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Sep 25 12 8:05 PM

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nfm24 wrote:
Good topic - who else could have won 100 caps without the wars? Stanley Matthews?

If England's War Time Games were regarded as official A-internationals Stanley Matthews would have played 83 full internationals.

Beside Dutch legend Abe Lenstra http://roonba.20.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=1916 some German players would have been good canidates. Germany did not play any full internationals between 22-11-1942 and 22-11-1950.

Paul Janes (1912) could have played eight more years. Despite his age of 38, Janes almost would have had a comeback for Germany in the first international game after WWII in 1950, but he broke his foot shortly before and thus had to finish his career for good. If there was no war he might have been World's first player ever to make 100 caps.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Janes

German World Cup legend Fritz Walter (1920) made his full international debut for Germany in 1940 and also could have played eight more years for Germany. Please keep in mind Germany used to play 10+ international matches a year in the 1934-1942 era.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Walter
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#1 [url]

Sep 26 12 9:22 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romualdas_Marcinkus
One of the most interesting cases, in my opinion.


We could also consider that, without the second world war particularly, the development of international football would have been accelerated, there would have been earlier World Cups with more genuinely global involvement, and players like Lenstra and Matthews would have played even more international games in these years. Some countries, such as Hungary, Sweden, Switzerland, carried on playing matches during the wars, so I haven't considered their players (although surely some players were affected anyhow).


Tom Finney (one of England's best ever players) couldn't begin his international career until 1946, when he was already aged 24. He won 76 caps.

Some other players affected, potentially:

Bernard Voorhoof (Belgium) 61 caps up to 1940, ending age 29.
"Jef" Mermans (Belgium) 56 caps from 1945, starting age 23
Armand Swartenbroeks (Belgium) 53 caps, 1913-28
Frantisek Planicka (Czechoslovakia) 73 caps up to 1938, ending age 34.
Antonin Puc (Czechoslovakia) 61 caps up to 1939, ending age 32.
Evald Tipner (Estonia), 67 caps up to 1939, ending age 33.
Heinrich Uukkivi (Estonia), 46 caps up to 1939, ending age 27.
Etienne Mattler (France) 46 caps up to 1940, ending age 34.
Edmond Delfour (France) 41 caps up to 1938, ending age 30.
Paul Janes (Germany), 71 caps up to 1942, ending age 30.
Ernst Lehner (Germany), 65 caps up to 1942, ending age 29.
Fritz Walter (Germany), 61 caps, 1940-1958
Giuseppe Meazza (Italy), 53 caps up to 1939, ending age 28
Renzo De Vecchi (Italy), 43 caps, 1910-25.
Eriks Petersons (Latvia), 63 caps up to 1939, ending age 29 or 30.
Janis Lidmanis (Latvia), 55 caps up to 1940, ending age 30.
Alberts Seibelis (Latvia), 54 caps up to 1939, ending age 32.
Romualdas Marcinkus (Lithuania), 41 caps up to 1938, ending age 30.
Puck van Heel (Netherlands), 64 caps up to 1938, ending age 34.
Harry Dénis (Netherlands), 56 caps from 1919, starting age 22.
Thorbjørn Svenssen (Norway), 104 caps from 1947, starting age 23.
Gunnar Thoresen (Norway), 64 caps from 1946, starting age 26.
Harry Boye Karlsen (Norway), 58 caps from 1946, starting age 26.
Reidar Kvammen (Norway), 51 caps, 1933-49
Lefter Küçükandonyadis (Turkey), 46 caps from 1948, starting age 22.
Stjepan Bobek (Yugoslavia), 63 caps from 1946, starting age 22.
Branko Stankovic (Yugoslavia), 61 caps from 1946, starting age 24.
Rajko Mitic (Yugoslavia), 59 caps from 1946, starting age 23.
Blagoje Marjanovic (Yugoslavia), 57 caps up to 1938, ending age 30.


Regarding the first world war, the great Welsh player Billy Meredith (48 caps) could have been the first player to win 50 caps*. Indeed, he should have done so anyhow: he was selected for more than 70 matches but on many occasions was not released by his clubs (Manchester City & Manchester United) for international duty.

* : if you wish you can think of Vivian Woodward as having more than 50 caps by combining his England and England Amateur caps. He could also have won many more caps but was injured during the war and did not play again at a high level.


On a similar subject, let us not forget that Russian / Soviet players were isolated from international competition until after WW2, so many great players were denied opportunities to win many caps.

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#2 [url]

Sep 26 12 11:34 AM

In this case I would also like to include Belgian player Jules van Craen (1920-1945) who won two caps for Belgium in 1940. Unbelievable there is only a Wikipedia site in French available for this very talented player who was from Belgian province Antwerpen which is in Flanders. Under normal circumstances he should have played at least twelve years for Belgium.

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Van_Craen

And how about some Hungarian players who left their country after the 1956 revolution? Puskás already have won 84 caps for Hungary in 1956 when he was 29 years and remained a top player until the mid 1960s, so he could have played at least eight more years for the Hungarians. At the time 27 year old Kocsis has already won 68 caps for Hungary and also could have played at least eight more years for his country.

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#3 [url]

Sep 26 12 5:57 PM

How could I have forgotten Bertus de Harder who played 12 official A (Wikipedia site is wrong by mentioning 11) for Netherlands in the 1938-1955 era? De Harder, who was born in 1920 missed not only six years because of War, also three years because some KNVB leaders did not want him to play for Dutch NT and another six years because he played as professional in France due to KNVB strict amateur rules. De Harder was also member of the legendary 1953 Watersnoodselftal http://roonba.20.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=1908 that beat France 2-1 at Colombes. De Harder scored the equaliser.

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertus_de_Harder
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Lambertus_de_Harder

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#4 [url]

Sep 26 12 9:56 PM

I didn't consider players who won only a few caps (but had potential for scores more) because there are too many variables.

If we're looking beyond wars, how about Duncan Edwards, who died in the Munich air crash. Many players and coaches of his era say that he would most probably have captained England for many years, and rate him as one of the best of all time.

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#7 [url]

Jun 26 17 8:48 AM

We can argue about the term "war". If war means "Yugoslav Wars", then I'd cite also Dragan Stojković. He owns 84 caps, the first one in 1983 and the last one in 2001. So if we consider that Yugoslavia missed almost 3 years because of the civil war, then it's probable Stojković would have reached 100 appearances for his National Team.

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