Edwin van der Sar and Lilian Thuram share the honour of most final tournament appearances heading into UEFA EURO 2016, but there is no shortage of players who could catch them this summer.
Edwin van der Sar, Netherlands (16)
A veteran of 130 matches for the Netherlands, Van der Sar fell tantalisingly short of glory with his national team more than once. The tall goalkeeper is in an elite club of players to have figured in four EURO championships and on each occasion reached at least the quarter-finals. Twice he served between the posts as his country made it to the last four only to fail to take that final step – perhaps most agonisingly at UEFA EURO 2000, where the Oranje went out to Italy on penalties having already spurned two spot kicks in regulation time.
Lilian Thuram, France (16)
The France defender's 142nd, and final, international outing came as captain against the Netherlands – and Van der Sar – in Les Bleus' second UEFA EURO 2008 group game. Being overlooked for France's subsequent match – a 2-0 defeat by Italy which confirmed their elimination – meant he must share the finals appearance record. It also marked a meek conclusion to his benchmark-setting career in which, most notably, Thuram was a stalwart of the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000-winning squads.
Players with ten or more final appearances who could feature at UEFA EURO 2016
14: Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo
13: Gianluigi Buffon, Bastian Schweinsteiger
12: Cesc Fàbregas, Andrés Iniesta, Fernando Torres
11: Petr Čech, Andrea Pirlo, Lukas Podolski, Sergio Ramos, David Silva
10: Zlatan Ibrahimović, Andreas Isaksson
Iker Casillas, Spain (14)*
Casillas has been to four EUROs – though he was an unused substitute at his first, in 2000 – and has finished the past two by lifting the trophy as captain. Sandwiched between those two triumphs was 2010 FIFA World Cup success, while he also has three UEFA Champions Leagues and five Liga titles to his name. Casillas has won well over 150 caps, and though he has left Real Madrid for Porto since his last major tournament, he remains a mainstay for Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (14)*
Already the UEFA European Championship's all-time time top scorer – qualifying and finals combined – with 26 goals, Ronaldo will no doubt have Thuram and Van der Sar in his sights in France. His three previous EUROs have yielded a quarter-final (2008), a semi (2012) and a runners-up berth (2004), as well as six goals for himself. His individual achievements go far beyond that, though. Not only has Ronaldo won two UEFA Champions Leagues, he has picked up three Ballons d'Or and is both Real Madrid and Portugal's all-time leading scorer.
Philipp Lahm, Germany (14)
Not many players can have bowed out of international football on such a high. Less than a week after captaining Germany to the FIFA World Cup in 2014, Lahm announced his retirement at the age of 30. He picked up 113 caps for his country, appearing in six major tournaments, three as skipper. On four of those six occasions, he was named in the tournament all-star team. He continues to captain Bayern München, with whom he has won seven Bundesligas and counting.
Luís Figo, Portugal (14)
A stellar career spanning three UEFA European Championships looked, at one point, set to end in despair, with Figo stepping down from international football following Portugal's defeat on home soil by Greece in the UEFA EURO 2004 showpiece. The attacking midfielder eventually reversed his decision, however, and finally bid farewell to the national team at the 2006 World Cup. Though never rewarded with silverware, Figo was certainly a worthy talisman for his country's 'Golden Generation'.
Nuno Gomes, Portugal (14)
Among the players to look to Figo not just for inspiration but for service as well was Gomes – for a long time the spearhead of a side abundantly blessed with creative talent. Joint-third behind Michel Platini and Alan Shearer in the all-time UEFA European Championship scoring charts, Gomes was no stranger to producing on the big stage and registered in all three EUROs in which he featured.
Karel Poborský, Czech Republic (14)
Think Poborský and surely one moment jumps out more than any other: THAT goal against Portugal in the EURO '96 quarter-finals. For vision, execution and sheer cheek, his chip takes some beating. It signalled a personal highlight in a tournament in which the shaggy-haired winger's Czech Republic team made a name for themselves by getting to the final, with Poborský an influential figure at UEFA EURO 2004 as well.
Zinédine Zidane, France (14)
Peerless at his peak, Zidane was the heartbeat of the France side that, in 2000, became the first reigning world champions to win the UEFA European Championship. On target twice in the 1998 World Cup final, he was equally pivotal in steering Les Bleus to glory two years later, scoring a stunning free-kick in the quarter-final victory over Spain before keeping his nerve to convert a clinching 117th-minute penalty in the 2-1 extra-time defeat of Portugal in the last four.
*Denotes still playing international football
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