Greats for Finland and North Macedonia and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo feature in the list of oldest scorers in EURO qualifying history.
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Advancing age and the rigours of top-level sport rarely go hand-in-hand, but some players embrace the march of time better than most. Needless to say, Cristiano Ronaldo is prominent in any such discussion but even he must stand aside – for now at least – to Finland talisman Jari Litmanen when it comes to being the oldest marksman in EURO qualification history.
UEFA.com profiles the men proving age is but a state of mind when it comes to finding the net in international football.
Who are the oldest scorers in EURO qualifying?
Finland 8-0 San Marino, 17/11/2010
Age: 39 years 270 days
Litmanen was approaching 40 when he scored on his international swansong in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying. Introduced at half-time to a hero's welcome, with Finland 1-0 up, the forward sparked a second-half ignition that led to their biggest win in a competitive international. Hat-trick scorer Mikael Forssell was the star, but the classy No10 got in on the act himself, whipping a penalty into the bottom-left corner to mark his 137th appearance – still a national record – with a 32nd goal.
Twice a UEFA Champions League finalist – victorious with Ajax in 1995 – Litmanen was as well-decorated as he was well-travelled, winning five domestic championships with Ajax, several trophies at Liverpool and Finnish league and cup honours.
Andorra 1-2 Switzerland, 16/06/2023
Age: 38 years 249 days
Over 17 years on from his Andorra debut, midfielder Márcio Vieira scored his second international goal to reduce the arrears in the Tricolours' home qualifier against Switzerland.
After coming through the youth ranks at Portuguese outfit Futebol Clube do Marco, Vieira enjoyed brief spells with Ibiza and Teruel in the Spanish lower leagues before joining current club Atlético Monzón in 2008. He has made a remarkable 394 appearances for the side, scoring 55 goals.
Iceland 0-1 Portugal, 20/06/2023
Age: 38 years 135 days
Anyone thinking Ronaldo would slip away from European football quietly following his transfer from Manchester United to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr at the start of 2023 were quickly put in their place by the evergreen Portuguese. The striker followed up his double in their UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying opener against Liechtenstein with two goals against Luxembourg and the winner in Iceland – adding to his collection of EURO finals records is surely in his sights.
The UEFA EURO 2016 and 2019 UEFA Nations League winner also has a dazzling array of honours, and records, in European club football, including five Champions League titles and seven league titles across his spells with United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Gibraltar 2-3 Georgia, 15/10/2019
Age: 38 years 16 days
Casciaro had just turned 38 when he scored his third international goal, ghosting in at the far post to confidently finish Ethan Britto's fine low cross from the left as Gibraltar fought back from two down to briefly restore parity.
The forward, who became the oldest player to appear in EURO qualifying in March 2023, has spent his entire career at Lincoln Red Imps and can boast more than 50 trophies at the club. He also shot to fame on the European stage when he struck the winner against Celtic in a UEFA Champions League qualifier in 2016.
Georgia 0-1 North Macedonia, 12/11/2020
Age: 37 years 109 days
Some things were just meant to be. North Macedonia had never reached a final tournament but arrived in Tbilisi for this UEFA EURO 2020 play-off knowing victory would create history. Their record appearance maker and goalscorer carried the nation on his shoulders and, inevitably, struck the 56th-minute winner after a glorious move involving Valerian Gvilia and Lasha Dvali. It enabled him to end his international career at the finals, where he became the second oldest EURO scorer with his strike against Austria.
That proved a fitting swansong to a wonderful career. Pandev was a double winner with Inter and Galatasaray, and a cup winner at Lazio and Napoli, but his greatest honour at club level came when the Nerazzurri won the 2010 UEFA Champions League.
Portugal 2-1 Serbia, 29/03/2015
Age: 36 years 316 days
Carvalho opened the scoring with a thumping header from Fábio Coentrão's cross to set Portugal on their way to a key group victory. It was the centre-back's fifth and final goal for his country and also his first international strike for more than seven years. The following summer, aged 38, he was the oldest outfield player at EURO 2016 and lifted the trophy to cap a glittering career.
At club level, Carvalho was a UEFA Cup and Champions League winner with Porto before winning eight trophies at Chelsea and two more at Real Madrid.
The rest of the top ten...
Gibraltar 2-3 Georgia, 15/10/2019
Age: 36 years 268 days
Gibraltar 0-3 France, 16/06/2023
Age: 36 years and 260 days
Bulgaria 2-1 Andorra, 16/10/2002
Age: 36 years 201 days
Kazakhstan 0-3 Iceland, 28/03/2015
Age: 36 years 194 days