Receiving an international call-up has always been a major deal. For many, getting the opportunity to represent your country is one that is simply the pinnacle of a career in football.
Most players dream of the chance to wear their nation's colors, to do their country proud and to establish themselves as a national icon. Getting to a World Cup final, a European Championship, an AFCON final, a Copa America or even breaking into the team with an appearance in a friendly - these are all milestones that can help shape a player. That said, the dream doesn't always work out so well for a lot of performers.
After all, not everyone can become a Geoff Hurst, a Pele, a Johan Cruyff or even a Robbie Keane. Of course, the best of the best will always rise to the top, playing with pride, passion and gusto each and every time they represent their country on the international stage, but there are others who simply flounder when a chance comes their way.
You know the ones - performers who flop with inaccurate finishing, unfortunate own goals and even consistently poor performances, time after time. The majority of this rare breed are unknown quantities, players who appear from nowhere to rise the crest of a wave into a sphere that's both alien and overwhelming at the same time, with some far too out of their depth to do anything of any worth.
The rest, on the other hand, are established stars who fail to reach the levels many know they really should. After all, football is a game filled with troughs and pitfalls at nearly every turn, and making it at a club level while simultaneously doing the business for your home nation is not something that always comes easily.
So, without further ado, let's get cracking into our list - feel free to comment with any honorable mentions, below.
15 Stephane Guivarc'h
Despite featuring in a few polls as one of the worst strikers to ever play in the Premier League, Guivarc'h was once the toast of Ligue 1 in France and much sought-after by some of England's biggest clubs. Why, Liverpool and Newcastle United found themselves battling for his signature back in 1998, only for the Magpies to win out in the end.
Yes, that's right Luizao actually won a World Cup medal. Though it's hard to tell whether he was totally awful or simply inadequate in comparison to the rest of the Selecao squad leading up to the 2002 win, it's clear that he wasn't good enough to extend his flirtation with the national set-up any longer than 17 caps - an indication of just how lucky he was to be called up in the first place, perhaps?
13 Brian Deane
Despite becoming the first-ever player to play in the Premier League, Deane had a torrid time playing for England. Picking up just three caps in total, the now retired star cut a sorry figure up front, despite enjoying quite a successful club career with Doncaster Rovers, Sheffield United, Leeds United and even Benfica over in Portugal, among others.
12 Cristian Ledesma
It's probably not much of a coincidence that Ledesma wasn't picked up by Argentina before managing to earn just one cap for Italy during a rather protracted, fluctuating period. The interests of the Azzurri were, no doubt, piqued after the player had become a key figure for SS Lazio over the years, and he was duly given a chance in a 1-1 draw against Romania back in 2010.
11 Giuseppe Galderisi
A Serie A title winner with Hellas Verona in 1985, Galderisi scored as many as 11 league goals in that fateful season, and it's a win that sits alone in the Gialloblu trophy cabinet as they have not won it since. Indeed, it was largely for his eye-catching domestic performances that the now 52-year-old was included as a squad member for Italy's foray into the 1986 World Cup finals, but he simply couldn't replicate that form again.
10 Jesper Blomqvist
Back in 1994, Blomqvist was a member of the Swedish team that managed to finish third in USA at the World Cup. At the time, he was playing for IFK Goteborg in the Allsvenskan, just a few years before he would make his big-money move to Old Trafford and Manchester United. A winner of the Champions League, FA Cup and Champions League, his CV was glittering with honors for years, but his international journey never scaled the same heights despite his early promise.
9 Ade Akinbiyi
Although his international chances were hindered by in-house favouritism and misguided selections from the managerial staff, Akinbiyi didn't exactly stay and fight for his place. In truth, it could also be said that if he had been good enough for the team, he would have been picked over so many others, and he would have earned a lot more than his single cap.
8 Francis Jeffers
Widely regarded as one of the unluckiest, if not worst, players to pull on an England jersey, Jeffers also holds the unwanted moniker for one of the country's biggest youth disappointments of the last 15-20 years. Indeed, the ex-Arsenal and Everton star made his international debut in the same game as Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney, and even managed to score in that game.
7 Kieron Dyer
It might seem harsh to include Dyer in our list, but his record almost speaks for itself. Having featured 33 times for the Three Lions, the ex-Newcastle United midfielder was a regular contributor to the England set-up between 1999 and 2007. That said, he was not a really successful part of the team as he failed to score even a single goal in his whole time there.
6 Conor Sammon
An experiment gone wrong during Giovanni Trapattoni's tenure as head of the Republic of Ireland squad, Sammon never really fit the bill as a regular goalscorer for the Green Army. A stop-gap measure in truth, his abilities were really put to the test when he was called up for a friendly clash with Poland before being thrown into the starting 11 at the last minute.
5 Michael Ricketts
Another England international to make the cut, Ricketts is often derided for his sub-par display for his country. His quality in the goal-scoring department on the club scene led many to believe that he could snatch goals easily enough in the brilliant white jersey of his homeland, but he struggled to do just that.
4 Rafael Scheidt
Ratcheting up as many as four appearances for the Brazil national side (although one of these came against Barcelona), he had a very short-lived international career. In truth, his performances were neither incredibly woeful or notably outstanding, they were in fact sublimely Scheidt - that is to say, er...mediocre.
3 Bernard Diomede
An often forgotten winner of the World Cup with France in 1998, Diomede's name often gets shrouded by the dazzling lights of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf. Underused and neglected during his time with Liverpool, after securing a £3 million transfer to Merseyside, he saw his career suffer greatly.
2 Ariel Garce
Having made just one appearance prior to his inclusion in the 2010 World Cup finals, Ariel Garce was arguably the oddest ever squad member to be picked by La Albiceleste. Picked by the ever-controversial Diego Maradona purely based on a dream he had about Garce lifting the trophy after they had emerged triumphant on the final day - if that doesn't confirm how poor a player he was, read on.
1 Chris Iwelumo
Fans of the Scotland national team won't remember Iwelumo's stint as a representative with much fondness at all. In fact, his name probably sends shivers down their spines in the same way any forward being hacked down by Celtic's Scott Brown does. In short, his displays for the Scots were an unmitigated disaster. In all, he managed to scrape together as many as four appearances before he was eventually forgotten about.
Undoubtedly, he won't ever like reflecting back on his sitter from two yards against Norway in 2008 just as much as fans dislike remembering it - it truly was a horrendous miss, and on his debut no less. Thankfully for Iwelumo, he had a long and pretty decent club career that saw him play for clubs like Charlton Athletic, Stoke City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley, too.
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