Greatest team to never win the World Cup?

KeanoMagicHat

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Hungary in 1954 easily, won the Olympics, hadn’t lost a game in years, thrashed everyone. Then a fluke and a lot of unforeseen circumstances worked against them in the final (drugged up Germans, Puskas injured, bad refereeing decisions). Shame. Then because of politics that same team never really got the same chance again.
 

Doracle

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Surely the England 2006 team (rather than 2002) is an option:

Robinson

Neville
Ferdinand
Terry
Cole

Hargreaves
Carrick

Beckham
Gerrard
Cole J

Rooney

Res including Campbell, Lampard, Owen

No player there over the age of 31 at the time. Obviously, I’ve assumed a more inventive manager than Sven. Only Robinson wouldn’t have been regarded as absolutely world class in his position. Could also add a 31 year old Scholes to the mix as well if we were being really inventive.
 

Doracle

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But Hungary 54, Netherlands 74/78 and Brazil 82 probably the best three calls.
 

KeanoMagicHat

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Surely the England 2006 team (rather than 2002) is an option:

Robinson

Neville
Ferdinand
Terry
Cole

Hargreaves
Carrick

Beckham
Gerrard
Cole J

Rooney

Res including Campbell, Lampard, Owen

No player there over the age of 31 at the time. Obviously, I’ve assumed a more inventive manager than Sven. Only Robinson wouldn’t have been regarded as absolutely world class in his position. Could also add a 31 year old Scholes to the mix as well if we were being really inventive.
Hargreaves and Carrick wouldn’t have been considered a strong midfield going into that tournament and was it as good as Makelele Vieira and Pirlo Gattuso in the engine room? The other thing was the lack of pace from the wingers. Cole wasn’t that quick and by that point Beckham was very one paced. I don’t see that team as any better than the other top teams in that tournament.
 

dinostar77

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The genral consenus on most sites when googling is brasil 82. Before my time.
 

Gio

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Another vote for Hungary in 1954. Decent case for being the greatest international team of all time, never mind the best not to win it.
 

lefty_jakobz

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I don't think you were... they scored first!
We still scored

Plus we scored 2 goals they scored 1, ok 1 was an own goal that went against is but still, it could have been Scotland in the final had we just won as many games as Brazil. We would have beaten France easily in the final.
 
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harms

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Hungary 54
Netherlands 74
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Brazil 82
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France 82, Brazil 98... maybe England 70, Italy 90 (that backline!) etc.

An interesting one is Brazil 1950 — Ademir & Zizinho completely dominated that tournament, the latter was probably the best player in the world at the time, Ademir became top scorer with 9 goals, beat Yugoslavia with Bobek & Čajkovski in the first group, trashed Sweden (Olympic Gold winners) 7:1 & Spain 6:1... only to shat the bed at Maracana. And it wasn't even that bad, objectively, they've only lost 2:1 in a close game, but still.

Obviously with little to no footage (even compared to the Hungary 1954) & the gargantuan scale of the final disappointment (even compared to 1982, 2006 & 2014), it's not too surprising that they've more or less faded into obscurity in public's perception.
 

dinostar77

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Hungary 54
Netherlands 74
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Brazil 82
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France 82, Brazil 98... maybe England 70, Italy 90 (that backline!) etc.

An interesting one is Brazil 1950 — Ademir & Zizinho completely dominated that tournament, the latter was probably the best player in the world at the time, Ademir became top scorer with 9 goals, beat Yugoslavia with Bobek & Čajkovski in the first group, trashed Sweden (Olympic Gold winners) 7:1 & Spain 6:1... only to shat the bed at Maracana. And it wasn't even that bad, objectively, they've only lost 2:1 in a close game, but still.

Obviously with little to no footage (even compared to the Hungary 1954) & the gargantuan scale of the final disappointment (even compared to 1982, 2006 & 2014), it's not too surprising that they've more or less faded into obscurity in public's perception.
The lack of footage is a shame.
 

Raven

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England 02 has to be in there. Quality right through the team and it was a tournament they should’ve won. There wasn’t a really other great side in it. That was England’s best chance in my opinion amd they blew it.
Brazil were clearly better.
 

Stookie

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Brazil were clearly better.
Well, you can say that about any team that got knocked out in this thread. Team X were clearly better becasue they knocked out said team. Which makes the whole thread pointless. Personally I think England had the best team at that World Cup man for man first 11. But yeah they lost to Brazil who were for the taking. Self belief plays a massive part and I think England lack it most of the time. Which then comes down to management. SVG wasted Englands best team- certainly in my lifetime. Just my opinion though, and you know what they say about opinions.
 

Steffa Barnesa

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Well, you can say that about any team that got knocked out in this thread. Team X were clearly better becasue they knocked out said team. Which makes the whole thread pointless. Personally I think England had the best team at that World Cup man for man first 11. But yeah they lost to Brazil who were for the taking. Self belief plays a massive part and I think England lack it most of the time. Which then comes down to management. SVG wasted Englands best team- certainly in my lifetime. Just my opinion though, and you know what they say about opinions.
I agree to an extent. It's a shame that generation is considered a bit of a punchline because of the golden generation tag, but they were unfortuante in 2002 to draw Brazil in the quarters (after beating eventual runner-ups Germany 5-1 away in the qualifiers). In 1990 it was Cameroon in the QF, in 2018 a Swedish team that's probably the most average side I've seen in a World Cup QF, wheras in '02 they drew Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronalindinho, Cafu and Roberto Carlos in searing afternoon heat of Japan.

Argentina were pre-tournament favourites and England outplayed them for large parts, with Scholes controlling the game (until the final 20 mins or so when they were hanging on, which was typical of England at the time). While I'm not sure they would've beaten Brazil, that QF was still only won by that preventable Ronaldinho free kick (plus the first goal was given away a little cheaply), and I consider that team very very unlucky not to be finalists, if perhaps not one of the best teams never to win the tournament. Italia '90 was before my time, so that 2002 team will always be my personal near miss for England. I think they're at least equal to the 1990 and 2018 squads man for man, and surely had the wrong man leading them. It's also a little bit of a shame Shearer was in international retirement.
 
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Gio

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I agree to an extent. It's a shame that generation is considered a bit of a punchline because of the golden generation tag, but they were unfortuante in 2002 to draw Brazil in the quarters (after beating eventual runner-ups Germany 5-1 away in the qualifiers). In 1990 it was Cameroon in the QF, in 2018 a Swedish team that's probably the most average side I've seen in a World Cup QF, wheras in '02 they drew Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronalindinho, Cafu and Roberto Carlos in searing afternoon heat of Japan.

Argentina were pre-tournament favourites and England outplayed them for large parts, with Scholes controlling the game (until the final 20 mins or so when they were hanging on, which was typical of England at the time). While I'm not sure they would've beaten Brazil, that QF was still only won by that preventable Ronaldinho free kick (plus the first goal was given away a little cheaply), and I consider that team very very unlucky not to be finalists, if perhaps not one of the best teams never to win the tournament. Italia '90 was before my time, so that 2002 team will always be my personal near miss for England. I think they're at least equal to the 1990 and 2018 squads man for man, and surely had the wrong man leading them. It's also a little bit of a shame Shearer was in international retirement.
I thought that England lost a step when Gerrard got injured and missed the tournament. His partnership with Scholes in central midfield looked spot on against Germany in the play-off. I don't know if Ronaldinho cuts the spine of the team so open for Rivaldo's goal with Gerrard there. But had England won their group, their run to the semi would have been Senegal and Turkey, which would kept the dream alive longer.
 

Steffa Barnesa

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I thought that England lost a step when Gerrard got injured and missed the tournament. His partnership with Scholes in central midfield looked spot on against Germany in the play-off. I don't know if Ronaldinho cuts the spine of the team so open for Rivaldo's goal with Gerrard there. But had England won their group, their run to the semi would have been Senegal and Turkey, which would kept the dream alive longer.
Could be, but Nicky Butt did attract some attention (notably from Pele) for doing a good job as defensive midfield. Was Gerrard disciplined enough to do a job there all tournament? Dunno, but him and Gary Neville were missed. Plus Hargreaves was on the bench, but it wasn't until the 2006 World Cup when we he established himself as a valuable first team player, perhaps he could have helped against Brazil. And you're right about winning the group, plus I was always jealous we finished ahead of Germany in qualifying but their run to the final was Paraguay - USA - South Korea. Most of the big teams fell away, this was such a great chance to get to the final. Ifs, Butts, and maybes!
 

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Could be, but Nicky Butt did attract some attention (notably from Pele) for doing a good job as defensive midfield. Was Gerrard disciplined enough to do a job there all tournament? Dunno, but him and Gary Neville were missed. Plus Hargreaves was on the bench, but it wasn't until the 2006 World Cup when we he established himself as a valuable first team player, perhaps he could have helped against Brazil. And you're right about winning the group, plus I was always jealous we finished ahead of Germany in qualifying but their run to the final was Paraguay - USA - South Korea. Most of the big teams fell away, this was such a great chance to get to the final. Ifs, Butts, and maybes!
Yeah, Butt had a good tournament. That said I suppose you lose the passing range and the dynamism that Gerrard brought from that role. And they seemed unable to put any pressure on the Brazilians despite having an extra man.

BBC's player ratings for the game:
Nicky Butt
Solid defensive shield. But - unlike in previous matches - made few telling passes going forward.


I mean, I don't think any of Beckham, Scholes or Butt cover themselves in glory here. But, in fairness, sometimes you just have to put your hands up and concede that there is little/nothing you can do about sheer quality. I think that Brazil just had that extra gear on everybody in 2002.
 

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It surley has to be Holland in 74 and 78? Brazil in 82 and Croatia in 98 despite doing one better in 18. France in 06 as well if it wasnt for that grease ball Materazzi
 

MrMarcello

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Germany had 61% possession with 9 corners and 14 shots but were quite wasteful overall. I don't think a Gerrard-Scholes combo is stopping Brazilian attacks.
 

Big Ben Foster

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Brazil 1982 comes to mind, but they were so insanely shit up front, which counts against them.
 

The Brown Bull

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Brazil 1982 comes to mind, but they were so insanely shit up front, which counts against them.
No. They were actually brilliant attacking but they didn’t have a center forward. Their weakness was their defence. Great footballers but apt to lose concentration .
Without doubt they were the best team not to win the tournament since I started watching ( 1970)
Followed by Holland 1974.
 

Zico1982

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Hungary 1954, Netherlands 1974 and Brazil 1982. I 'd pick Brazil with Zico, Socrates & Falcao anyday.

I loved the danish 1986 Team as well.
 

Josh 76

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Hungary 1954, Netherlands 1974 and Brazil 1982. I 'd pick Brazil with Zico, Socrates & Falcao anyday.

I loved the danish 1986 Team as well.
That Danish team is a good shout. The Colombia 1994 team deserves a mention. Pele had tipped them to win it.
 

Red the Bear

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Brazil 1982
Hungary 1954
Holland 74
Italy 94
Brazil 1950
England 1970
 

SirReginald

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Hargreaves and Carrick wouldn’t have been considered a strong midfield going into that tournament and was it as good as Makelele Vieira and Pirlo Gattuso in the engine room? The other thing was the lack of pace from the wingers. Cole wasn’t that quick and by that point Beckham was very one paced. I don’t see that team as any better than the other top teams in that tournament.
Carrick was just a squad player in 2006. I wouldn’t say he was international starting quality at least not until 2008? Heck you guys even bought Hargreaves based on his 2006 form for England who played in a similar position to Carrick. Our defense and CMs were strong but definitely forwards and wingers were heavily lacking at the time… quite the opposite these days.
 

PepG

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Well to be honest you have a point Im just sorry about Zidane. I just loved watching him play. In truth I really dont care about France or Italy that mutch. Zizu was just magic
This. France in 2006 was not a strong team but inspired and leaded by one of the all-time Greats of this sport in his final appearence at the big stage. It was surreal performance from Zizou and i am still mad it ended the way it did..
 

Steffa Barnesa

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This. France in 2006 was not a strong team but inspired and leaded by one of the all-time Greats of this sport in his final appearence at the big stage. It was surreal performance from Zizou and i am still mad it ended the way it did..
I know that feeling. It was so great watching him come to life in the knockout stage, and that perofrmance against Brazil one of my absolute favourite things in football ever. At least he got a kind of hurrah by putting in some great performances and not going out with a whimper.
 

Demyanenko_square_jaw

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This. France in 2006 was not a strong team but inspired and leaded by one of the all-time Greats of this sport in his final appearence at the big stage. It was surreal performance from Zizou and i am still mad it ended the way it did..
They absolutely were strong. Started the tournament in bad form - zidane among the worst in the group stage - and could have been better managed, but had plenty of quality and were highly athletic, with a setup and first 11 very well suited to cover for the older Zidane's weaknesses. As much as i enjoyed his performances, he'd not have gone far in a genuinely weak/average side.
 
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