The World Cup has been held every four years since 1930, when the host Uruguay lifted the first trophy in a 13-team tournament. The Cup has since included 32 teams in every tournament and is the highest achievement any player or team can achieve. Here are three teams that emphatically reached the pinnacle of the international game.
English newspaper The Independent called this team Spain 2010’s opponent for best team of all time. While Spain still can prove even better in the current decade, Brazil’s 1970 World Cup squad gives them some tough opposition.
Brazil’s team featured the sport’s most popular icon Pele as well as Carlos Alberto, who assisted the former to the winning goal in the 1970 World Cup. Another big name in Rivelino supplemented Pele, Alberto, and Jairzinho. Jairzinho scored in every one of Brazil’s games in 1970, the only player to ever score in every World Cup game for his respective team (The Independent). This team may not have been so much a dynasty as Spain 2010 but dominated the 1970 World Cup in a fashion that even modern-day Spain has not yet replicated.
Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta make up the midfield of this team that has dominated the 2000’s. Having won the 2008 Euro final over Germany, the 2010 World Cup over Holland, and the 2012 Euros over Italy, Spain became the first team ever to win 3 consecutive major tournaments.
Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque put together a sensational team in Euro 2012 that made a struggling striker in Fernando Torres the Golden Boot winner (leading scorer) at the competition. Because of Spain’s slow, methodical, yet tiring and frustrating-to-defend style Del Bosque has made Spain one of the most hailed teams in all of international soccer history (The Independent).
(Pictured: Johann Cruyff)
Unlike the Spanish, Holland’s accomplishment cannot be measured in trophies, but their performances at World Cups in the 1970’s were just as excellent.
Soccer as we know it today would not be the same without Johann Cruyff and Rinus Michel’s total football (Left Wing). The philosophy began with coach Rinus Michels and his Ajax team (Ajax Amsterdam is a very successful club from the Netherlands). Cruyff, a legendary Dutch attacking midfielder, played on that team and made total football a success. Michels would then coach the Holland national team in the 70’s (Left Wing). Total football’s tactic consisted of shifting players into different positions and moving the other team into different spaces to get as many shots on goal as possible. Total football is used by several elite clubs in the world today including Barcelona, Spain, and Bayern Munich.
After making it to the final in 1974 and 1978 Holland lost to West Germany and Argentina respectively, but their contribution to soccer as it is currently played is one of the most revolutionary approaches to the game in its history (Holland).
- Holland Tourism (2010) Dutch national team’s World Cup history. Tourism in Holland. Retrieved from: http://www.holland.com/us/tourism/article/dutch-national-teams-world-cup-history.htm
- Left Wing Soccer (2011, December 31) Bio: Rinus Michels. Left Wing Soccer. Retrieved from: http://leftwingsoccer.com/bio-rinus-michels/
- Sportsmail Reporter (2012, June 28) Euro 2012: Spain could be first team to win three consecutive major tournaments. The Daily Mail. Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/euro2012/article-2165905/Euro-2012-Spain-win-major-international-tournaments-running.html
- Pitt-Brooke, J. (2012, July 3) The greatest team of all time: Brazil 1970 vs. Spain 2010. The Independent. Retrieved from: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/the-greatest-team-of-all-time-brazil-1970-v-spain-2012-7905980.html