Football's international centurions

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The achievement of 100 international caps is one rightly heralded, and Uefa continue to fulfil their promise of presenting an award to every player to have reached that landmark in Europe.

Peter Shilton, David Beckham and Sir Bobby Charlton will each collect their individual award at Wembley next weekend as England take on Belgium, while the widows of Bobby Moore and Billy Wright will accept the honour on behalf of their late husbands.

Former Wolves captain Wright was the first player in the history of the game to reach 100 appearances, doing so in 1959, while 90 of his 106 caps were as England skipper.

The likes of Andoni Zubizarreta, Iker Casillas, Raúl González and Xavi Hernández have already been honoured by Uefa, and players from a total of 37 countries will be awarded a commemorative cap.

Vitālijs Astafjevs is the highest capped player in European history, having represented Latvia on 167 occasions between 1992 and 2010, yet the all-time list is dominated by players outside of this continent.

Top of the pile in terms of international appearance makers is Ahmed Hassan of Egypt, who continues to go strong after over 16 years playing for his country.

In November of last year, Hassan surpassed the previous recored of 178 caps held by Mohamed Al-Deayea of Saudi Arabia, and has since progressed to 181 appearances, the last of which was achieved in March.

Hassan's hunger and determination over such an extended time has been admirable, while he also still retains immense talent, given that he continues to warrant selection aged 37.

Although Hassan can boast to have made more appearances than any other player on the international stage, his career at the top has not been the longest in terms of duration.

That honour belongs Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings, who featured for his country in three separate decades - making 119 appearances in a time span of 22 years and 58 days.

Jennings has already received his special honour from Uefa, and remains the only player from Northern Ireland to have been anointed a centurion.

Uefa can only claim to have two players in the top ten most frequent international appearance makers, with Estonian Martin Reim joining Astafjevs, clocking in at ten caps fewer than the Latvian.

In terms of established European nations, Germany boasts the highest entrant, with Lothar Matthaus having made the 11th most international appearances in the history of the game.

Matthaus made his debut for West Germany in June 1980, before ending his career 20 years and six days later under his country's unified flag, and represented his country 150 times.

The former Bayern Munich midfielder is one of seven Germans to have reached 100 caps, although this is some five players behind the most prolific nation in the record books.

Somewhat surprisingly, the USA have produced 12 players to have reached a century during their respective international careers, with Coby Jones having played more than any of his compatriots - 164 times.

The USA have an illustrious history when it comes to international appearance makers, and can also boast ten of the most decorated female players in history.

Kristine Lilly holds the individual record and, when she retired from representing the USA in 2010, she had clocked up a quite remarkable 352 appearances for her country, spanning three decades.

Lilly's record is surely one that will never be surpassed, and she remains the only player ever to have achieved a triple-century of international appearances.

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