Francis Uzoho Nigeria's goalie in the 2018 World Cup was only 19 years of age. While it is not uncommon to see teenagers in the World Cup in general, it is uncommon to see goalies starting for their national team in that age.

What are the top 5 youngest goaltenders to start a game in the world cup? Please provide the year and host, as well as the the teams in play in the games.

3 Answers 3


This is based on FIFA World Cup squads as listed on Wikipedia. (So it also depends on the accuracy of the data on Wikipedia.) In connection with this, I should mention that for some players age and birth date is completely missing or only year is shown. (This is mainly the case for earlier World Cups. Since sixties, these data seem to be more-or-less complete.)

Since the question explicitly asks about goalkeepers who started in a game, goalkeepers who were listed in a World Cup squad but stayed on a bench are not included. (Several younger players can be found if we drop this requirement.)


Aged 19

The goalkeppers which played at World Cup at age 19.


An answer that was already posted covers goalkeepers at FIFA Women's World Cup. Here is some additional information.

  • Cecilia Santiago played for Mexico at 2011 World Cup. She played in all three matches in the group stage (England, Japan, New Zealand). She was 16 at the time (born 19 October 1994).
  • Ann Chiejine played for Nigeria at 1991 World Cup. She played in all matches in group stage (Germany, Italy, Chinese Taipei). This was at age 17 (born 2 February 1974).
  • Lin Hui-fang played for Chinese Taipei at 1991 World Cup. She played in two matches in group stage - against Germany and Nigeria. She was 18 years old (born 6 October 1973).
  • Linnea Quinones played for Mexico at 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. She played in all three matches in the group stage (Brazil, Germany, Italy). At the age of 18 (born 17 July 1980).
  • Kim Jung-mi played for South Korea at 2003 FIFA World Cup. She played in all three matches in the group stage (Brazil, France and Noway). She was 18 at the time (born 16 October 1984).


MMReport on the FIFA website (Internet Archive) lists Kamel Masoud as a goalkeeper - which is most likely a mistake since he was a forward. But based on other sources, it seems that Mustafa Mansour indeed played in this match. (Although the article about Uzozo also lists Masoud and in Mis Mundiales Mansour is listed as 20 years old.)


Your question is somewhat ambiguous. Not counting youth tournaments such as the U-17 and U-20 World Cups, the youngest goalkeeper ever to start in a World Cup was Cecilia Santiago of Mexico, born 19 October 1994, in a 1–1 draw vs. England on 27 June 2011. She was 16 years and 251 days old.

At least one fifteen-year-old goalkeeper has sat on the bench in a World Cup, Yun Hyon-hi of North Korea in 2007. In fact, she was still a teenager when she got her first World Cup start in 2011.

Although I don't have a complete ranking by age in days, the rest of the top five are also women, or girls at the time. There are several teenage goalkeepers at every Women's World Cup (the first being Ann Chiejine, who was 17 when she played for Nigeria versus Germany on November 17, 1991), while there are no goalkeepers in FIFA's official list of the youngest men to ever play in a World Cup, which stops at 19 years, 4 months, and 21 days.


Luis Ricardo Guevara Mora (Born 2 september 1962? 1964?); goalkeeper of El Salvador in Spain'82 could be at least one of youngest goalkeeper in world cup history. Some Salvadoran journalists say that he was 18 years old when he played the world cup, it is the age that appears on the official world cup album (although FIFA reports that he was 20), He would have lied his age to the authorities of the Federation to be able to collect the travel expenses for his participation in the World Cup.

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