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Spurs at the World Cup - Hoddle and Jennings

Posted on 9 June 2014  - 11:30

With the World Cup kicking-off in Brazil on Thursday, we continue our series featuring Spurs players to have stepped on football's greatest stage.

Glenn in action against Morocco in Monterray in Mexico, 1986Pat claims a ball as Northern Ireland take on Brazil at the Jalisco Stadium, Guadalajara, Mexico 1986View of the Jalisco Stadium as Pat makes a save against Brazil, Mexico 1986

Today, two of the club's all-time greats...

Glenn Hoddle - Spurs 1975-1987, 490 appearances, 110 goals

There can’t be too many players in the history of the game who have played more matches at World Cup Finals than they have qualifiers for the tournament, but Glenn Hoddle is certainly one of them.

The Spurs legend played in seven matches for England at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, yet only featured in three qualifying games.

Glenn made a goalscoring debut for his country against Bulgaria in November, 1979, and while Spurs fans who watched him week in, week out knew all about his magical midfield talents, Hoddle was never truly regarded as a first-choice for England.

His first taste of World Cup action came in Spain in 1982. Not picked for England’s first game as they beat France 3-1 – helped by Bryan Robson’s 27-second opener – he also found himself on the bench for their second tie against Czechoslovakia. But as Ron Greenwood’s side struggled to break down the tough Czechs, Hoddle’s craft and creativity were introduced at half-time.

It was a move which worked well, as England scored twice in quick succession to book their place in the second round, and Hoddle was rewarded with a place in the starting line-up for their final group game against Kuwait, which they won 1-0.

But unfortunately, Glenn was back among the substitutes for the next two second stage group games, and while England lacked a spark in goalless draws against Spain and West Germany, Hoddle remained on the bench as England tumbled out.

Four years later, at Mexico ’86, it was a very different story. This time, England boss Bobby Robson identified Hoddle’s talents and he was an integral part of their passage to the quarter-finals.

Glenn played every minute of England’s campaign which was dramatic at almost every turn. From the opening game defeat to Portugal, the disastrous 0-0 draw with minnows Morocco, through to the fabulous 3-0 wins over Poland and Paraguay and then the classic 2-1 reverse to Argentina – Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal followed by his genius winner.

As the final whistle blew in front of 114,580 fans at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City and Argentina marched on, so the curtain came down on Hoddle’s World Cup playing career.

He did, of course, lead England in to World Cup 1998 as manager and guided the country to the second round, only to once again fall foul of Argentina, this time in a penalty shoot-out defeat.

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Pat Jennings - Spurs 1964-1977, 1985-1986, 590 appearances (one goal in Charity Shield)

Pat Jennings held the goalkeeping gloves during the most illustrious period in Northern Ireland’s footballing history and donned them three times as a Spurs player in the 1986 World Cup.

The legendary shot-stopper had first featured in a World Cup qualifier some 20 years earlier, as Northern Ireland beat Switzerland in September, 1964, in their unsuccessful bid to qualify for the 1966 tournament. He went on to play matches for his country in six qualifying campaigns, finally making his appearance on the biggest stage of all when the Irish booked their place at the 1982 tournament in Spain.

On Arsenal’s books at the time, Jennings played in all four matches as Billy Bingham’s side reached the second round, causing one of the upsets of the competition en route as they beat hosts Spain 1-0 in a group game.

Having lost his place in goal at Highbury midway through the 1984-85 season, Pat was on the verge of retiring but he didn’t hang up his gloves since he remained first choice for Ireland and the 1986 World Cup was fast approaching.

So he returned to Spurs during the 1985-86 campaign, primarily to keep fit and he headed to Mexico at the end of the season with a Northern Ireland squad hoping to emulate their achievements from four years early.

That was always going to be a challenge having been drawn alongside Brazil, Spain and Algeria in Group D, made even more difficult after they drew their first game 1-1 with Algeria. Jennings started the game, making him our oldest ever player to feature at a World Cup aged 40, and although Norman Whiteside gave Ireland an early lead they couldn’t hold on to it, which meant they had to beat the two world superpowers if they were to progress.

Against Spain in Guadalajara, Ireland conceded twice in the opening 18 minutes to virtually seal their fate, and although Colin Clarke scored a minute after the interval, they were unable to turn their fortunes around and lost 2-1.

Five days later in the same city, Pat celebrated his 41st birthday with a showdown against Brazil, but the South Americans were not in the mood to shower him with gifts. Instead, they peppered his goal with a barrage of shots as they inflicted a 3-0 defeat, a stunning 35-yard rocket from defender Josimar that flew through the rarified Mexican air the pick of the goals.

That match proved to be Pat’s last-ever competitive game as he officially announced his retirement, having served his country on 119 occasions, a then world record.