The World Cup is arguably one of the most prestigious and popular sports tournaments on earth. Throughout its illustrious history it has represented the pinnacle of a player’s career, and is an event that is watched by billions of fans across the globe.
There have been many great domestic teams that have contributed players to the World Cup over the years, including the Glasgow Rangers. From Russia’s Oleg Salenko winning the Golden Boot to Scotland’s Sandy Jardine contributing to his countries best overall performance in 1958, Rangers players have really made their mark on the tournament.
Right now most Rangers fans will have their eyes on Portugal’s Bruno Alves, who plays centre back for the team. The 36-year-old is one of the most experienced football veterans around with a European Championships under his belt and 94 International Caps. Whilst Portugal look in fine form, many people are also picking odds-on favourites Germany and Brazil to win the 2018 World Cup.
In light of the tournament currently being played out we thought we’d give you an overview of the best Rangers moments at the World Cup.
1958 World Cup, Sweden
This was the first time that ‘Gers players were selected for the World Cup. A total of four individuals were sent out to Sweden to play for the Scottish national team: Ian McColl, Eric Caldow, Sammy Baird and Alex Scott.
Taking home a draw and two losses against Yugoslavia, Paraguay and France, their results were mixed on paper. But there was a silver lining – even though Scotland didn’t progress to the next round, Sammy Baird at least managed to net one goal during their match against France
1974 World Cup, West Germany
The only ‘Gers player picked for this event was Scottish national player Sandy Jardine. He was selected as a starter for Scotland in their first game against Zaire, which ended up being a convincing win for the team.
Despite failing to score throughout the tournament, Baird ended up contributing to what is considered to be Scotland’s finest ever World Cup performance – holding off the mighty Brazil during their match to result in a goalless draw.
1978 World Cup, Argentina
Rangers players Tom Forsyth, Derek Johnstone and Sandy Jardine were all selected to play on the Scottish team during the 1978 World Cup.
The tournament brought plenty of ups and downs for Scotland, however a major highlight was their incredible win over the Netherlands, and Scot Gemmill’s famous goal against three Dutch defenders in the second half.
Alas, during the 1978 tournament Scotland was not to prevail due to goal differences.
1990 World Cup, Italy
Fast forward to 1990, where the largest ever contingent of ‘Gers players was sent to the World Cup. Four were selected to play for England – Terry Butcher, Gary Stevens, Trevor Steven and goalkeeper Chris Woods – whilst Richard Gough and the potent striking duo of Maurice Johnston and Ally McCoist were picked for the Scottish team.
Scotland managed one to rack up a win against Sweden, thanks to Maurice Johnston who scored the winning goal. However, two unfortunate losses against Brazil and Costa Rica during the group stage meant they didn’t progress.
1994 World Cup, USA – 2006 World Cup, Germany
During the last few decades a number of international Rangers players have been selected to represent their national teams, including Tunisia’s Hamed Namouchi (2006), Croatia’s Dado Prso (2006) and Denmark’s Peter Lovenkrands (2002).
But probably the most successful international player to put on boots for the ‘Gers is Russia’s Oleg Salenko. Salenko spent the 1995/96 season in Glasgow and is the only Rangers player to ever win a World Cup Golden Boot. He was awarded it for his performance in the 1994 World Cup held in the USA, despite his nation failing to make it beyond the group stages.
Salenko scored five goals against Cameroon in Russia’s final game, where he set a precedent by being the only player to hit that number of goals in a single World Cup game, and still is to this day.