Pablo Armero celebrates scoring for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup

World Cup Hammers - 2014 | Armero on target

Just one West Ham United player travelled to the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, and even he was only in Claret and Blue on a temporary basis.

Colombia left-back Pablo Armero was on loan at the Hammers from Italian club Napoli and would make just five Premier League appearances in his few months in east London.

The 27-year-old took just five minutes to make his mark, scoring his country’s opening goal with a deflected shot to set them on course to a 3-0 Group C victory over Greece in Belo Horizonte. Armero also started victories over Ivory Coast (2-1) and Japan (4-1) as Colombia topped their group with a perfect nine points out of nine.

Armero was booked as Colombia defeated Uruguay 2-0 in the round of 16, and started his fifth game out of five as the South Americans were edged out by Brazil (1-2) in the quarter-finals.

While the defender, who joined Udinese midway through the tournament, was West Ham’s only representative at the finals, a further 16 past and future Irons were also involved for their respective nations.

Pablo Armero scores for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup

Three featured in Group A, but only Chicharito’s Mexico advanced, with Nikica Jelavić’s Croatia and Alex Song’s Cameroon eliminated at the first hurdle. Chicharito, who would transfer to West Ham in 2017, was introduced as a substitute against Cameroon (1-0) and Brazil (0-0) before scoring off the bench in a 3-1 win over Croatia.

Song, who would join West Ham in August 2014, started against Cameroon, but was then sent-off in a 0-4 defeat by Croatia and was suspended for a 1-4 loss to Brazil. Jelavić’s touch helped Croatia take the lead against Brazil through a Marcelo own-goal, but the South Americans fought back to win 3-1, before the centre-forward, who spent six months with the Irons in 2015/16, also featured as a replacement in the defeat by Mexico.

England had a tournament to forget, finishing bottom of Group D with just one point following 1-2 defeats by Italy and Uruguay and a goalless draw with Costa Rica.

Future West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart and Academy of Football graduate Glen Johnson started the two defeats, with the latter providing an assist for Wayne Rooney’s goal against Uruguay. Frank Lampard captained the team on his only appearance against Costa Rica, while Jack Wilshere also started that game, having appeared as a second-half substitute against Italy.

Enner Valencia scores against Switzerland at the 2014 World Cup

Three Hammers featured in Group E. Enner Valencia, who joined West Ham shortly after the World Cup, scored three goals for Ecuador, netting once in a 1-2 defeat by Valon Behrami’s Switzerland and twice in a 2-1 win over Honduras, but the South Americans were eliminated with four points.

Midfielder Behrami, who had featured for West Ham between 2008-11, started all three group-stage matches, the wins over Ecuador and Honduras (3-0) and defeat by group winners France (2-5), and extra-time round of 16 defeat by Argentina (0-1). Future West Ham defender Patrice Evra started two group games for France, as well as the round of 16 win over Nigeria (2-0) and quarter-final defeat by Germany (0-1).

Group F featured four players with direct West Ham links – Argentina’s Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Mascherano and Nigeria duo Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses.

Argentina would go all the way to the final before losing to Germany in extra-time, with future defender Zabaleta (2017-20) and former midfielder Mascherano (2006-07) starting all seven ties – group-stage wins over Bosnia and Herzegovina (2-1), Iran (1-0) and Nigeria (3-2) and knockout victories over Switzerland (1-0), Belgium (1-0), Netherlands (4-2 on penalties).

Pablo Zabaleta and Emmanuel Emenike in action at the 2014 World Cup

Nigeria also advanced as runners-up, with striker Emenike starting all three ties and Moses the opening goalless draw with Iran. Both players were in the team which lost 0-2 to France in the round of 16.

Future West Ham record signing André Ayew scored in two of Ghana’s three Group F matches, but could not help the Black Stars reach the knockout stages, as his goals came in a 1-2 defeat by the United States and 2-2 draw with Germany, which were followed by a 1-2 defeat by Portugal.

Sofiane Feghouli (2016-17) scored Algeria’s opening goal from the penalty spot, but the Desert Foxes were ultimately beaten 1-2 by Belgium. However, the North Africans recovered to beat South Korea 4-2 and draw 1-1 with Russia to advance. Winger Feghouli also started the round of 16 tie with Germany, which ended in a 1-2 extra-time defeat.


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