West Ham United are a football club synonymous with success in the International stage and more notably, in FIFA World Cups, just look at the heroics of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters in the famed 1966 final at Wembley Stadium.
However, ever since that famous day in July 1966, no Hammers star has ever been able to replicate something as special on football’s biggest stage, and in fact, representation of the East London team has been down in the modern era.
Today, at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, four players currently under contract in East London are representing their various nations, one of the highest numbers of the Premier League.
Although this was far from the case four years ago in Brazil at the 20th World Cup finals, where, remarkably, only one Hammer made the plane with his country.
That player was, of course, full-back Pablo Armero, who at the time, was only on loan at Upton Park from Napoli and would move to Udinese after the conclusion of the tournament.
He had only arrived in East London in January of 2014 and while he was representing Colombia in Brazil there was talk of a permanent deal being struck, but that never came to fruition.
The Colombians and Armero were drawn in Group C at the tournament, alongside Europeans Greece, Africans the Ivory Costa and Asians in the form of Japan.
First up for them was the Greeks in Belo Horizonte and ironically, it would be the right-back to score their first goal of the competition, putting them ahead after five minutes, the dream start for Jose Pekerman’s men.
Armero would be replaced to rapturous applause in the 74th-minute after an excellent display from the then 27-year-old helping his nation to an emphatic 3-0 victory.
The West Ham star was, once more, in Colombia’s starting Xl for the next group game and arguably the toughest, against the Ivory Coast and he performed well in yet another triumph.
The margin of victory was much narrower this time at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, jut 2-1, though the three points did confirm their place in the round of 16, for the second time in their history.
The South American country rounded off the group campaign in style at the Arena Pantanal on 24 June, Armero getting his first full 90 minutes at his first WC, in a 1-4 thumping of the Japanese.
And, so it was on to the knockout stages, as convincing winners of Group C, Colombia were given the easier draw for the round of 16, which pitted them against Uruguay.
The boys in yellow convincingly overcame their South American counterparts to the tune of 2-0 in the capital Rio de Janeiro, Armero starting and catching the eye for the fourth time in succession.
One could argue that Colombia were unlucky with the side of the draw they found themselves in, which meant that the tournament hosts Brazil would await in the semi-finals.
The man who made a handful of appearances of Claret & Blue at the back end of the 2013/2014 season battled hard, however, unable to down the mite of the five-time champions, losing 2-1 to the side that would be defeated in the final by Germany, in the end.
While it was a proud moment for the East Londoners, having one of their own in the last eight of the biggest footballing show on Earth, the whole competition and more specifically the lack of Irons representation, would have been a huge disappointment.
Analysing the Hammers’ 2013/2014 campaign under Sam Allardyce, with concluded under a month before the start of the WC finals, it’s hardly a surprise that Armero was the only one.
There can be little doubting that a few more Hammers would have been there should their respective nations have qualified and some of those players did narrowly miss out on qualification.
Names such as England’s Stuart Downing fitted this billing, a player that was playing for England in a friendly against Scotland just a few months later, the same can be said about Amero’s fellow loanee from an Italian club, Antonio Nocerino.
New Zealand captain Winston Reid almost led his nation to a second consecutive World Cup, while Africans Modibo Maiga and Mo Diame could have played for their nations made it, Wales’ Jack Collison also falls into this category, Guy Demel was not selected for the Ivorians.
But, now it is the turn of new signing and Poland man Lukasz Fabianski, Senegal national team captain Cheikhou Kouyate, Mexico striker Javier Hernandez and current loanee and Portugal man Joao Mario to carry the Claret & Blue baton forth on football’s biggest stage of all at Russia 2018.
Keep across all our platforms in the next few weeks, including our website and Twitter @WestHamMatters_, to find out how all of West Ham United’s FIFA World Cup 2018 representatives are getting on in Russia, don’t miss a tick, with us.