Once every four years, the FIFA World Cup throws open a spectacle watched by more than a billion across the world. Among the festivities, skills, upsets and high-tension drama of the tournament, some interesting records are made and some broken. This time around too, there are a few meant to be broken.
45 years and five months
That's how old Egypt's captain and goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary will be, when Egypt begins its World Cup campaign in Russia. If he starts in goal, he will become the oldest player in World Cup history breaking Faryd Mondragon's record of 43 years and three days. Mondragon came on as a 70th minute substitute for Colombia during its third group match against Japan in 2014. As captain and first-choice goalkeeper, El-Hadary is on track to claim the record for his own.
13 World Cup matches unbeaten
Brazil holds the record for the most consecutive matches unbeaten. Between a 4-2 loss to Hungary in the 1954 quarterfinals and a 3-1 defeat to the same team in the group stage in 1966, Brazil went unbeaten for 13 matches. Defending champion Germany last lost 1-0 in the 2010 semifinal to Spain and when it begins its campaign in Russia, it will be on an eight-match unbeaten streak in the World Cup.
6 goals as captain
Diego Maradona currently holds that record, last scoring as captain in a 4-0 win against Greece in the first match of the group stage in 1994, before he was sent home after failing a drug test. But his compatriot, Lionel Messi, only needs three more goals to break his former coach's record.
5 World cup appearances
Rafael Marquez will only be the third man (and second Mexican) to play in 5 World Cups, if he takes to the pitch in Russia. Former Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal and German legend Lothar Matthaus are the other two men to achieve this feat. Carbajal, who made his debut against host Brazil in 1950, then appeared in four World Cups till 1966. Lothar Matthaus played in every editions from 1982 to 1998, even captaining his West German side to a title in 1990. While Gianluigi Buffon was part of five world cups, he did not make an appearance in France.
Winning the World Cup as player and coach
If France goes all the way in Russia, Didier Deschamps will become the third man after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer to win the trophy as both a player and a coach. Deschamps captained the French side of '98 to the title. Zagallo won the World Cup twice with Brazil in 1958 and 1962 as a player, before tasting success as a coach in 1970.
5 goals in three World Cups
Thomas Muller will be looking to be the first man to score more than 4 goals in three World Cups. Miroslav Klose, who holds the record for most goals (16) in the tournament, has scored more than 4 goals in two tournaments, along with Peruvian Teofilo Cubillas. Muller scored 5 each in 2010 and 2014. If he does achieve this record, he will also equal or surpass Klose's goalscoring record.
With inputs from FIFA