Top 5 national teams that won nothing
While some national sides have managed to win numerous trophies in a short span of time with a decent squad, there have been some outstanding national teams that have not lifted a silverware in spite of their overwhelming caliber on paper. This article lists the top 5 teams in the latter category.
5) England (2004): England have had some fine sides to have missed out on any trophy in spite of possessing the capability to win one on numerous occasions. But none can beat their 2004 squad that competed in the Euro Cup. David James and Paul Robinson guarded the sticks, while Gary Neville, Ashley Cole, and Phil Neville were worthy of fullback options. John Terry led the backline along with Sol Campbell, Ledley King, Wayne Bridge, and Jamie Carragher. Stalwarts Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, and Paul Scholes handled the midfield area backed up by Nicky Butt, Owen Hargreaves, Joe Cole, and Kieron Dyer. Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, and Emile Heskey were as good as anything England could have hoped for upfront. But the team could not even top their group having lost to France and bowed out in the quarter-finals losing to Portugal in penalty shootouts.
4) Italy (1990): Italy is the second most successful team in the World Cup along with Germany with 4 wins. However, their 1990 squad was one of the best the tournament had ever seen but they failed to eventually clinch it. Between the sticks, Walter Zenga is one of the finest Italy has produced with Stefano Tacconi being considered as the best back up keeper in the world at that time. Giuseppe Bergomi, Franco Baresi, Luigi de Agostini, Ciro Ferrara, Riccardo Ferri, Paolo Maldini, and Pietro Vierchowod formed one of the greatest backlines ever seen in World Cup history. Carlo Ancelotti, Nicola Berti, Fernando de Napoli, Giuseppe Giannini, Giancarlo Marocchi, and Roberto Donadoni made the midfield utterly formidable while Roberto Baggio led the front line with Roberto Mancini, Aldo Serena, and Gianluca Vialli. Italy were the favorites to win the tournament on home soil but Argentina got the better of them in the semi-final in penalty shootouts.
3) Brazil (1982): Brazil is the most successful team in World Cup with 5 wins. But their 1982 squad has often been considered as one of the finest teams to never win the World Cup. Waldir Peres kept the goal, while Leandro, Oscar, Luizinho, Junior, Edevaldo, and Edinho formed a reliable backline. Toninho Cerezo, Paulo Isidoro, Falcao, and Dirceu might have made the midfield strong but it was the renowned pairing of Zico and Socrates which made the team so dangerous and effective. The prolific strikers Serginho and Eder led the charge upfront. But amidst all expectations and firepower, the team lost 3-2 to eventual winners Italy in the second group stage, after a hard-fought victory over a strong Argentina side.
2) Netherlands (1974): 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 marshalling 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. Decisive victories against Brazil and Argentina only boosted their morale but ultimately they were crushed by the host nation West Germany in the final.
1) Hungary (1954): The Hungary team of the 1950s stayed unbeaten for 4 years from 1950 to 1954 and their incredible run of supremacy came to an end only in the final of the 1954 World Cup against West Germany. Never again has a national team shown as much dominance for such a long timeframe without winning silverware. Gyula Grosics at the last line of defense was assisted by Jeno Buzanszky, Gyula Lorant, and Mihaly Lantos forming a dependable back 3. Jozsef Zakarias and Jozsef Bozsik formed the link between the defense and the front 5. The attacking sector stood far apart both in terms of quality and quantity with Sandor Kocsis, Nandor Hidegkuti, Ferenc Puskas, Zoltan Czibor, Laszlo Budai upfront, and Jozsef Toth and Peter Palotas at the bench. They thrashed South Korea 9-0 and West Germany 8-3 in the group stage, followed by comfortable victories against Brazil and Uruguay in the knockout rounds. Although Hungary took a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes with goals from Puskas and Czibor, West Germany performed a remarkable comeback to win their first-ever World Cup.