Category Archives: Series

The Top 5: World Cup Winning Captains

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Sir Bobby Moore at England’s highest moment

The lofty magical heights of 1970 had seemed an eternal distance away. Yet, it was 24 years later that Brazil managed to win the World Cup again.

At the World Cup in USA however, Brazil were far from the fluid, sublime, artistic magicians who had touched the sky at the Azteca. In fact, even the team that had not won the World Cup in 1982 had carried with it more flair. Instead, it was the hard grit and determination of a Brazilian side, organised to defend while letting the attacking lights of Bebeto and Romario shine that clinched the World Cup on that sunny day in Carlifonia.

Still, that the final was decided by penalty shootouts means that it in effect ranks as Brazil’s worst ever Read the rest of this entry

The Top 5: World Cup Upsets

Italy's captain dejected after Italy is knocked out in the Group Stages of the 2010 World Cup

Italy’s captain dejected after Italy is knocked out in the Group Stages of the 2010 World Cup

Scripts are written to be followed. But once in a while, someone comes along and tears up the screenplay and does whatever he wants. The unexpected becomes the surprise which many speak of for years on end.

It could be how David defeated Goliath with that one swing that landed a pebble into the giant’s Read the rest of this entry

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]

Great International Teams that Never Won: Yugoslavia 1960-1968

Yugoslav goalkeeper Blagoje Vidinic attempts to save the ball during the 1960 European Championship final

Yugoslav goalkeeper Blagoje Vidinic attempts to save the ball during the 1960 European Championship final

Predominantly isolated from the rest of the world due to political circumstances after the Second World War, it was rare for an Eastern-European nation to dominate world football. As such, it formed the controversy that surrounded the football tournament at the Olympic Games.

Whereas the Olympic community called for amateur footballers at the Games, Eastern Europe’s sly definition led to professionals competing at the Games. Thus between 1952 and 1980, only Eastern European nations won Olympic Gold at the football tournament.

While this did not reflect on their position on the international scene, it did Read the rest of this entry

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