5 greatest national teams of all time (Part 1)

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) Italy (1934-1938): Italy have won the World Cup 4 times, second most after Brazil. But they have never enjoyed as much dominance in a particular timeframe as they did from 1934 to 1938. They won both the World Cups held in these two years in a format that saw no group stage. Michel Andreolo, Sergio Bertoni, Amedeo Biavati, Gino Colaussi, Giovanni Ferrari, Pietro Ferraris, Alfredo Foni, Ugo Locatelli, Giuseppe Meazza, Eraldo Monzeglio, Pietro Pasinati, Silvio Piola, Pietro Rava, Luigi Allemandi, Luigi Bertolini, Umberto Caligaris, Gianpiero Combi, Attilio Ferraris, Luis Monti, Raimundo Orsi and Angelo Schiavio were the most important players for the Azzurri.

4) Brazil (1970): A major section of football fans and analysts deem the 1970 squad of Brazil to be the best among World Cup-winning sides. Led by a former World Cup winner Mario Zagallo, Brazil gave the “Joga Bonito” or “Beautiful Game” style a new dimension with an effervescent mixture of aesthetic flair and tactical brilliance, which saw them defeat each and every opponent they faced. They finished the year with a 100% win record fielding a 4-3-3 formation. Felix between the sticks and Carlos Alberto, Piazza, Brito, and Everaldo at the back formed the backbone of this team. The midfield trio of Clodoaldo, Gerson, and Jairzinho and the forward line comprising of Tostao, Pele, and Rivelino fabricated magic on the pitch while simultaneously taking on opponents. After victories in the knockout stages against Peru and Uruguay, they concluded a perfect campaign with a 4-1 thrashing of Italy.

3) Spain (2008-2012): Spain had only won 1 Euro Cup and no World Cup at the start of 2008. Four years later, they had won 2 consecutive Euro Cups as well as a World Cup, starting the latter with a defeat. La Rojas was untouchable in this 4-year span and came close to winning another trophy in 2013 only to be decimated by Brazil at the final of the Confederations Cup. Under Luis Aragones and Vincente Del Bosque, Spain finally had a squad filled with not just balance on all sides but also the quality of topmost caliber. Engineering a “Tiki Taka” style of heavy possession play to full effect, Spain became a force to reckon with. Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina as keepers, Raul Albiol, Carlos Marchena, Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevila, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba at the back, Marcos Senna, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla, Xabi Alonso, David Silva, Juan Mata, Sergio Busquets at the middle of the park, David Villa, Fernando Torres, Pedro, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo leading the frontal charge comprised a dream team.

2) Hungary (1949-1956): 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 three. Jozsef Zakarias and Jozsef Bozsik formed the link between the defense and the front five. 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. The Mighty Magyars consisting of Puskas, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, Czibor, Bozsik, and Grosics formed the core of the team showing the earliest display of “Total Football” in the international arena.

1) Brazil (1958-1962): It would not be an overstatement to declare that the Brazil squad of the late 50s and early 60s is the greatest football team ever assembled. The 1970s squad might have mixed aesthetics with technical prowess but the squad which won 2 consecutive World Cups formed the bedrock of its success and dominance. Under Vicente Feola and Anymore Moreira, an incredibly strong team was formed which championed the principle of “Offence is the best form of defense” through a style that made laymen fall in love with this sport. Goalkeepers Carlos Jose Castilho and Gilmar, defenders Hilderaldo Bellini, Djalma Santos, Nilton Santos, Nilton de Sordi, and Mauro Ramos, midfielders Didi, Zozimo, and Zito, forwards Mario Zagallo, Pele, Garrincha, Joel Antonio Martins, Jose Altafini, Vava, Dida and Amarildo not only produced wonders on the pitch but did so without hampering the technical accuracies of the game. They remained unbeaten in the two World Cups, won 10 out of 12 games, and scored 30 goals.