Sunday, July 01, 2012

Congratulations to Espana...greatest team of all time

Well that was anticlimactic...for a team that was "boring" yes I called them that! A team with no true striker. A team that seemed content with a 1-0 lead....that was an ass-whooping. It was so bad that I stopped watching at half time...but kudos to the Spanish for winning 4-0 against Italy. Also credit to the Azzurri who came out and tried to impose their will on Spain, only to be overrun. Maybe Blanc was right in starting the team he did in the 1/4 finals!

I will spend time going over the game, especially since I didn't watch half of it! I will say the second goal was a thing of beauty. Watching your left back start the move and make a full sprint from the half way line, latch onto a caviar of a pass from Xavi and then a clinic finish that would make any striker proud was nothing short of jaw dropping.

So the real question now becomes where does this collection fit in the all time greatest national teams? I have to say....grudgingly....at the top. Here are my top five international teams of all time:

Beckenbauer doing Kung Fu dancing..
  1. 2008 - 2012 Spain. European Cup - World Cup - European Cup...nuff said. Granted it is a little difficult for Brazil or Argentina to win the Euros, but you get the point. Scary thing is the core of this team will most likely be in Brazil in 2 years.
  2. 1962 - 1970 Brazil. Two World Cup titles. Some would argue that they could have and should have done better in the 1966 edition where the officials allowed teams to hack the living day lights out of Pele. I realize the generations are different but watch those Brazil teams and you see the dominance in terms of ball possession and attacks coming from any position, similar to La Roja.
  3. 1972 - 1976 West Germany. They reached 3 straight major tournament finals. Winning the 1972 Euros, the 1974 World Cup but falling short in a shoot out loss to Czechoslovakia in the 1976 Euro Finals (made famous by a certain Panenka). Those German teams had the likes of Beckenbauer, Muller and Maier to lean on. That same team reached the 1/2 finals of the 1970 World Cup where they lost to Italy in what is deemed the greatest World Cup game of all time.
  4. 1996 - 2000 France. Les Bleus also made an attempt at winning three straight titles, but unlike Spain and West Germany, fell horribly short. Failing to get out of the group stages at the 2002 World Cup....what could have been had Zidane been healthy or Lemerre realized what he had in Micoud...anyways I digress. France won the World Cup in 1998 and then followed it up with a European title in 2000. Let's not forget that team reached the Euro 1/2 finals in 1996 losing to the Czech Republic in PKs.
  5. The Flying Magyar!
  6.  1952 - 1954 Hungary. The only team that didn't win a trophy let alone multiple ones....but the Flying Magyars were a great team. They recorded a run of 49 games without tasting defeat. They won a gold medal (at that time the gold medal in soccer was on par if not more important than the world cup). They demolished England twice, a team that was seem as the standard bearer of world football. The team had one of the greatest players of all time in Puskas. The fact they did not win a World Cup title is criminal, once again some dodgy officiating in the finals against West Germany cost them a title!
There are some teams that might have made the list had they had greater longevity in terms of success (or just one victory in a final!) - 1988 Holland, 1986 Argentina, 1982 Italy, 1950 Uruguay, 1984 France, 1974 - 1978 Holland....

Spain sits atop this list, and in order to knock them off it is going to take something special. Viva Espana.

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