Beginner’s luck: memorable first caps

It was 60 years ago today that Alfredo Di Stéfano scored three goals in his first game for Spain, Real Madrid’s Argentinian-born Blond Arrow having taken Spanish citizenship. Some debut, but others may have had better ones, as discovers.

Chacho: Spain 13-0 Bulgaria, 21 May 1933
In pouring rain, Deportivo La Coruña forward Chacho hit six – the most by a Spaniard in an international fixture, with three of them in the opening 20 minutes – in what remains Spain’s record victory.

Angelos Charisteas: My EURO memory
Angelos Charisteas: My EURO memory

Angelos Charisteas: Greece 3-3 Russia, 28 February 2001
Three and a half years before his and Greece’s finest hour at UEFA EURO 2004, Charisteas announced himself on the international stage with two goals in his first 32 minutes in a Greece shirt.

Bobby Charlton: Scotland 0-4 England, 19 April 1958
Two months after being injured in the Munich air disaster, Sir Bobby netted a memorable volley at Hampden Park on his debut; he added two more when he earned his second cap against Portugal.

Eddy de Neve: Belgium 1-4 Netherlands, 30 April 1905
Undeterred by an own-goal equaliser after he’d scored the Netherlands’ first ever international goal, De Neve plundered three more in extra time. Faas Wilkes later matched him, registering four on his Oranje debut – a 6-2 defeat of Luxembourg on 10 March 1946.

Watch Gnabry debut hat-trick in Germany rout
Watch Serge Gnabry’s debut hat-trick for Germany

Serge Gnabry: San Marino v Germany, 11 November 2016
The Bremen midfielder took nine minutes to claim the first of his three debut goals but saved his best until last, completing his treble with a fine volley from Thomas Müller’s cross.

Sergei Gridin: Kazakhstan 2-1 Azerbaijan, 3 June 2011
The big forward was the knight in shining armour on his senior bow, notching twice in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier for a side who had not found the net in over 500 minutes.

Jim McCalliog: England 2-3 Scotland, 11 April 1967
“I have a fabulous memory of it all as I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol until I was 23,” joked McCalliog who, aged 20, grabbed the winner on his debut as Scotland toppled the reigning world champions at Wembley.

Watch Müller guide West Germany to 1976 final
Watch Müller guide West Germany to 1976 final

Dieter Müller: Yugoslavia 2-4 West Germany (aet), 17 June 1976
His team were 2-1 down with 11 minutes left when Müller came on to make his debut in the EURO ’76 semi-finals. Within three minutes, he equalised, and then secured an extraordinary hat-trick in extra time.

Alberto Orlando: Italy 6-0 Turkey, 2 December 1962
Four goals in this EURO qualifier seemed to herald the start of a glittering international career, yet they were to be the only strikes that the 1964/65 Serie A joint-top scorer managed in five appearances.

Francisco Palmeiro: Portugal 3-1 Spain, 3 June 1956
Benfica’s first European Cup marksman in September 1957, Palmeiro bagged three on his debut against a side featuring Héctor Rial and Francisco Gento, who won the first European Cup final with Real Madrid ten days later.

Howard Vaughton: Ireland 0-13 England, 18 February 1882
The Aston Villa ace’s five in England’s biggest victory is still a national record. A top-level cricketer and hockey player, and ice-skating champion, after retiring from football Vaughton joined the family silversmithery – he actually made the FA Cup that was used from 1895 to 1910.

Alfredo Di Stéfano (1960)
Alfredo Di Stéfano was quick off the mark with Spain©

Josip Weber: Belgium 9-0 Zambia, 4 June 1994
Capped in three friendlies by Croatia, Weber switched to his grandfather’s home country – where he represented Cercle Brugge and later Anderlecht – and struck five times on his second international bow.

Zinédine Zidane: France 2-2 Czech Republic, 17 August 1994
Called up for this friendly in Bordeaux – where he played his club football – as a late replacement for the injured Youri Djorkaeff, 22-year-old Zidane came on after 63 minutes with France trailing 2-0 and levelled matters with two late efforts.

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