Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Who Is The Youngest Player To Have Played In The World Cup Finals?

This is a post from four years ago, with an update at the end, which shows you that FIFA cannot
be trusted even with simple things like facts...
....
Northern Ireland don't hold too many World Cup records. We've qualified 3 times, lost more than we've won, never even made the semis and unfortunately we didn't qualify at all during the years when George Best was in his prime. One record we do hold is the youngest player ever to have played in the World Cup Finals. That young player was Norman Whiteside who at 17 years and 41 days played in Espana '82. I remember at the time the commentators stating that Whiteside had just broken Pele's record for the youngest player and that record still stands today. Or does it? Or was it even a record at all? I was glancing through Ben Schott's New York Times World Cup Miscellany, and under Youngest Player To Have Played in World Cup Finals he's got "Mario Mendez, Uruguay, 16 y 36d, 1954". Like any self respecting person with way too much time on his hands I immediately went to the FIFA website to confirm this information and lo it was confirmed. I then went to the Ask The Gaffer Website to ask the Gaffer about this astounding so called fact. Three people had been there ahead of me as the Gaffer explains:

Oddly three people have emailed me today with the same question. This is very intriguing. Like you, I've always known for a fact that Norman Whiteside is the youngest ever World Cup player, breaking Pele's record in the 1982 finals. Checking out this Mario Mendez impostor, however, throws up a mystery. On the official Fifa squad lists for the 1954 finals, there's no mention of Mendez (although curiously squad number 20 is missed out), but look at the match stats for the third place play-off match against Austria and there he is, bold as brass, wearing squad No.20. His player profile has him born on 11th May 1938, which sure enough would have made him 16 years, one month and 23 days old when Austria beat Uruguay 3-1 in Zurich (younger than Whiteside, who was 17 years and 41 days). However, the Fifa website is the only place I can find any reference to this. Every reference book I own and all other reputable websites have no mention of Mendez at all, and all list Whiteside as the record holder. I can only assume Fifa have committed a massive blunder or (less likely) that we've all been terribly misled. As for Edu of Brazil, he was in the Brazil squad in 1966, but didn't play a game until the 1974 finals, so Fifa are definitely wrong with that one!

The Gaffer, like Obi Wan Kenobi, is a wise old man of the desert and I trust his instincts but instincts are not facts. At Footbalistic their ref for Mario Mendez. has him playing for Uruguay in the 1962 finals when he would have been 24 years old. Meanwhile The Times newspaper recounts a story about Whiteside and Pele being on a plane together and Whiteside teasing Pele for only "being only the second youngest" now (when of course he should have teased him about letting Sylvester Stallone play nets in Escape to Victory.)

Despite what the Gaffer says there are many other websites out there that follow the FIFA party line. Who is right?
...
June 10 2014 update.
FIFA's website has now been changed to show that Norman Whiteside is the youngest player to play in the world cup finals. Mario Mendez, if he ever existed in the first place, has been wiped from history.

44 comments:

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I can't add anyhting to this discussion, except that I thought it was a picture of Cindy Crawford, in her younger days, oops.

By the way, DEAD YARD kicked ass. I'm thinking you must have spent some time up my way, because the setting details were spot on.

Adrian said...

Sean

Yeah the wife's from Boston and I've spent a lot of time there over the years.

seana said...

I was hoping Whiteside himself would step in and clear the matter up for you. He must be too busy watching the World Cup to keep up with the blogosphere, I guess. As I suspect are any of the folks who might have an intelligent guess.
Apart from Sean, I mean.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

First time I have EVER asked the internet for help and its let me down.

Clearly we have reached some kind of epistemic limit with this seemingly simple question.

Glenna said...

Sounds like the whole Mendez/Whiteside thing is a shambles, and we may never know the truth.

The picture incidentally is of Eva Mendes who I'm pretty sure is a relative or something.

Sorry Adrian, I put the two into google and came up with nothing to remotely suggest the two are even remotely related, (other than this blog of course). I applaud the attempt at reasoning though. :)

Liam Hoyle said...

I thought Theo Walcott, who didn't make this year's England squad, played in the 2006 finals at 17 years of age. Could be wrong. Probably am.

I love how you just looked for an excuse to put up a pic of Eva Mendes. And I love how I would've done the exact same thing.

dpougher said...

Suite 101 has Mendez as the youngest player, although if it's any consolation, I'm sure Norman would have been able to beat the crap out of him and drink him under the table, although he would have injured his knee doing it. They were both veterans compared with Souleymane Mamam, who was 13 when he played for Togo in a qualifying match in 2002.

seana said...

So David has come through and now you just have to rank Suite 101 against your other sources.

Personally, I would trade being the youngest player for getting the name Souleyman Maman. But that's just me.

I was skimming a depressing article in the Atlantic today about the corraling of the internet. Apparently it's all going in the direction of Apple and apps and paid content. I wouldn't mind so much if I thought the profits were going to go to the people who actually made the content, but we all know that's not the way it's going to work out.

dpougher said...

Seana,
You might be right, although the internet had frequently defied predictions and may do so again.
Do you reckon Adrian is planning to send us all a monthly bill?

seana said...

That was my hope as I read the article--that it was wrong. I'd be happy to pay Adrian money,for the blog, but I'd want to know that he got the money.

Here's a marketing concept that I just came up with! You get the blog for free, but you have to pay fifteen cents for every word you add to the comments and make the author have to deal with.

dpougher said...

That's just encouraging Adrian to be even more argumentative.
How about he has to pay us if he's found to be wrong.

Adrian said...

Glenna

I agree. I dont believe FIFA at all. In fact I dont who to believe.

Adrian said...

Liam

Yes good call on Eva, but dont tell anyone.

Adrian said...

David

I'm pretty sure that's wrong. Why would there have been all this hoopla in 1982, if everyone knew about Mendez?

Adrian said...

Seana

Yup two of my favourite sites are going the pay route very soon: The Times and The New York Times.

I dont like it.

dpougher said...

I don't know. It's a mystery. Like you, I thought Norman was the youngest but at least there has to be a doubt now. Someone needs to track down Mario Mendez

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

re: pay for internet. Already, I'm noticing more and more instances were ad's( which you can't fast forward or skip) are playing before I get to view an article or news story.

I'm a no patience, zero tolerance for anyone wasting my time, 98 % of people irritate me kind of guy.

So this really gets under my skin and irks me to no end. I'll most times shut down the ad, without seeing what I intended to. No big deal, didn't need to see it that bad I tell myself. I'm sure it is inevitable to have to pay for everything, but for now I do enjoy it when I get to NOT have to tolerate it. If only the same thing worked at car dealerships, Best Buy, and most recently, the Apple Store.

marco said...

Yup two of my favourite sites are going the pay route very soon: The Times and The New York Times.

The Times, they are a-charging...

seana said...

Private and powerful corporations like Apple being able to steer ever larger groups of people about content was not the news I wanted to hear after only just reading a brief article about Apple banning or at least exerting heavy handed content control on a downloadable graphic novel called Ulysses, seen, based on Joyce's text.

John McFetridge said...

Where's Peter to point out that even though newspaper articles are more read than ever before his industry is dying because the article are just passed around online?

I like the idea of getting stuff for free, but how come no one ever says anything about the internet connections not being free?

Anyway, to more important matters - I was in Niagara Falls today and watched the England-USA game at a water park. There were many Americans crowded around the big screen who cared quite a bit - and who complained about Bradley's substitutions (or lack of subs for quite a while) quite a bit. A good crowd really.

seana said...

Internet connections are not free but access to internet connections increasingly are, or at least can be got for the price of a cup of coffee in many places.

In my depression about the internet, I failed to mentiont that the lead story in the Atlantic was called The End of Men. Adrian and John McF and maybe some others here have already cottoned on to this notion. Although you might expect me to gloat, it actually seems kind of sad. But then, I'm probably living under the old paradigm myself.

As to your update, Adrian, even the internet needs a window of more than two days. I'm guessing someone's going to know.

Adrian said...

Yeah, we'll see. My guess is that everyone has been thoroughly confused by FIFA who I'm convinced are wrong.

adrian mckinty said...

Marco

I dont know why but I kinda thought you would know the answer.

marco said...

I dont know why but I kinda thought you would know the answer.

But I've failed you. Now I live in shame.

marco said...

However, since I have relatives in Uruguay (go Penarol!) I'm inclined to trust Fifa.

Adrian said...

Marco

Our relationship will never quite be the same I feel.

Adrian said...

Pat

Not a huge fan. I'm reviewing the latest one for the Melbourne Age at some point. Parts of it were very dodgy indeed.

I may just be getting too old fashioned for this racket.

André Pilz said...

Ah, I am sure that it was Whiteside!

The offical german FIFA-Website mentioned (ok, 4 years ago) the 10 youngest players ... I think Mendez is a hoax.

http://de.fifa.com/worldcup/archive/germany2006/news/newsid=23679.html

((By the way: 1990 Mexiko was not allowed to qualify for the world cup, because they faked some passports of their U-21 players. But that is another story.))

adrian mckinty said...

Andre

You're right I'm going to dig further on this

seana said...

See?

Alan said...

Adrian, I know little about football but from what i have lately gleaned FIFA is facing corruption scandals a la TOUR DE FRANCE officials.Maybe Mendes is like Woody ALlen's ZELIG. I understand the passion and commitment of nations and fans but Brazil has as many problems as Greece and hosting "The Games will cost a fortune it can I'll afford.Ah we are back to Nationalism or is it "Bread And Circuses."Best Alan


swooperman said...

sounds a bit harsh, wiping him from existence? sounds a bit Pinochet-ish

adrian mckinty said...

Alan

FIFA are corrupt from top to bottom. I wouldnt believe anything they said anymore.

adrian mckinty said...

Swooper


He probably never existed. Those guys are liars.

John McFetridge said...

If you haven't seen it yet, John Oliver explains FIFA:

http://youtu.be/DlJEt2KU33I

Brendan O'Leary said...

Football data base.eu has "Omar Mario Mendez" b.1934, still living at 79.

But Wiki has "Mario Omar Mendez" b.1938

Several Uruguay web pages give 11 May 1938 as his birthdate., without citing sources.

His international career is given as 1959 - 1968.

So the question is not whether he existed , but whether he played in the 3rd place game in 1954.

Someone should talk to him.

adrian mckinty said...

John

That is a a classic bit.

adrian mckinty said...

John

That is a a classic bit.

adrian mckinty said...

Brendan

Well now I'm as confused as ever.

Peter Rozovsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Rozovsky said...

The John Oliver bit is terrific so far, except for the parts that are supposed to be funny and at which the audience laughs on cue, no doubt told to do so by APPLAUSE signs. For an equally acid look at FIFA, along with brilliant observations about soccer, South America, and Central America, but without pubic-hair jokes, manic shimmying, and celebrity pandering, try Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano.
=================================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, he mispronounced "Qatar," but he did say "fuck" and "shit," which makes him a daring boundary-defier in America, at least until he gets a big-time network gig.

Peter Rozovsky said...

But then he does get points for daring to utter the heresy that Qatar is a slave state, something mainstream media are afraid to say about any of the Gulf states because, you know, we wouldn't want to offend Muslims. That saves Oliver's bit from a failing grade and earns the routine a C-.

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