up another Newcastle legend, George Robledo, who was the only player in the tournament not to play his club football in his home country. Robledo and Milburn didn't get to play against each other as Milburn was left out of the England team until their final must-win fixture against Spain.

England lost 1-0 and were sent home at the first hurdle with Milburn only managing 90 minutes of football. Chile were eliminated in the group stage too although Robledo's goal in a 5-2 win over the USA made him Newcastle's first ever World Cup scorer.

The 1954 tournament was held in Switzerland and the England squad included Newcastle's Ivor Broadis. England won their group which contained the home nation, Italy and Belgium with Broadis scoring twice -- becoming the first Toon star to net for England at a World Cup -- in an exciting 4-4 draw. England crashed out in a 4-2 quarterfinal defeat to Uruguay with Broadis playing every minute in England's campaign.

England did not call on any Newcastle players for the 1958 tournament. They took no fewer than eight West Brom and Wolves players, though, which might explain why they crashed out disastrously in the first round -- the last time this happened before current fiasco in Brazil.

Northern Ireland were well stocked with honorary Geordies, however -- Alf McMichael, Dick Keith and Tommy Casey were present as they progressed further than England, losing to France at the quarterfinal stage. No Newcastle players made it to the Chile World Cup in 1962 (England lost to eventual winners Brazil in the quarterfinal), the 1966 World Cup (England won this one on home turf), the 1970 World Cup (won by Brazil in Mexico with England beaten by West Germany in the quarter finals), the 1974 World Cup (England failed to qualify and West Germany won in their own country) or 1978 (Argentina won in their home country in another tournament England failed to qualify for).

In 1982, Newcastle were represented by a player who had yet to make an appearance for them. They signed Northern Ireland international David McCreery from Tulsa Roughnecks America just before the tournament and McCreery was excellent as Northern Ireland shocked the world by beating Spain in Valencia to top the round one group. The Irishmen fell in the second group stage -- as did England -- and Italy went on to win the cup.

Another Newcastle great, Peter Beardsley, went to the 1986 World Cup but could only watch from the bench in the opening matches. As England struggled, he was called upon and he made a huge impact. 'Pedro' linked up brilliantly with Gary Lineker when England thrashed Poland 3-0 and scored a goal himself in the 3-0 win over Paraguay before England lost at the quarterfinal stage to Diego Maradona and Argentina. Maradona's Hand of God goal helped knock England out and Argentina were eventually rewarded for their cheating by going on to win the tournament.

Italia '90 was one of the iconic World Cups for England fans and while Newcastle had no players in the squad, there was a heavy Geordie flavour with ex-Magpies Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley and Dave Beasant -- as well as north east boy Bryan Robson and future Newcastle players John Barnes and Stuart Pearce.

Toon hero Alan Shearer was the last player to score at a World Cup while a Newcastle player but could not stop England losing to Argentina in 1998.

Newcastle did have one player there; Roy Aitken captained Scotland. England famously lost on penalties to eventual winners West Germany in the semifinal while Scotland failed to get out of their group. No Newcastle players played in USA '94 although several of the stars would in the future - Colombia's Tino Asprilla, Belgium's Phillipe Albert and Switzerland's Marc Hottiger all signed for Kevin Keegan later down the line.

Alan Shearer captained England in France '98 and was joined in the squad by David Batty and Rob Lee -- the most Newcastle players ever to be included in a Three Lions' World Cup squad. Shearer scored three goals but Batty missed one of the penalties in the second-round shoot out defeat to Argentina.

France won their own tournament and during the competition it was announced that their first choice forward, Stephane Guivarc'h, would sign for Newcastle later in the summer. Fans were excited about the prospect, but soon changed their minds once they saw him play.

Kieron Dyer was Newcastle's only England player to head to Japan/ Korea in 2002 and Shay Given made the Ireland squad. Dyer only managed three substitute appearances as England lost to Brazil, the eventual winners, in the quarterfinal. Given helped Ireland to the second round but couldn't stop enough penalties to prevent them being beaten by Spain in a shoot-out.

Michael Owen suffered a nasty cruciate knee ligament injury against Sweden in 2006.

Germany 2006 is a competition Newcastle fans will remember for the horror injury suffered by their striker Michael Owen against Sweden. Owen never really recovered and spent much of his recuperation talking about how he hoped to play for his country again -- alienating himself from many Geordies.

England suffered yet another quarterfinal exit (on penalties to Portugal) and Italy beat France in the final.

Jonas Gutierrez was Newcastle's only competitor at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and Argentina manager Diego Maradona curiously played him as a right back. England were trounced by Germany in the second round and Spain won their first World Cup.

And this year? Newcastle are better represented than they ever have been at a World Cup with Tim Krul (Holland), Cheick Tiote (Ivory Coast), Matthieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko and Loic Remy* (France) and Shola Ameobi* (Nigeria). So while the side struggled in a season to forget, the individual stars have still managed to make their way to Brazil.

Supporters will hope their World Cup players will arrive rejuvenated for the new campaign, with Alan Pardew under pressure to deliver.

*registered as Newcastle players although both will be playing elsewhere next season.