Mark Jones wonders who has played against the most international teams, as The Spin reports that Mohammed Nabi has played against 43 of them. Given that there are significantly more international football teams than cricket teams, it is worth considering who has faced the most.
This tale begins with a highly accomplished midfielder from Estonia. According to Mick McMenemie, “In men’s football, Martin Reim is quite a tough act to follow. He has competed against 65 different countries. If someone else can surpass that record, then kudos to them.”
When it comes to oneupmanship, there is only one man that should be considered.
He has indeed, with Luxembourg (11 goals), Lithuania and Sweden (seven apiece) his favourite opponents. In total, we think Cristiano Ronaldo has played against 70 different countries since making his debut against Kazakhstan in August 2003.
However, there is one particular achievement that he cannot take credit for, at least not at this moment. Dara O’Reilly states, “This list is not comprehensive, as I have other commitments such as work and personal life, but I quickly examined the top 10 most-capped male players in international matches. Sergio Ramos seems to have faced the highest number of different opponents – 78.” We counted 77 nations, but let’s not get too technical.
Upon examining both the men’s and women’s game, it was assumed that Canada’s Christine Sinclair would be a strong contender, considering she has 328 international appearances. However, it should be noted that these appearances were only against 48 different nations.
If anyone surpasses Ramos’ overall score, please inform us – Contact us via email or tweet us at @TheKnowledge_GU.
Each cap will have a new coach assigned to it.
A few weeks ago, David Williams asked if any other players have had a record similar to Pascal Gross, who made his third consecutive appearance for Germany under three different managers this week.
Nick Kaye was among several readers who proposed Andy Cole as a player for England. Cole’s first four appearances for the national team were under four different managers. He made his debut in 1995 against Uruguay while Terry Venables was in charge. His next match was in 1997 against Italy during Glenn Hoddle’s tenure at Le Tournoi. His third game was against France in 1999 under caretaker manager Howard Wilkinson. Finally, his fourth cap and first start came a few weeks later against Poland with new manager Kevin Keegan at the helm.
Cole’s time with the England national team followed a stop-and-go pattern until 2002, when he decided to retire from international play. This decision came after he was not selected for the World Cup team under the leadership of his fifth manager, Sven Göran Eriksson. Despite his impressive record of 187 goals in the Premier League, Cole only earned 15 caps for England and scored one goal in a World Cup qualifying match against Albania in 2001.
Levelling up while trebling up
Graham Doe remarks that in Walsall’s recent match against Newport, Freddie Draper scored three goals, all of which were equalizers. He asks if there have been similar instances in the past.
Peter Abram recalls Fabrizio Ravanelli’s impressive first game for Middlesbrough against Liverpool in 1996. He was one of the few players to score a hat-trick on the first weekend of a Premier League season.
In 2018, Dan Ryazansky reported that Bradley Wright-Phillips replicated his accomplishment for NY Red Bulls against DC United. DC’s Rooney also scored, making it 2-1.
In 2011, Jostein Nygard reported that during a Norwegian league game, Jone Samuelsen of Odd scored a goal against Tromso. In a final attempt to tie the game, the Tromso goalkeeper joined in on a corner kick. However, the ball was kicked upfield by Odd and then headed back towards their own half by a Tromso defender. Samuelsen, who was positioned a few yards away from his own half, attempted to head the ball back to his teammate but missed. As a result, the ball rolled into the empty net. Nygard’s question was: what is the farthest distance someone has headed a ball into the goal?
We previously discussed this matter, albeit briefly, seven years ago (specifically on Thursday). Therefore, it is due for an update. Firstly, regarding Jone Samuelsen:
The midfielder’s impressive display was evident as he stood five yards back from midfield. Based on the standard length of a soccer field (100-130 yards), it can be estimated that Samuelsen’s shot covered a distance of 55-70 yards. From the footage, it appears to have been closer to the upper end of that range.
After searching through the records, we were unable to find a goal scored from a far distance with a header. This surpasses the previous impressive goals from 2004, such as Maradona’s for Napoli against Milan in 1988, Steve Nicol’s 25-yard strike for Liverpool against Arsenal, and possibly Marco van Basten’s skillful goal for Milan against Gothenburg.
Samuelsen’s goal may have surpassed Martín Palermo’s famous long-distance goal for Boca Juniors in 2009.
Recently, there has been an update on a notable event involving a long-range header scored by Stefan Galinski for Basford United against FC United in 2019, as pointed out by Russell Connor and others. Russell also adds that there should be extra recognition for the header bouncing five times before going into the goal. Another impressive header worth mentioning is Lorenzo De Silvestri’s no-bounce header for Bologna, brought up by Bogan Kotarlic last week.
Can you help?
In November, Fenerbahçe has maintained a flawless record in all competitions, winning all 19 matches played. Dirk Maas asks if any other team has had a longer streak of wins at the beginning of a season.
Rob Weeks asks, “In 1972, Leeds’ 39-pass sequence against Southampton was praised as a remarkable feat. However, in today’s game where more teams prioritize possession, what is the longest sequence of passes without the opposing team making contact with the ball?”
Gareth Hume inquires if Manchester City holds the record for the most penalty-free games at Old Trafford before Sunday, going all the way back to Keith Curle’s goal on April 7, 1992.
“Connor Fryer inquires if Notts County and Wrexham, who were both promoted from the National League, have ever simultaneously achieved back-to-back promotions and currently hold two of the top three automatic promotion spots in League Two.”
Please send your inquiries to us via email or tweet at @TheKnowledge_GU.