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Unlucky 13, unless you are Mueller

sports Updated: Jul 02, 2010 01:32 IST

If you want to play in the World Cup final, better not choose jersey number 13 — unless your name is Mueller.

The number 13 is considered unlucky in many countries.

But FIFA has little sympathy for superstition. Since squad numbers were introduced, in 1954, the number 13 jersey has featured in all of the squads taking part in a World Cup.

Where it has not featured very often, however, is in the World Cup final itself. In the 14 showdowns played since 1954, just four players won the tournament wearing a number 13 jersey.

The number of players who have won an individual award at the World Cup finals while wearing the number 13 jersey is even smaller. In 1966, Portugal achieved their best-ever result at the finals by finishing third, courtesy of a Mozambican-born striker called Eusebio.

Despite wearing the number 13, Eusebio scored nine goals and won the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s top scorer.

The 1954 final pitted Hungary against Germany. Both teams had a number 13, but it was Germany’s Max Morlock who had the last laugh as his side stunned the seemingly invincible Hungarians 3-2.

The Nuremberg striker, who scored 21 goals in just 26 matches for his country, scored Germany’s first goal after Hungary had raced into a 2-0 lead after just eight minutes.

The next number 13 to appear in a World Cup final was Italy’s Angelo Domenghini in 1970. His side lost 1-4 to Brazil.