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Owls and the World Cup

11 June 2014

As the World Cup kicks off this week, takes a look at a number of Owls players who have represented their country on the biggest stage while on the books at Hillsborough.

First up is Sheffield-born inside forward Albert Quixall. Although the Owls player of ten years between 1948-58 never made an appearance for England at a World Cup, he was a part of the squad that travelled to Switzerland in 1954.

Albert earned five caps in total for the Three Lions, his first coming as a 20-year-old against Wales in 1953.

Owls goalkeeper Ron Springett is next on our list. Springett represented Wednesday between 1958-67 and earned call-ups to two England World Cup squads.

During the 1962 World Cup in Chile, the shot-stopper played in three group games and the quarter final, where England were defeated 3-1 by Brazil.

Springett was also named in the famous 1966 England squad that went on to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.

Although the Wednesday goalkeeper didn’t make an appearance at the finals, an FA led campaign to persuade FIFA to award medals to all the winners’ squad members (from 1930-74) was successful and in June 2009, Springett received his medal at 10 Downing Street.

Springett played 33 times for his country in total.

Centre half Peter Swan also made the grade to represent England at Chile in the 1962 World Cup.

However the defender, who was with the Owls between 1953-65 and again in 1972-73, was ruled out of action in South America due to tonsillitis.

The defender earned 19 caps for England in total.

For over a decade Nigel Worthington was a fixture in the Owls side and made a total of 50 international appearances for Northern Ireland during his S6 spell.

Worthington earned a call-up to the Northern Ireland squad that reached the World Cup finals in Mexico in 1986, appearing in two group stage games.

Ireland couldn’t progress any further, with Brazil and Spain prospering in group D and Worthington’s side picking up just one point in a 1-1 draw with Algeria.

Widely regarded as one of the club’s finest ever full backs, popular defender Roland Nilsson made 31 international appearances for Sweden during his time at Hillsborough.

The defender’s faultless displays endeared him to Wednesday fans and became one of the club’s most popular players during the 1990s.

For the 1990 World Cup – staged in Italy – Nilsson played in all three group stage games, though Sweden failed to pick up a point against Brazil, Costa Rica and Scotland.

Nilsson was back competing on the World stage in USA 94, where Sweden proved to be a force.

The Swedes made it all the way to the semi finals where they lost out 1-0 to Brazil, with Nilsson featuring in every game – although the defender had already played his last match for Wednesday prior to the USA tournament.

A major influence during the Owls success in the early 1990s, John Sheridan earned 29 caps for the Republic of Ireland while at Hillsborough.

Five of those caps came at two separate World Cup campaigns.

During Italia 90, Sheridan made one substitute appearance in the last 16, as Ireland overcame Romania 5-4 on penalties. They would be knocked out in the quarter finals by the hosts.

The former Owls creative midfielder featured more prominently four years later in the USA.

Sheridan played in all three group games and in the round of 16, where Ireland lost 2-0 to the Netherlands.

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