World Cup fever has the pulse beating and the temperature rising as the countdown to South Africa 2010 continues.

It’s not just the winners and the heroes who live long in the memory and this week’s edition of The List celebrates 50 icons who will forever be associated with those few weeks every four years that fans of the Beautiful Game hold so dear.

Individual moments of magic (or madness) can make a star as much sustained brilliance of the order of Pele, and you’ll find a plethora of reasons why we have selected our countdown of legends.

As ever, we want to know what you think. So join the debate on our message boards or by adding your comments at the bottom of the article as we reveal 10 icons each day this week till our No 1 emerges on Friday.

Enjoy…

You might not know the face, but Rimet forever belongs in the iconography of the World Cup as the man who gave his name to the original trophy.

The Frenchman led his country’s federation and was also FIFA’s longest serving president from 1921 to 1954, presiding over the first World Cup in 1930.

You’d probably never heard of Owairan before the 1994 tournament and barring a less distinguished appearance four years later, it’s unlikely you’ve heard of him since.

But one moment of brilliance against Belgium made the Saudi Arabia forward immortal, earning him the nickname ‘Maradona of the Arabs’ for running with the ball from his own half at a blistering pace, beating six opponents and scoring one of the greatest goals you’ll see.

The band that set the standard for World Cup songs. New Order, best known for their 80s hit Blue Monday, achieved their only No 1 when teaming up with the England squad and, for some reason, Keith Allen for Italia 90 anthem World in Motion.

The Three Lions have decided against an official song for 2010 and, let’s face it, nothing has come close since this classic, which included an extraordinary rap from Liverpool star John Barnes.

Inspired by the anthem, perhaps, David Platt played out of his skin in Italy after starting the tournament on the bench. The England midfielder proved supersub against Belgium in the second round, spinning to volley the winning goal in extra time for a goal recreated in playgrounds across the nation.

Italy didn’t forget and Platt was soon lured back to play for Bari, Juventus and Sampdoria.

Keane was the Republic of Ireland’s star performer at the 1994 tournament in the side that beat Italy in the group stage only to be defeated by Holland in the second round.

But it is the events of Saipan eight years later that he will sadly be most remembered for. The fiery Manchester United midfielder was furious about the quality of the training base ahead of the tournament in Japan and South Korea and walked out on the team after a furious row with boss Mick McCarthy after voicing concerns in an interview.

‘Mick, you’re a liar,’ he apparently said. ‘I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person. You can stick your World Cup up your a***. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your b*******.’

As a prisoner at the end of the Second World War, the forward escaped being sent to a lethal Soviet Gulag when Hungarian guards insisted he was Austrian. Years after the end of hostilities, Walter (right) returned to the West Germany team and his finest hour came when captaining the side to glory in the 1954 finals.

However, the next World Cup was not so kind. The forward picked up a knee injury that ended his international career during a semi-final defeat by Sweden.

Ultimately an average player who hit the absolute peak of his powers for a month during a tournament in his own back yard.

The striker made his Italy debut as a sub in his country’s opening game at the 1990 World Cup, coming off the bench to score. Muscling into the starting line-up, Schillaci went on to score six and claim the Golden Boot, though his side were knocked out in the semi-finals.

His form wouldn’t last and just one more goal was scored in his international career after the finals.

The first and the best World Cup mascot. 1966 will be remembered fondly in England for reasons of greater gravitas than the lion that adorned the memorabilia, but Willie really was groundbreaking.

Getting the mascot right can now be big business, but it’s hard to imagine South Africa 2010’s Zakumi the leopard being remembered as fondly as our trailblazer.

Surely the greatest Romanian footballer the game has seen. Might not be the highest of accolades, but Hagi lit up the three World Cups of the 90s, particularly USA 94.

The playmaker was named in the team of tournament after dazzling with nimble footwork and scoring a memorable 40-yard lob over Colombia goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba in the group stage. Hagi inspired Romania as far as the quarter-final, their best ever showing in the tournament.

The Javier Mascherano of his day, Rattin was loved in Argentina for his no-nonsense style. However, German referee Rudolf Kreitlein was clearly no fan and sent off the midfielder in the 1966 quarter-final defeat by hosts England.

Rattin was sent off in the first half for ‘violence of the tongue’ and was so incensed that he initially refused to leave the pitch. Disgusted, he sat on the red carpet reserved for the Queen to walk on and had to be escorted away by two policemen.

The referee apparently spoke no Spanish. England went on to win 1-0 with a late Geoff Hurst winner, but who knows what would have happened had Argentina played for 90 minutes with a full contingent.

Read the article on Mail on Sunday

THE LIST: Sportsmail’s top 50 World Cup icons, Nos 40-31

World Cup fever has the pulse beating and the temperature rising as the countdown to South Africa 2010 continues.

It’s not just the winners and the heroes who live long in the memory and this week’s edition of The List celebrates 50 icons who will forever be associated with those few weeks every four years that fans of the Beautiful Game hold so dear.

Individual moments of magic (or madness) can make a star as much sustained brilliance of the order of Pele, and you’ll find a plethora of reasons why we have selected our countdown of legends.

As ever, we want to know what you think. So join the debate on our message boards or by adding your comments at the bottom of the article as we reveal 10 icons each day this week till our No 1 emerges on Friday.

Enjoy…

You might not know the face, but Rimet forever belongs in the iconography of the World Cup as the man who gave his name to the original trophy.

The Frenchman led his country’s federation and was also FIFA’s longest serving president from 1921 to 1954, presiding over the first World Cup in 1930.

You’d probably never heard of Owairan before the 1994 tournament and barring a less distinguished appearance four years later, it’s unlikely you’ve heard of him since.

But one moment of brilliance against Belgium made the Saudi Arabia forward immortal, earning him the nickname ‘Maradona of the Arabs’ for running with the ball from his own half at a blistering pace, beating six opponents and scoring one of the greatest goals you’ll see.

The band that set the standard for World Cup songs. New Order, best known for their 80s hit Blue Monday, achieved their only No 1 when teaming up with the England squad and, for some reason, Keith Allen for Italia 90 anthem World in Motion.

The Three Lions have decided against an official song for 2010 and, let’s face it, nothing has come close since this classic, which included an extraordinary rap from Liverpool star John Barnes.

Inspired by the anthem, perhaps, David Platt played out of his skin in Italy after starting the tournament on the bench. The England midfielder proved supersub against Belgium in the second round, spinning to volley the winning goal in extra time for a goal recreated in playgrounds across the nation.

Italy didn’t forget and Platt was soon lured back to play for Bari, Juventus and Sampdoria.

Keane was the Republic of Ireland’s star performer at the 1994 tournament in the side that beat Italy in the group stage only to be defeated by Holland in the second round.

But it is the events of Saipan eight years later that he will sadly be most remembered for. The fiery Manchester United midfielder was furious about the quality of the training base ahead of the tournament in Japan and South Korea and walked out on the team after a furious row with boss Mick McCarthy after voicing concerns in an interview.

‘Mick, you’re a liar,’ he apparently said. ‘I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person. You can stick your World Cup up your a***. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your b*******.’

As a prisoner at the end of the Second World War, the forward escaped being sent to a lethal Soviet Gulag when Hungarian guards insisted he was Austrian. Years after the end of hostilities, Walter (right) returned to the West Germany team and his finest hour came when captaining the side to glory in the 1954 finals.

However, the next World Cup was not so kind. The forward picked up a knee injury that ended his international career during a semi-final defeat by Sweden.

Ultimately an average player who hit the absolute peak of his powers for a month during a tournament in his own back yard.

The striker made his Italy debut as a sub in his country’s opening game at the 1990 World Cup, coming off the bench to score. Muscling into the starting line-up, Schillaci went on to score six and claim the Golden Boot, though his side were knocked out in the semi-finals.

His form wouldn’t last and just one more goal was scored in his international career after the finals.

The first and the best World Cup mascot. 1966 will be remembered fondly in England for reasons of greater gravitas than the lion that adorned the memorabilia, but Willie really was groundbreaking.

Getting the mascot right can now be big business, but it’s hard to imagine South Africa 2010’s Zakumi the leopard being remembered as fondly as our trailblazer.

Surely the greatest Romanian footballer the game has seen. Might not be the highest of accolades, but Hagi lit up the three World Cups of the 90s, particularly USA 94.

The playmaker was named in the team of tournament after dazzling with nimble footwork and scoring a memorable 40-yard lob over Colombia goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba in the group stage. Hagi inspired Romania as far as the quarter-final, their best ever showing in the tournament.

The Javier Mascherano of his day, Rattin was loved in Argentina for his no-nonsense style. However, German referee Rudolf Kreitlein was clearly no fan and sent off the midfielder in the 1966 quarter-final defeat by hosts England.

Rattin was sent off in the first half for ‘violence of the tongue’ and was so incensed that he initially refused to leave the pitch. Disgusted, he sat on the red carpet reserved for the Queen to walk on and had to be escorted away by two policemen.

The referee apparently spoke no Spanish. England went on to win 1-0 with a late Geoff Hurst winner, but who knows what would have happened had Argentina played for 90 minutes with a full contingent.

Read the article on Mail on Sunday

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