Japan’s Homare Sawa and Brazil’s Formiga now stand atop the all-time longevity chart in soccer.
Sawa started an played 57 minutes for reigning world champions Japan on Monday and Formiga started for Brazil on Tuesday, marking the sixth World Cup tournament for each player. No other man or woman has appeared in more than five World Cups.
Sawa, 36, made her World Cup debut in 1995. She captained Japan to the most unlikely of World Cup titles in 2011, winning the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament and claiming the Golden Boot as top scorer with five goals. Sawa was named FIFA World Player of the Year for her efforts.
Formiga, 37, also debuted for Brazil in 1995, helping the team finish a program-best runner-up in 2007. She scored against Korea Republic on Tuesday, become the oldest player to score at a Women’s World Cup.
Sawa was something of a surprise selection for the World Cup by Japan head coach Norio Sasaki after not playing at all for Japan in the second half of 2014 or the early months of 2015.
Four other women have appeared in five World Cups: Kristine Lilly (USA), Bente Nordby (Norway) and Birgit Prinz (Germany). Two men — Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal and Germany’s Lothar Matthäus — appeared in five World Cups.
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