5 greatest national teams of all time (Part 2)

Written By Writabrata



 Football over the years has seen the creation of some unbelievable teams by national sides over the years. While these teams have managed to stay at the forefront for around 5-6 years, they are remembered mainly because of their overwhelming success, the introduction of revolutionary football styles and tactics, and also for putting the limelight on some of the greatest players to grace the football pitch.

5) Argentina (1986-1990): The Argentina squad of the last 4 years of the 80s was more than a decent one with balance and depth all around. But the supreme reason it became world-beaters for a series of years was a man by the name of Diego Maradona, whose performance in the 1986 World Cup is unanimously considered as the greatest by a player in any World Cup campaign. Argentina reached the final of the 1990 edition, only to lose to a strong West Germany side but it was a display of concrete team-game brilliance from the Albiceleste. Jorge Valdano, Jorge Burruchaga, Jose Luis Brown, Oscar Ruggeri, Nery Pumpido, Ricardo Giusti, Sergio Batista, Hector Enrique, Julio Olarticoechea, Claudio Caniggia, Sergio Goycochea, Roberto Sensini were other vital players under Carlos Bilardo.

4) England (1946-1948): One might expect the World Cup-winning squad of England to be their strongest ever, but the English squad of the mid-1940s was something else. Frank Swift between the sticks, Neil Franklin, Billy Wright, Laurie Scott, George Hardwick, John Aston at the back, Henry Cockburn, Bobby Langton, Eddie Lowe, Phil Taylor in the middle, Tommy Lawton, Wilf Mannion, Raich Carter, Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews, Stan Mortensen, Jackie Milburn forming the forward line consisted of an extremely lethal side managed by Walter Winterbottom. They played 16 games, won 14, and lost just once, scoring a staggering 54 goals, including a 10-0 drubbing of Portugal. 

3) Brazil (1997-2007): A period which saw Brazil winning a World Cup, 2 Confederations Cups, 4 Copa Americas as well as coming runner up in World Cup and Confederations Cup once each, witnessed a team whose reserve bench was stronger than the starting XI of most sides. Mario Zagallo, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlos Alberto Parreira, and Dunga – all have managed the team whose real strength was the individual prowess of players all around the pitch combining it with a staggering display of teamwork. Dida, Rogerio Ceni, Cafu, Dunga, Roberto Carlos, Bebeto, Leonardo, Ronaldo, Romario, Ze Roberto, Rivaldo, Denilson, Claudio Taffarel, Aldair, Mauro Silva, Emerson, Ronaldinho, Julio Cesar, Luisao, Juan, Adriano, Luis Fabiano, Maicon, Lucio, Robinho, Kaka, Gilberto Silva, Juninho, Marcos, Elano all helped to establish the Samba empire that struck fear into the minds of opponents.

2) Netherlands (1974-1978): Under the tactical genius Rinus Michels, Netherlands revolutionized the “Total football” philosophy which took the footballing world by storm. Jan Jongbloed as the goalkeeper, Rinus Israel, Wim Jansen, Ruud Krol, Wim Suurbier and Wim Rijsbergen handling the defense, Arie Haan, Willem van Hanegem, Rene van de Kerkhof, Willy van de Kerkhof, Johan Neeskens and Johan Cruyff marshaling the midfield formed a team whose playing style, versatility, tactics, and impact was unlike what the game had seen before. The forward line of Piet Keizer, Rob Rensenbrink, and Johnny Rep was just the icing on the cake. They reached two consecutive World Cup finals but lost to West Germany and Argentina respectively.

1) Uruguay (1923-1930): Brazil and Argentina might be the two most successful teams from Latin America, but in the 20s they were nowhere near the magnificence of Uruguay. They won the Copa America thrice and came second once apart from winning the maiden World Cup. They also won the Gold medal in Olympics twice in a row, displaying the earliest instances of the Latin American style of free-flowing football with the ingenuity of tactics. Jose Leandro Andrade was the best player in this timeframe not just of Uruguay but of the world and he was joined by Jose Nasazzi, Hector Scarone, Pedro Petrone, Pedro Cea, Hector Castro, Enrique Ballastrero, Juan Peregrino Anselmo, Santos Iriarte, Lorenzo Fernandez and Angel Romano forming a team which won 30 out of 51 games.