Old or Young? Looking Back on the Average Age of Every Country’s Squad at the 2018 World Cup

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Lionel Messi’s Argentina have the oldest squad at the World Cup this summer, suggesting it really is now or never for the Barcelona superstar and the rest of a talented Albiceleste generation to finally win international silverware before it is too late.

The average age of the 23-man Argentina squad named by coach Jorge Sampaoli was exactly 29 years when announced. Although always among the oldest at the tournament when selections were made, it hadn’t initially been so high, with the average inflated when 25-year-old Manuel Lanzini dropped out through injury and was replaced by 32-year-old Enzo Perez.

The second oldest squad at the tournament belongs to Mexico, whose average age is 28.9, although 39-year-old Rafael Marquez, who has now played at his fifth World Cup, is responsible for bringing it up. Only four others in the Mexico squad are actually older than 31, but just three are under 24.

Egypt’s average age of 28.4 was considerably affected by the presence of 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who made his international debut in 1996 before the youngest member of the Egyptian squad, Ramadan Sobhi, was even born.

World Cup newcomers Panama are also among the oldest at an average age of 28.4. Their squad was a real mix of old and young, with Jaime Penedo, Felipe Baloy, Blas Perez and Luis Tejada all 36 or older. Yet 19-year-old Gent midfielder Jose Luis Rodriguez is one of only seven teenagers at the whole tournament.

Costa Rica (28.5), Russia (28.3), Japan (28.3), Iceland (28.1), Brazil (28.1) and Spain (28.0) are the other nations whose average squad age comes in at 28 or higher.

England, whose oldest player is Ashley Young at just 32 years of age, have one of the youngest squads in Russia, with an average age of 26.0. That is the same as now former Group G rivals Tunisia, but there are still two younger squads whose average age is even lower.

France, a team many people believe could win the trophy for only the second time in their history, have an average age of 25.6. As many as 15 of their 23 players are aged 25 or younger, with 19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe the youngest of the squad.

Nigeria, another very popular team with supporters, are the youngest at the World Cup. The average age of their squad is only 25.5, three-and-a-half years younger than Argentina, who the Super Eagles will actually face in their third group game towards the end of June.

Will it be youthful exuberance or experience that counts most in Russia? Only time will tell.

Average Age of All 32 Squads at the 2018 World Cup (*Calculated using the age of every player on 14th June 2018 when the World Cup begins)

Country Avg. Age Oldest Player Youngest Player
Argentina 29.0 Willy Caballero (36) Paulo Dybala (22)
Mexico 28.9 Rafael Marquez (39) Edison Alvarez (20)
Costa Rica 28.5 Johnny Acosta (34) Ian Smith (20)
Egypt 28.4 Essam El-Hadary (45) Ramadan Sobhi (21)
Panama 28.4 Felipe Baloy (37) Jose Luis Rodriguez (19)
Russia 28.3 Sergei Ignashevich (38) Aleksandr Golovin (22)
Japan 28.3 Eiji Kawashima (35) Kosuke Nakamura (23)
Iceland 28.1 Kari Arnason (35) Albert Gudmundsson (20)
Saudi Arabia 28.1 Yasser Al-Mosailem (34) Abdullah Al-Khaibari (21)
Brazil 28.1 Miranda (33) Gabriel Jesus (21)
Spain 28.0 Pepe Reina (35) Marco Asensio (22)
Portugal 27.9 Bruno Alves (36) Ruben Dias (21)
Colombia 27.9 Farid Diaz (34) Davinson Sanchez (22)
Poland 27.9 Slawomir Peszko (33) Dawid Kownacki (21)
Uruguay 27.7 Martin Silva (35) Rodrigo Bentancur (20)
Sweden 27.7 Andreas Granqvist (33) Emil Krafth (23)
Australia 27.6 Tim Cahill (38) Daniel Arzani (19)
Croatia 27.4 Danijel Subasic (33) Duje Caleta-Car (21)
South Korea 27.3 Lee Yong (31) Lee Seung-woo (20)
Belgium 27.1 Thomas Vermaelen (32) Youri Tielemans (21)
Peru 27.0 Paolo Guerrero (34) Renato Tapia (22)
Morocco 26.8 Mbark Boussoufa (33) Achraf Hakimi (19)
Denmark 26.7 Michael Krohn-Dehli (35) Kasper Dolberg (20)
Switzerland 26.7 Stephan Lichtsteiner (34) Breel Embolo (21)
Iran 26.7 Pejman Montazeri (34) Saeid Ezatolahi (21)
Senegal 26.7 Khadim N’Diaye (33) Moussa Wague (19)
Germany 26.7 Mario Gomez (32) Julian Brandt (22)
Serbia 26.3 Vladimir Stojokvic (34) Luka Jovic (20)
Tunisia 26.0 Aymen Mathlouthi (33) Bassem Srarfi (20)
England 26.0 Ashley Young (32) Trent Alexander-Arnold (19)
France 25.6 Steve Mandanda (33) Kylian Mbappe (19)
Nigeria 25.5 Daniel Akpeyi (32) Francis Uzoho (19)

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