The criteria is simple. These are the seven youngest players to have played any amount of game time at the tournament proper, ordered from oldest to youngest.
Here are the 7 youngest players at the 2010 World Cup: Where are they now?
7. Jonathan Mensah – Columbus Crew
First up in this seven is Ghanaian international Jonathan Mensah, who wore the number eight shirt for Ghana in South Africa due to the injury and absence of Michael Essien. Those were big boots to fill, but Mensah came in and played in two out of three group games and Ghana’s round of 16 success over the United States. Then aged 19, Mensah was on-loan at Granada at the time. Eight years on and now aged 27, Mensah has won 60 caps for Ghana and currently plays for Columbus Crew in the MLS.
6. Lukman Haruna – Palanga
The least well-known player in this seven, Lukman Haruna represented Nigeria against Argentina at the 2010 World Cup, also then aged 19. An energetic central midfielder who likes to shoot from range, Haruna was playing for Monaco at the time, but left the Ligue 1 side in 2011. After six years at Dynamo Kyiv, where he played 50 league games and was loaned out three times, Haruna joined Lithuanian outfit Palanga in March 2018. He has won a total 13 caps for Nigeria, but only one since 2010.
5. Joel Matip – Liverpool
Now a familiar face to followers of the Premier League, towering centre-back Joel Matip was a fresh-faced 18-year-old at the 2010 World Cup. He featured in a Cameroon side which lost every game and thus went out in the groups, but his club career was rather more promising. Matip’s Schalke debut came against Bayern Munich, where he scored the equaliser and won man of the match. He made over 250 appearances for the German outfit before joining current club Liverpool on a free transfer in 2016.
4. Xherdan Shaqiri – Stoke City
One of only two players in this seven who is also at this summers World Cup finals in Russia, Xherdan Shaqiri was long considered an outstanding prospect in Switzerland. Playing for Basel at the time, Shaqiri featured for the Swiss against Honduras, but missed out on their famous 1-0 win over Spain. Since then, the short but stocky wide man has turned out for Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Stoke City. He featured for Switzerland as they drew with Brazil in their 2018 World Cup opener and will be on the move this summer following Stoke’s relegation.
3. Chris Wood – Burnley
Chris Wood made his New Zealand debut at the age of 17, and at 18 he was on their plane for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Wood was enduring a difficult start to life at West Bromwich Albion as a teenager, but had already been twice named as New Zealand’s under-21 player of the year. New Zealand were the only team not to lose a match at the 2010 World Cup, but their three draws saw them go out in the group stages. Wood’s real breakout season in England came in the 2016-17 Championship season with Leeds United, and his prolific goal scoring earned him a move to Burnley. He scored 10 in 24 in the Premier League last season, and is one of the reasons why the Clarets will be playing Europa League football next season.
2. Vincent Aboubakar – Porto
A former FIFA legend who once boasted 93 pace on the EA Sport game, Vincent Aboubakar had exploded onto the scene with his pace in 2010, making a move to France roughly a month before the finals kicked off in South Africa. Now aged 26, Aboubakar has since won 65 caps and scored 20 goals for Cameroon, and he joined Porto back in 2014. The powerful front man is still with the Portuguese giants, where he scored 24 goals in 33 games last term.
1. Christian Eriksen – Tottenham
The youngest player to play at the 2010 World Cup and only the second player in this seven also at this summer’s World Cup, Christian Eriksen is almost exactly one month younger than then fellow 18-year-old Vincent Aboubakar. Both players competed in Group E, and both went out in the group stages. Eriksen had recently broken into the first team at Ajax, and he went on to play over 150 games for the Amsterdam club before joining Tottenham Hotspur. Eriksen is still only 26, but he is now a star man for Spurs and by far the best player in the Danish national team.