10 Greatest Ever National Football Teams

What were the best world cup teams to ever grace a football pitch?  

It's world cup year, and we love nothing more than doing a top 10 list.  his time we look back through the world cups and put together the top 10 list of world cup teams.  Some of the choices may just surprise you...

10 France 1982 - 1986

The world star of the 80s, Michel Platini, helped France to a semi-final appearance at the World Cup in 1982, and then two years later dominated Europe with an astonishing nine goals in five games as France clinched the European Championship as hosts in 1984.  Les Bleus also reached the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup.  But for all Platini's talent, we must not forget this French team was strong from back to front.

9  Brazil 2002

Many will argue this inclusion on the list, but we don't think the Brazil team of 2002 gets enough recognition for their achievement.  After almost failing to qualify for the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea,  Brazil got their act together when it counted most, with one of the most potent modern day attacks in Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.  The three of them ended up with six World Player Of The Year awards between them.

8 Netherlands 1974-1978

Successive World Cup final defeats could mark this team out as failures, but instead the focus should be on the quality of their play. Inspired by the great John Cruyff, this was the team that created 'total football' - a system whereby every player could play attacking football from anywhere on the pitch.  Unluckily for this Dutch generation that both world cups were hosted by strong nations in West Germany and Argentina.  Unfortunately, they couldn't win trophies, losing in the finals of both the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, as well as finishing third in Euro ’76.


7 Italy 1934-1938

Italy won the first two World Cups they entered (1934 and 1938) under the guidance of revolutionary tactician Vittorio Pozzo - still the only coach to have won two World Cups. Italy beat Czechoslovakia 2-1 in extra-time to win the 1934 World Cup in their own country, before following that up by beating a powerful Hungary team 4-2 in the final in Paris four years later.  As a tight unit, this was possibly the greatest team of them all.

6 France 1998 - 2000

As hosts of the 1998 world cup, France were not tipped by many to actually win the thing - but they did, and they did it in style by crushing Brazil 3-0 in the final. The likes of Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps, and a young Thierry Henry formed a team which said a lot about the changing makeup of society in France at the time, and the nation united behind them.  Zinedine Zidane really came into his own over the next few years, and by Euro 2000, this genius helped this French team become unstoppable.

5 West Germany 1970-1976

West Germany never failed to reach a semi-final in the four major tournaments between 1970 and 1976, winning both the European Championship in 1972 and then their own World Cup two years later. Franz Beckenbauer created the 'sweeper' role, whilst Gerd Muller always seemed to be on hand to plunder the goals that his team needed.  This powerhouse of a team was perfectly balanced throughout, making them one of the most difficult teams to beat in world cup history.

4  Spain 2008-2012

After years of underachieving, Spain finally started getting their act together in the mid-2000s, and it came to fruition in glorious fashion by 2008. Displaying a possession-based brand of football that would come to be known as "tiki-taka", the Spanish were experts in controlling a game, ensuring that their opponents barely had the ball and were unable to hurt them. Successive wins at Euro 2008, the 2010 world cup, and at Euro 2012, saw this Spanish side as the most successful in European history.

3 Hungary 1950-1956

Know as the Magical Magyars, and inspired by stars such as Ferenc Puskas, the Hungarians stunned the football world with a 6-3 win over England at Wembley in 1953, before a 7-1 victory over the same opponents in Budapest a year later. They were fancied by many to win the World Cup in 1954, and in all honesty they should have lifted the trophy that year, but after going 2-0 up in the final against West Germany in Bern, they collapsed and saw their opponents win 3-2. It was Hungary's only defeat in 50 matches between 1950 and 1956.

2 Brazil - 1958-1962

With the 17 year old Pele firing them to victory at the 1958 world cup, Brazil then retained the trophy by winning it again four years later, with stellar performances from the player of the tournament, Garrincha.  Had it not been for the extraordinary year of 1970, we'd surely be talking about this Brazlian team as the greatest there has ever been.


1 Brazil 1970 

Other teams have had periods of success which lasted years, but none dominated a tournament in the manner that Brazil did the 1970 World Cup.  How appropriate that the Brazilians were entertaining the world in glorious technicolour - the first world cup with colour TV.  Pele was already established as the best player in the world, and Jairzinho, who scored in every single match at the tournament, was another player who would help shape the future of Brazilian football. Carlos Alberto's goal in their 4-1 final victory over Italy set the blueprint for everything we know about Brazilian football - it was certainly the best team goal ever scored at a world cup, and how fitting it should be scored by this magnificent team.

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