Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Top 5: Best Players to have never won the World Cup.

Michel Platini (in white Fance kit) in his playing days

Michel Platini (in white France kit) in his playing days

The debate surrounding who between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is the best in the world could skyrocket if one of them wins the World Cup in Brazil. As of yet though, none of them has yet to put in decisive performances at a World Cup to elevate them to the level of Pele or Diego Maradona.

Likewise, if none of Argentina or Portugal wins the World Cup, the status quo will remain. Two incredibly talented footballers who have so defined Read the rest of this entry

The Top 5: An Introduction

Fabio Cannavaro displays the World Cup Trophy

Fabio Cannavaro displays the World Cup Trophy

Jules Rimet would probably have never imagined that for the best part of 84 years after his initiative, the world would be hypnotised by what would eventually become his lasting legacy.

President of FIFA between 1921 and 1954, it was under his leadership that a professional competition to determine who the world’s best international football team was first instigated. It culminated with a first competition in 1930, with hosts Uruguay lifting the inaugural World Cup in Montevideo — defeating Argentina 4-2 in the final.

Since then, the World Cup has evolved and revolved. The trophy itself has changed and has been rotated around nine nations. Its hosting has taken it to new frontiers. Tactical innovations have been confirmed at it, while rule changes have also been adapted at it.

Through it all, there have been many records, many memorable moments and magnificent anecdotes. The tournament is about much more than just who wins and who loses. Its expansion has ensured that it retains some exoticness, while still managing to provide quality football.

It is why this column will attempt to quantify such proceedings.

From a huge amount of happenings within the 19 previous tournaments, we will attempt to come up with a top 5 list of some of the World Cup’s greatest monuments. For example, who were the top 5 greatest Golden Boot winners? Which of the World Cup’s greatest upsets rank amongst the top 5? Of all the winners, which teams were ultimately the best 5 of the lot? Of the teams that never won, which ones can make it into a top 5?

These questions, and more, we hope to answer in the coming weeks. We also know that such an attempt is fatally inconclusive — and any suggestions that may add to the same will kindly be appreciated.

As such, this is a journey we hope will take you through all the way to this year’s tournament commencement date on the 12th of June. We only hope that this journey can be half as great as the one the World Cup began all those years ago. For that, we are forever grateful to the imaginative action of Jules Rimet.

[image courtesy of zimbio]

Is Universality the Newest Tactical Trend in Football? Part II

Carlos Bilardo alongside Diego Maradona at the 1986 World Cup

Carlos Bilardo alongside Diego Maradona at the 1986 World Cup

It was Carlos Bilardo whom probably exudes the best definition of universality among football players. The 1986 World Cup winning Argentine manager gave this definition while conducting a coaching seminar. What he told the managers has been captured brilliantly in Chris Taylor’s wonderful book, The Beautiful Game: A Journey through Latin America Football, in which Bilardo says:

“For me, football will get better and better. But I also know that it will make more and more demands. I even believe that the difference between defenders and attackers will disappear. I see the teams of the twenty first century made up of a goalkeeper and ten players. Without fixed positions. Without specialists. Each one of them knowing everything.”

The famous Ajax academy seems to have been producing such Read the rest of this entry

Is Universality the Newest Tactical Trend in Football? Part I

Carlos Alberto Perreira's bold prophecy of football moving towards universality may be coming true.

Carlos Alberto Perreira’s bold prophecy of football moving towards universality may be coming true.

Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. The words of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. hold true when it comes to football’s ever evolutionary tactics.

It was Carlos Alberto Perreira whom once predicted that football tactics were evolving into a state where there would merely be four defenders and six creative players allowed to Read the rest of this entry

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