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Mar 14, 2013

Continental hat-tricks

If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to ESPN's team of football anoraks at asknorman@hotmail.com and they will try to answer as many as possible.

Shinji Kagawa's hat-trick for Manchester United against Norwich completed a continent set (excluding Antarctica). At least one player from Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia, North/South America has scored a hat- trick in the Premier League. Who was the first African to score a hat-trick? Yusuf Sambo from Nigeria, asked.

The first African was also the first non-European to score a hat-trick and the first player from any continent to get four goals in a Premier League game. Nigeria international Efan Ekoku struck four times in Norwich's 5-1 win at Everton in September 1993. As Ekoku was actually born in Manchester, the first African-born player to get the match-ball was Zimbabwe's Peter Ndlovu for a treble for Coventry against Liverpool in 1995.

The first Australian to get a hat-trick, by the way, was Leeds' Mark Viduka, who scored all four in their 4-3 win over Liverpool in 2000. The first from South America was Blackburn's Roque Santa Cruz in a 5-3 defeat to Wigan in 2007, while if we count Trinidad & Tobago, a member of Concacaf, as part of North America, the first from that continent was Aston Villa's Dwight Yorke against Newcastle in 1996.

There are now four Leeds players playing at Norwich (Bradley Johnson, Jonny Howson, Robert Snodgrass and Luciano Becchio). What is the most amount of players who all played at one club together, to all move directly to the same new club? Oliver Merven asked

Yes, Norwich seem to sign one player every transfer window from Elland Road. However, Leeds have five players signed from Portsmouth on their books: Jamie Ashdown, Jason Pearce, Michael Brown, David Norris and Luke Varney.

But there is a bigger reunion in the Championship. Watford have taken nine players on loan from Udinese, who share the same owners, with one of those deals becoming permanent. They are Almen Abdi, Cristian Battocchio, Marco Casetti, Lars Ekstrand, Jean-Alain Fanchone, Fernando Forestieri, Alex Geijo, Neuton Piccoli and Matej Vydra. Forrestieri's move to Vicarage Road has been made permanent.

Has it ever happened in a competitive game where a penalty shootout is involved, and the two teams have gone through all the players and still couldn't decide the match? I could remember there was one important game several years ago, where both teams have gone through five of their initial penalty takers, and the score was still tied and it goes into sudden-death shootout - this was the Champions League final in 2008 between Manchester United and Chelsea - and that the game was ultimately decided by the save of Edwin van der Sar from Nicolas Anelka. Have any of them gone further than this game between Man Utd and Chelsea? Chung Wong from Hong Kong asked

They have indeed. The longest penalty shootout on record came in the Namibian Cup in 2005 when KK Palace beat Civics 17-16. It included 48 penalties, meaning some players were on their third spot kick when it finished. There was also a 44-penalty shootout between Argentinos Juniors and Racing Club in 1988. A more recent, and prominent, lengthy shootout included 32 spot kicks when Netherlands' Under-21 team defeated their English counterparts 13-12 in 2007.

The 2008 Champions League final shootout, by the way, lasted 14 spot kicks with Anelka missing the last of them after Ryan Giggs had scored Manchester United's seventh penalty.

Why, for some clubs in Germany, does the No. 1 appear next to the club name? For example, 1.FC Nurnberg and 1.FC Koln? Daniel from Bangkok, Thailand asked

We passed this over to our German football expert Uli Hesse who replied: "This is a more complicated question than you'd think. Basically, the idea is to say that you are the first football club in the city. More precisely, the first that was formed in your city.

"However, of course not every club in Germany decided to use this rather grandiose prefix. I think the first to do so was the "1. Hanauer Fussball-Club 1893" which carried that name from the day it was formed in 1893.

"Not many other clubs followed this example. When a club was founded in Kaiserslautern in 1900 it was simply called FC Kaiserslautern. When a club was formed in Saarbrücken, it was simply called FV Saarbrücken. (The V also stands for club.)

"It wasn't until many years later that FC Kaiserslautern was renamed 1. FC Kaiserslautern and FV Saarbrücken was called 1. FC Saarbrücken. Which begs the question, who started that fashion? An educated guess is: 1. FC Nürnberg. It was formed under that name in 1900.

"In the 1920s, Nürnberg was the biggest club in the land (so big, in fact, that people started called it very simply 'the Club'). I suppose that people felt it was cool to emulate Nürnberg and be a "1. FC" instead of just a plain "FC".

"The great irony of it all is that the founders of 1. FC Nürnberg were unaware of the fact that their club wasn't the first football club in Nuremberg! (There had been two obscure, smaller clubs before.)

"In any case, the "1." has now all but lost the meaning of "First" in a chronological sense. When two Cologne clubs merged in 1948, the new club was called "1. FC" even though everybody knew there were older clubs in the city. In this case, the "1." was clearly chosen to denote size or superiority."

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