It’s that time again, already the world gathers around their television sets either at home, at a local bar, in a public square and holds their collective breath as their national team takes to the pitch against the world’s greatest football teams.
Yes, it’s the World Cup, this year held throughout Russia – and the hosts got off to a great start by winning the opener 5-0 over Saudi Arabia; users of this website could’ve made some sweet coin had they known it’d be such a blowout in that one.
The 2018 World Cup marks the twentieth time the tournament has been held, in seventeen countries on five continents. In all we’ve seen eight countries win football’s top national prize, most of them claiming more than one title. We could talk championship teams all we want but it begs one question over than all… which of those teams were the best? Well, let’s take a look at arguably the five best World Cup squads of all-time.
In no particular order:
Italy (1982): Based on how the Italians played in the group stage, you’d think we were crazy to include them in the best all-time list, going winless but managing three draws to advance. It was once they moved on to the second round that the team caught lightning in a bottle, beating both South American powerhouses in Brazil and Argentina. Paolo Rossi led them all throughout the tournament with six goals, including a hat-trick against the Brazilians, to clinch the first World Cup title for Italy since the Second World War.
France (1998): A contrast to the ’82 Italy squad, the French side in 1998 didn’t lose a single game the entire tournament, outscoring their opponents 15-2 throughout their seven games and then topping Brazil 3-0 to win the World Cup in what would tie the record for the most one-sided championship game in World Cup history. The French side were able to win their only World Cup title in the only tournament the country has hosted, talk about timing it right.
Brazil (1970): A perennial favourite, seemingly for as long as the game has existed, the South American nation had already won a couple of titles and would go on to win two more following the ’70 tournament. But it’s that 1970 team to win Brazil’s third of five World Cups that fans and commentators alike widely consider to be the best. Throughout the 1970 tournament the Brazilians won six games, outscoring opponents 19-7 with a lineup that included Pele and Jairzinho.
West Germany (1974): Using the revolutionary Dutch technique known as Total Football, the Germans dominated the 1974 World Cup tournament. West Germany was a talented group in their own right and featured strong defence with Franz Beckenbauer and goalkeeper Sepp Maier, one of the greatest football goaltenders of all time. Gerd Mueller up front scored four goals, including the World Cup winner.
Brazil (2002): The second Brazilian entry onto our top five, they’re also the only Brazilian team to win seven games in one World Cup tournament. Brazil sailed straight to the title in 2002 without even breaking a sweat, outscoring their opponents 18-4, and shutting out all by one of their opponents throughout the knockout round. Ronaldo was at his peak scoring eight while teammate Rivaldo tallied five en route to a World Cup Championship.