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World Cup: Winners you've never heard of

When football fans think of World Cup winners they naturally think of Sir Bobby Moore, Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane - to name just three.

However, there are a whole host of victorious forgotten men from World Cup tournaments past. With apologies to the likes of Zinho, Bernard Diomede and Kleberson, here we pick out five players who have a World Cup winners medal on their CV but are rarely mentioned, despite some of them playing fairly key roles at the time.

Ron Springett - England 1966

OK, so we start with someone who didn't play. Even back in 1966, teams were allowed to name three goalkeepers in their World Cup squad, despite the fact the third on the list was highly unlikely to see any game-time when the competition rolled round.

Such was the case with Springett 55 years ago. The Sheffield Wednesday stopper, who did earn 33 caps for the Three Lions between 1959-66, didn't get on the pitch that famous summer as he served as back-up to first-choice Gordon Banks and his deputy, Peter Bonetti.

The 1966 World Cup win remains England's sole major trophy on the international stage but, following their run to the final of Euro 2020, hopes are high they can be once again crowned champions of the world next year in Qatar, a tournament Gareth Southgate's side are 7/1 to win.

Jurgen Grabowski - West Germany 1974

The 1974 World Cup-winning side featured famous stars such as Franz Beckenbauer, Berti Vogts, Rainer Bonhof and Gerd Muller but Grabowski is not usually mentioned in the same breath as his victorious West Germany colleagues.

The winger and Eintracht Frankfurt stalwart started the 1974 final against Holland after he'd earlier scored in the 4-2 second-round win over Sweden. In all, he amassed 44 caps for his country and could be described as the forgotten attacking cog in a very famous West German unit that were rightly feared in the mid-70s.

Stephane Guivarc'h - France 1998

The 1998 French team is rightly lauded as one of the best international sides of the past three decades as it featured superstars like Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps, Emmanuel Petit and talisman Zidane. The current French side are, of course, well respected too following their triumph in 2018 in Russia and they are 6/1 to follow up in Qatar.

However, what's routinely forgotten from '98 is that the man who was chosen to lead the line for Les Bleus in the final against Brazil in Paris was one Stephane Guivarc'h. 

He'd been on and off the bench for much of the tournament but got the nod to start in the final as the lone striker even though he'd only managed one goal for his country up until then. A move to Newcastle United followed later that summer but he was a big flop at St James' Park, playing just four league games and scoring just the one goal and he equally failed to make the grade in Scotland with Rangers.

Cristian Zaccardo - Italy 2006

Defender Zaccardo is one of those players who benefited from being around and available at just the right time for his country, being part of the Azzurri's somewhat shock 2006 triumph in Germany as part of a limited side which went all the way when things went their way 15 years ago.

He only managed to make 17 appearances for his country in total but three of them came in the 2006 tournament. He started the first two matches of the group stage, and will be best remembered by some as the scorer of a calamitous own goal in the second of those.

Attempting to clear a free-kick against USA, he got it all wrong as he instead mis-kicked it into his own net. He later came on as a substitute in Italy's 3-0 win over Ukraine in the quarter-finals but had a watching brief as they saw off France in the final in Berlin with Italy possibly fearing more costly defensive mistakes from the then-Palermo player.

Italy enjoyed the summer of 2006 and also 2021 when they triumphed in the Euros. The Azzurri are 12/1 to regain their world crown next year.

Kevin Grosskreutz - Germany 2014

The Germany side of 2014 may not be regarded as Die Mannschaft's finest-ever outfit, even though they were crowned champions of the world thanks to Mario Gotze's extra-time winner over Argentina in Brazil.

A quick check of the 23-man squad list shows for every Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller in the Germans' squad, there were plenty of unheralded and more workman-like characters.

Defender Grosskreutz falls into the latter category. He won just six international caps in total and never got near the starting XI that summer, kept way down the pecking order by the likes of Lahm, Jerome Boateng and - to underline his limitations - even Shkodran Mustafi.

That 2014 victory was Germany's fourth World Cup triumph and they are 10/1 to make it five in Qatar next winter.

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