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 Posted by Nick Miller
Jun 14, 2014

Top Tenner: World Cup breakout stars

Our panel of experts compare the number of goals scored so far in Brazil to the number of goals scored in South Africa up until this point.

The World Cup is usually the place where the established players on the planet display their talents, but some have announced themselves at the tournament. Nick Miller picks out 10 of the best ...

10) Joe Gaetjens - 1950‎

While some of the names on this list are huge and lasting stars who announced themselves to the planet at the World Cup, perhaps the essence of the breakout star is one that shines brightly then disappears. If that's true then Joe Gaetjens, the man who scored the goal that shocked a complacent England at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, might just be the definitive breakout star. Born in Haiti, Gaetjens was sent to New York by his family to study accountancy but took a job washing dishes in a hotel, thus forming some of the mystique of that USA team of part-timers beating the professionals of England.

The American team were feted as heroes after the 1-0 win but Gaetjens decided to leave the country in order to pursue a professional career in France. Sadly, it was curtailed by injury and he eventually returned to his native Haiti. Nobody really knows what happened to Gaetjens after his disappearance in 1964, but his son told the BBC the most common theory is that was taken to a notorious torture prison and killed personally by dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier. He was inducted into the USA Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976.

9) Michael Owen - 1998

It's usually a pretty good job that football managers don't allow themselves to be swayed by popular opinion -- they'd go mad for a start, but would also make some terrible, terrible decisions. However, in 1998 Joe Public might have had a point, as Glenn Hoddle faced something of a clamour to play wunderkind Michael Owen from the start of England's World Cup campaign.

Hoddle initially stuck with the tried and trusted pairing of Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham, but when things started going awry in the second group game against Romania, he called upon the 18-year-old flyer who had been scaring defences up and down England for the previous season. The rest of the world perhaps weren't aware of Owen's talents until the second-round game against Argentina, but he announced himself through a massive megaphone with that astonishing goal to give England the lead. One of the most notable things about that strike is Roberto Ayala, a terrific and experienced defender, positioning himself right on the edge of the penalty area in an attempt to deal with Owen's explosive pace -- an attempt which didn't quite go according to plan.

An 18-year-old Michael Owen scored a brilliant solo goal against Argentina in 1998.

8) Teofilo Cubillas - 1970

It is quite easy not to look too far past Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino and the rest of that Brazil side when recalling the 1970 World Cup but the young star of the tournament came from Peru and announced himself in a pretty big way. Known as the "Pele of Peru" by some, Cubillas was just 20 in 1970; his precociousness earning him the more common nickname of "Nene." Cubillas scored five goals at that World Cup, including a dramatic winner after Peru came back from 2-0 down against Bulgaria, a goal that clearly had something of an impact back home.

"This goal gave back hope to our country as two days before an earthquake hit Peru, killing 50,000 people," said Cubillas in 2012. Indeed, he would go on to score another five in 1978, making him just one of two players to score five at two different World Cups -- the other being Miroslav Klose.

7) Oleg Salenko - 1994

There's a decent argument that Oleg Salenko's international career is the strangest in World Cup history, perhaps of all time. Salenko had great promise as a youngster, winning the Golden Boot at the 1989 under-20 World Cup, but his international career was made a little more complicated by the breakup of the Soviet Union. He made one appearance for Ukraine in 1992, before making his senior debut for Russia a year later, playing five times before travelling to USA 1994.

There, he shared the Golden Boot with Hristo Stoichkov (making him the only man to win that award at both the under-20 and full World Cups), despite not starting the first game and Russia going out in the first round, with five of the goals coming in a dead rubber against Cameroon.

He never played another international again.

6) Jose Leandro Andrade - 1930

At No. 10 in France Football's World Cup top 100, published before the 1994 tournament, above Mario Kempes, Bobby Charlton, Eusebio, Johan Cruyff, Dino Zoff and Paolo Rossi, was a Uruguayan midfielder called Jose Leandro Andrade.

Andrade was already a star at home before the 1930 World Cup, partly because of off-the-field antics that would shame the "bad boys" of today, but perhaps not in the wider world.

The 28-year-old Andrade was apparently a little past his peak at the tournament in his homeland, perhaps in part because he was blind in one eye due to either colliding with a goalpost or contracting syphilis, depending on which report you believe. But he was still magnificent as Uruguay won the inaugural World Cup. Alas, the final was his last game for Uruguay, and he died penniless at age 56 in a Montevideo asylum.

5) Sergio Goycochea - 1990

For a while, Sergio Goycochea must have been sick of the sight of Nery Pumpido. The former was the latter's understudy at River Plate for five years, and despite leaving for Millonarios in Colombia in 1988, there he was again, second choice to Pumpido as Argentina travelled to defend their title in 1990.

However, firstly Pumpido's calamitous error in the opening game against Cameroon was largely responsible for one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, then he broke his leg in the second game, giving Goycochea his chance. Argentina progressed through to the final thanks to his clean sheet against Brazil and his magnificent performances in penalty shootouts in both the quarter and semifinals, saving four kicks and earning him the tournament's Golden Glove award.

4) Geoff Hurst - 1966

So synonymous is Geoff Hurst with England's win at the 1966 World Cup that it's easy to forget that he didn't start the tournament in the team. In fact, he didn't start a game until the quarterfinals after Jimmy Greaves -- who was Alf Ramsey's first-choice centre-forward and in the lineup for the three group games -- suffered a cut to his leg. Hurst had only made his international debut that year but some iffy performances in a couple of pre-tournament friendlies led to Ramsey choosing Greaves and Roger Hunt initially.

When Hurst did get a chance he grabbed it rather tightly, scoring the winner against Argentina then setting up one of Bobby Charlton's brace against Portugal in the semi. And then of there was the final ...

3) Just Fontaine - 1958

Scoring a hat trick on your international debut might usually be considered enough to win a spot in the next game but not for Just Fontaine. The striker bagged a treble for France against Luxembourg in 1953 but since it was a dead-rubber qualifier in which 11 changes had been made, Fontaine was out for the following match and only played four more times in the following five years.

Fontaine was selected for the 1958 squad although his starting place was only guaranteed after fellow forward Rene Bliard was ruled out through injury -- but from there he did pretty well. He helped himself to three in the opener against Paraguay then three more in the following two group games, a brace in the quarterfinal against Northern Ireland and an ultimately forlorn one against Brazil in the semi.

A total of nine goals in five World Cup games is pretty decent to say the least, but Fontaine padded out his total to the still-standing single tournament record of 13 with four in the third-place playoff, a 6-3 win over West Germany.

"Let me repeat it: 13 goals is an enormous total," said Fontaine. "Beating my record? I don't think it can ever be done."

2) Toto Schillaci - 1990

Back in 1990 the football world was much bigger as opposed to these days, when everyone has an opinion about every player who's had a sniff of action in a reasonable league. In 1990 Salvatore Schillaci wasn't exactly an unknown, given that he played for Juventus, who paid the then not-inconsiderable sum of 3 million pounds for him, but neither was he a household name.

"I had got the last place in the squad so I did not even expect to be on the bench," Schillaci told the BBC recently. "I thought I would be watching from the stands."

But of course he didn't watch from the stands, thrown on in Italy's first game as something of a Hail Mary attempt to break down Austria by Italy coach Azeglio Vicini, and it worked, with Schillaci heading home to earn the hosts a 1-0 win. He was on the bench again for the next game against the USA, but made the starting lineup for the final group game against Czechoslovakia, opening the scoring before Roberto Baggio scored that astonishing, slaloming goal.

He would go on to find the net four more times and pip Tomas Skuhravy to the Golden Boot, but after the tournament he more or less disappeared, only scoring once more for Italy thanks to a combination of injury and bad form. Still, at least he has that World Cup and a thoroughbred racehorse named after him to cling to.

The brilliant Pele made his World Cup debut in 1958 and never looked back.

1) Pele - 1958

Most people haven't really figured much out in their lives by the age of 17. Few people have really achieved anything of note, and perhaps haven't even decided what profession they want to enter, never mind determined that and achieved the very peak of it before they can legally drink alcohol.

Pele had, though, but he very nearly didn't make it to the 1958 World Cup, with a pre-tournament knee injury putting his participation in doubt, only for his teammates to demand his inclusion. It's a good job they did. Pele scored the winner against Wales in the quarterfinal, a hat trick in the semi against France and -- of course -- two in the final as Brazil beat Sweden 5-2.

Such was his emotion at the final whistle that Pele passed out on the pitch, and even when he regained consciousness he wept uncontrollably; presumably the magnitude of what this boy had achieved hitting home. Interestingly, Pele was only awarded the Silver Ball, with teammate Didi taking home the top prize for player of the tournament.