An Australian was the first former Peterborough United player to play in the World Cup Finals

It’s a World Cup year and maybe potential Cameroon squad member Jeando Fuchs will add to some pretty thin links between Posh and the biggest competition of them all.

By Alan Swann
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 11:04 pm
David Seaman in World Cup action for England against Argentina 1998. Photo: Getty Images.
David Seaman in World Cup action for England against Argentina 1998. Photo: Getty Images.

No serving Posh player has ever appeared at the World Cup finals and only four ex-players (discounting loanee Danny Rose) have made it that far.

The first, and comfortably the least well known, was midfielder JIMMY ROONEY who appeared for Australia in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany, seven years after he'd played the last of his seven games for Posh.

Rooney was actually Scottish when he moved to London Road from amateur side Lochee Harp in 1965 in a deal that also brought striker Tommy Ross to the club.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

(L-R) Colin Clarke and Pat Jennings, Northern Ireland

Rooney didn’t make his debut for Posh until the following year and went on to score twice before leaving for Montrose from where he emigrated to Austrlalia in 1968.

He starred for several clubs in the Australian League and won his first cap for his adopted country before winning selection to the Soceroos World Cup squad in 1974. Rooney went on to win 100 caps for Australia and is a bonefide legend Down Under.

Rooney played in all three of Australia’s World Cup Final games against East Germany (0-2), West Germany (0-3) and Chile (0-0).

Rooney said: “Everyone expected us to get battered by East Germany in our first game, including the local press, so the 2-0 defeat exceeded all expectations and must go down as one of Australia’s greatest results.

Gary Breen (left) in World Cup action for Ireland against Saudi Arabia in the 2002 World Cup. Photo: Getty Images.

"The second game was just surreal. We walked out onto the pitch in two lines and looked across you saw Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Wolfgang Overath and other great players of that era and you realised how privileged you were to be on the same stage as them.

"We didn’t let anyone down though.”

Striker COLIN CLARKE was the next ex-Posh to reach a World Cup Finals and he achieved it with Northern Ireland in 1986, fanously scoring in a 2-1 defeat against Spain.

Clarke was pretty ordinary for three years after moving from Ipswich Town in 1981 scoring just 22 goals in 94 appearances, but when he left for Tranmere on a free transfer in June 1984 he couldn’t stop scoring and two years later he was at the biggest tournament in the world. He was with Third Division Bournemouth when arriving in Mexico and went on to play for Southampton and QPR in the top flight and then Portsmouth.

Jimmy Rooney. Photo: Getty Images.

Clarke won 38 international caps and his 13 goals was a national record for a time.

Legendary goalkeeper DAVID SEAMAN played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups with England after starting his professional career with Posh following a move from Leeds United in 1982. Seaman made 106 Posh appearances and 75 England caps. He played for England Under 21s while still at Posh in 1984.

Central defender GARY BREEN was also at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan with Ireland and scored in a 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia. Breen moved to Posh from Gillingham in 1994 and played for Ireland Under 21s while at London Road. He made his full Ireland debut in 1996 after he’d left Posh for Barry Fry’s Birmingham City. Breen went on to win 63 Ireland caps and scored seven goals.