Group ‘G’ of the World Cup in Qatar will be inaugurated today with a duel between Switzerland and Cameroon (11:00), while later, starting at 20:00, Brazil – Serbia from that same group can provide the first confrontation between Sevilla FC players in this event. Alex Telles, for the ‘canarinha’, and Nemanja Gudelj and Marko Dmitrovic, for the Balkan team, are the players who can star in this duel between players from the same team this afternoon. However, the Nervionense club having contributed up to 42 players in the entire history of the World Cups, there are already several precedents for clashes between Sevilla players in this tournament.
Despite the fact that Campanal I and Fede were the first Sevilla players to attend a World Cup in 1934 and that, counting on the current one, Sevilla links ten consecutive editions contributing footballers to the tournament, the first confrontation between teammates did not take place until the year 2010.
In that edition, held in South Africa, the ‘G’ group of the tournament stopped on its second day a Brazil – Ivory Coast in which up to three players participated who, at that time, were militants in the Nervión entity. These were the Brazilian Luis Fabiano and the Ivorians Didier Zokora and Christian Romaric. What’s more, the striker was one of the great protagonists of the game by contributing to the ‘canarinha’ victory by 3-1 with a brace. For his part, Zokora played the full 90 minutes as a centre-back, while Romaric came onto the pitch at minute 72, instead of Emmanuel Eboué. With that victory against the team of his teammates, Luis Fabiano’s Brazil was mathematically classified for the round of 16, while the Ivory Coast had to beat North Korea and wait for a puncture from Portugal against the South American team that, in the end, did not happen. .
The next clash between sevillistas in a World Cup took place one edition later, in Brazil 2014, with a Cameroon – Croatia in which Stéphane M’Bia and Ivan Rakitic were from the game. It was the match corresponding to the second day of group ‘A’, which was played in full by the two Sevilla FC players. Rakitic was positioned in the Croatian double pivot, while M’Bia was the right-back for the African team. In addition, united by their friendship in Nervión, both footballers starred in a curious image at the end of the match. And it is that, after exchanging shirts on the pitch and leaving the field of play holding each other’s shoulders while chatting, the Croatian and the Cameroonian even exchanged their shorts in the changing room tunnel. A striking picture that was captured by television cameras and that became viral at that time. Finally, none of their teams qualified for the next round, falling behind Brazil and Mexico in that group.
There was also a confrontation between Nervionenses in Russia 2018, although there could be some more. The common nexus of those clashes was Steven N’Zonzi, who would end up establishing himself as world champion with France in that tournament. On the third day of group ‘C’, with the Frenchmen already classified for the next round after beating Australia and Peru, Didier Deschamps opted to field the less usual players against Denmark, with the Sevilla midfielder entering that eleven. That duel against the Nordic team would bring him a reunion with Simon Kjaer, his teammate at Sevilla. After both finished 90 minutes on the pitch, the game ended in a goalless draw and with both teams classified. Subsequently, the round of 16 of that World Cup brought a France – Argentina. Jorge Sampaoli, the current Sevilla coach, directed that team in which Gabriel Mercado and Éver Banega were. However, N’Zonzi did not get minutes in that tie that his teammates from Albiceleste did complete. The result, however, was 4-3 for the French, with Mercado being the author of Argentina’s second goal.
As stated previously, Sevilla has had -and still has- a notable presence in the history of the World Cups. Although the first duel between Nervionenses took place in 2010, in matches from previous editions, teams that had a Sevilla player in their ranks came together. However, in those cases, there was one of them who did not get to jump onto the field of play, so his partner could not be officially measured. In other words, situations similar to what happened in that France – Argentina in Russia 2018, in which N’Zonzi did not have minutes against the combination of Mercado and Banega.
A case like this was also experienced in the 1990 edition, based in Italy. The Uruguay of Pablo Bengoechea and the Spain of Rafa Paz and Manolo Jiménez they were paired in group ‘E’ of the tournament, along with Belgium and South Korea. Precisely, the meeting that opened that group was led by Uruguayans and Spaniards. Manolo Jiménez started as the starting left-back for La Roja, while Rafa Paz came onto the pitch in the 79th minute for Javier Villarroya. Nevertheless, Bengoechea did not play any minute of that first game that ended with a zero draw. Finally, the Spanish team obtained their pass to the round of 16 after beating the other two teams in the group, but not Uruguay. Nor was another hypothetical cross between Sevilla fans possible, as Dasaev’s USSR and Polster’s Austria also fell into their respective groups.
A similar situation was experienced in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Sevilla only had two representatives in that edition and, despite the fact that their two teams met in the group stage, there was no confrontation between them on the pitch. Is about Ivica Dragutinovic, from Serbia and Montenegro, and Javier Saviola, from Argentina. Both teams coincided in group ‘C’ of that 2006 World Cup -together with the Ivory Coast and the Netherlands-, and the two Sevilla players could have faced each other on the second day. In this match, the albiceleste team endorsed the Balkan team 6-0. Saviola started as a starter, being replaced in the 58th minute by Carlos Tévez; nevertheless, Dragutinovic did not get to jump onto the grass during that match.