Portugal’s veteran ‘fit and ready’

    Portugal’s veteran Pepe can also imagine a fifth World Cup participation in 2026. “I can’t say if it will be my last World Cup,” said the 39-year-old central defender before the final World Cup group game against South Korea on Friday (4:00 p.m. / in the TM live ticker). “I’m here to enjoy the tournament.” Everything else will be seen.

    Pepe, who started for the second time against South Korea in Qatar, is now the third oldest outfield player in World Cup history. At the 2026 tournament in the USA, Canada and Mexico, he would be 43 years old and would become the second oldest World Cup player in history if he participated.

    With Hutchinson, Pepe & Alves: The oldest players in World Cup history

    16 Rafael Márquez (Mexico, 39 years, 4 months and 4 days)

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    World Cup 2018

    15 Sir Stanley Matthews (England, 39 years, 4 months and 25 days)

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    World Cup 1954

    14 Dani Alves (Brazil, 39 years, 6 months, 26 days)

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    World Cup 2022

    13 Joseph-Antoine Bell (Cameroon, 39 years, 8 months and 16 days)

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    World Cup 1994

    12 Ángel Labruna (Argentina, 39 years, 8 months and 18 days)

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    World Cup 1958

    11 Pepe (Portugal, 39 years, 9 months and 6 days)

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    World Cup 2022

    10 Atiba Hutchinson (Canada, 39 years, 9 months and 23 days)

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    World Cup 2022

    9 David James (England, 39 years, 10 months and 26 days)

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    World Cup 2010

    8 Jim Leighton (Scotland, 39 years, 10 months and 30 days)

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    World Cup 1998

    7 Ali Boumnijel (Tunisia, 40 years, 2 months and 10 days)

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    World Cup 2006

    6 Dino Zoff (Italy, 40 years, 4 months and 13 days)

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    World Cup 1990

    5 Peter Shilton (England, 40 years, 9 months and 19 days)

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    World Cup 1994

    4 Pat Jennings (Northern Ireland, 41 years)

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    World Cup 1986

    3 Roger Milla (Cameroon, 42 years, 1 month and 8 days)

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    World Cup 1994

    2 Faryd Mondragón (Colombia, 43 years and 3 days)

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    World Cup 2014

    1 Essam El Hadary (Egypt, 45 years, 5 months and 10 days)

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    World Cup 2018

    “Pepe is 39, but the mental state is also important,” said national coach Fernando Santos about his veteran. Pepe himself feels “fit and ready” for further World Cup appearances. The defender, known for his uncompromising style of play, was injured shortly before the tournament and missed the opening game of the World Cup. “Thank you to the great medical department. This allows even a 39-year-old to recover quickly,” he said.

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