Il Fenomeno Draft - R1 - EAP vs 2mufc0/theon

With players at their career peak, who would win? Edit


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Šjor Bepo

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vs



Team EAP

Formation: Lopsided 4-4-2 inspired by Grande Inter formation (not a replica)

Tactics:

Defensive Phase:

Gordon Banks is one of the best GKs of all time mans the goal. Consistent and impressive all through his illustrious career, he's one of the GOATs.
A solid back line.
- Brehme will provide width for his flank while Thuram will be a bit conservative (not tucked in) but will venture enough to support Jinky when we have the ball.
- Complete CBs in Maldini and Shesternyov and versatile ball players who can squeeze in depending on ball flank is in. Good in air, excellent timing and positional sense, perfect!
Dunga is a classy DM with ability to dictate the game from the deep that is very underrated. He's primarily shield the defence and use his passing ability to spring a counter.
Masopust is box-to-box halfback with good workrate and will track back when opponents have the ball.

Attacking Phase:

A dynamic and fluid attack with multiple avenues to bring the ball forward into dangerous positions:
  • Brehme's crossing
  • Jinky's dribbling
  • Masopust's slalom runs and vertical passing.
  • Enzo's creativity, vision, passing and eye for goal.
  • Raul's drifting between lines and natural left foot.
  • Elkjaer's all action style to score and create for others.

Players who can work as a unit to score and create for others. Good workrate to put a shift in, creative all through making it difficult to defend against.

Peak:

Gordon Banks: 1966-69
  • FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year: 1967, 1968, 1969
Andreas Brehme: 1989-91
  • Ballon d'Or – Third place: 1990
  • Guerin d'Oro (Serie A Footballer of the Year): 1989
  • Pirata d'Oro (Internazionale Player of the Year): 1989
Paolo Maldini: 2002-05
  • Ballon d'Or: Third place 2003
  • Serie A Defender of the Year: 2004
Albert Shesternyov: 1968-70
  • Balon d'Or: 14th, 11th, 10th in 1968, 1969, 1970
  • UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 1968
  • Soviet Footballer of the Year: 1970
Lilian Thuram: 1998-2000
  • Balon d'Or: 7th - 1998
  • French Player of the Year: 1997
  • Guerin d'Oro: 1997
  • FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball: 1998
Dunga: 1992-95
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1994
Josef Masopust: 1960-63
  • Balon d'Or winner: 1962
  • European Nations' Cup Team of the Tournament: 1960
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1962
Jinky Johnstone: 1967-70
  • Balon d'or 3rd place - 1967
Enzo Francescoli: 1994-97
  • South American Team of the Year: 1995, 1996, 1997
Raul: 2000-03
  • Balon d'Or 2nd place - 2001
  • UEFA Champions League top goalscorer: 2000–01
  • UEFA Champions League top assist provider: 2002–03
Preben Elkjaer: 1884-87
  • Balon d'or 3rd place - 1984
  • Balon d'or 2nd place - 1985


Team 2mufc0/theon

DEFENCE

Our defence is marshalled by one of the best defensive generals of all time in Gaetano Scirea - he provides world class distribution from the back whilst remaining the gold-standard defensively as a sweeping, covering defender. Complimenting his strengths is the stand-out defender of the modern era in Diego Godin (creating a classic sweeper / stopper partnership) whose physicality, aerial ability and ball-winning compliments the abilities of his defensive partner. At full-back Cole & Amoros provide elite defensive cover and also offer support in the attacking phases - note given Edgar fields a tricky winger in Johnstone we have chosen the Chelsea version of Cole at his defensive peak as opposed to the more offensive Invincibles version. Rounding off the defence is Preud'homme who remains the best Belgian keeper of all time and was twice voted the second best goalkeeper in the world by the IFFHS during this period (later winning the award in '94).

MIDFIELD

We expect Edgar to have a fairly centrally focused offence (Raul, Elkjaer, Enzo, Masopust) so have opted for a monstrous midfield filled with work-rate and physicality. Forming the heart of the team are two box-to-box machines who we expect to wrestle control of game and provide the platform for our offence - of the two the dynamic Paul Breitner (in his later midfield incarnation) will be given more freedom to push forward to utilise his goal scoring strengths while Roy Keane sits deeper as a controlling, defensive box-to-box player. Multi world cup winner Zito has been selected as a dominant defensive presence to counter the strengths of the opposition, he will screen in front of the back-line and play the ball simply in possession as a link across the middle of the park. Whilst dominant off-the ball all three also possess excellent passing skills (Keane in particular is often underrated in this regard) and are well suited to playing sharp passes between the lines to feed our attackers - both Keane and in particular Breitner were also known for bursting forward and scoring goals and have the perfect platform to do that here.

ATTACK

Whilst he has various GOAT versions, in attack we have selected the MSN version of Lionel Messi which is probably Messi at his best in terms of complimenting other star attackers and utilises his peak-playmaking whilst maintaining the overall goal threat - in terms of role Messi has freedom to roam and interchange across the pitch and we see him capitalising on any space left by Brehme in particular. On the left we have the explosive Juan Joya from 60's Penarol whose speed and incision cutting inside looks tailor-made for Messi's passing. Up front is an under-rated gem of a player in Lubanski - a hard-working live-wire of a striker in the Suarez mould who constantly harasses the opposition back-line and is equally adept as a foil for other attackers to play-off as he is a world-class goalscoring threat himself.

Player Achievements During Chosen Years

Michel Preud'homme (88-91) GK-
Belgian 1st Division, UEFA Cup Winners Cup, European Super Cup, Belgian Golden Shoe, Belgian GK of the Year x 3.

Gaetano Scirea (79-82) CB - Seria A x 2, Copa Italia, Fifa World Cup 1982, UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament 1980.

Diego Godin (14-17) CB - La Liga x1, Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Europa League, CL runner up x 2, La Liga Player of the Month x 2, La Liga Team of the Season x 2, UEFA Team of the Year 2014, La Liga Best Defender 2015, ESM Team of the Year 2015.

Manuel Amoros (84-87) RB - Ligue 1 1987, Coupe de France 85, EUEFA Euro Champion 1984, Onze d'Argent: 1984, French Player of the Year 1986, FIFA WC All Star Team 1986, FIFA XI 1986.

Ashley Cole (08-11) LB - Premier League 09-10, FA Cup x 3, FA Community Shield 09, UEFA Champions League 11-12, PFA Team of the Year 10-11, UEFA Team of the Year 2010, Chelsea Players Player of the Year x 2, England Player of the Year 2010, Premier League 20 Seasons Awards (1992–93 to 2011–12).

Zito (59-62) DM - Torneio Rio – São Paulo: 1959, Campeonato Paulista: 1960, 1961, 1962, Taça Brasil: 1961, Copa Libertadores: 1962, Intercontinental Cup: 1962, FIFA World Cup: 1962, FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1962, World Soccer World XI: 1962.

Roy Keane (98-01) CM - Premier League: 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, FA Cup: 1998–99, UEFA Champions League 98-99, Intercontinental Cup 1999, PFA Team of the Year 99-00, 00-01, 01-02, PFA Team of the Century: (1907–2007), FAI Senior International Player of the Year: 2001, Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year: 1999, 2000, RTÉ Sports Person of the Year: 1999, FWA Footballer of the Year: 2000, PFA Players' Player of the Year: 2000, ESM Team of the Year: 1999–2000, Premier League 10 Seasons Awards: (1992–93 to 2001–02), Premier League 20 Seasons Awards: (1992–93 to 2011–12).

Paul Breitner (79-82) CM - Bundesliga: 1979–80, 1980–81, DFB-Pokal: 1981–82, kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season:1978–79, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, Footballer of the Year in Germany: 1981, Ballon d'Or: 1981 (Runner-up), IOC European Footballer of the Season 1980–81, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, FIFA 100, Bayern Munich All-time XI.

Lionel Messi (14-17) RW - La Liga: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, Copa del Rey: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, Supercopa de España: 2016, UEFA Champions League: 2014–15, UEFA Super Cup: 2015, FIFA Club World Cup: 2015, FIFA Ballon d'Or: 2015, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 2014, European Golden Shoe: 2016–17, 2017–18, Copa América Golden Ball: 2015, UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award: 2015, La Liga Best Player: 2014–15, La Liga Best Forward: 2014–15, 2015–16, Pichichi Trophy: 2016–17, 2017–18, FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball: 2015, IFFHS World's Best Playmaker: 2015, 2016, 2017, Olimpia de Plata (Argentine Footballer of the Year): 2015, 2016, 2017, FIFA FIFPro World11: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, UEFA Team of the Year: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, La Liga Team of the Season: 2014–15, 2015–16, FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2014, Copa América Dream Team: 2015, 2016, Argentine Football Assn. Team of All Time (published 2015).

Juan Joya (64-67) LW - Primera División Uruguaya: 64,65,66,67, Copa Libertadores: 66, Copa Intercontinental: 66.

Włodzimierz Lubański (68-71) CF - Polish Championship: 68,69,70,71, Polish Cup: 68,69,70,71, Olympic Gold Medal: 71/72, Polish Top Scorer x 2: 68,69, UEFA Cup Winners Cup Top Scorer x 2: 69, 70, Polish Footballer of the Year: 1970.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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Just wanted to highlight a bit of Masopust by posting this brief 6 min video by harms.
.
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+ A complete box to box player. You can see him defensively in LB role helping out recovery.
+ Penetrative passer. Video is full of vertical passing, able to cut through gaps in opposition.
+ Great dribbler with his famous jinking slalom runs.
+ Not just as a left halfback, but you can see his influence all over the pitch.
+ That run/through pass at 2.35ish for the goal :drool:

Far as playmaking midfielders are concerned, he's certainly a Top 10 GOAT.

--------------

Couple of other synergies, I think will work well for my team:

# Raul + Elkjaer - Raul's peak was with a more physical all action CF and Elkjaer is an upgrade on Morientes.

# Elkjaer + Enzo - Very similar to Elkjaer/Laudrup axis that worked really well for Denmark, they'll complement each other well here too.

# Dunga + Masopust - Dunga is quite a nuanced game runner with his ability to dictate the pace of game from the deep. With his passing ability, he can complement Masopust and his runs and still provide defensive cover.
 

Moby

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Woof! That's a hell of a team by 2mufc/Theon.

For some reason in drafts whenever a GOAT attacker comes against a GOAT defender the consensus quickly goes to how they will 'cancel each other out' when in reality no matter how great a defender you are when you are talking about the top 5-10 players to ever play the game you can't practically stop them individually and generally need the entire team tactic to be dedicated to that to have a chance. Gonna go with Messi with that strong platform behind him deciding this game. Paolo could get some duels in his favour but there's no one who can control an in form Leo.
 

Physiocrat

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@Edgar Allan Pillow

I'm trying to get my head around your system. In the organised defensive phase, is Raul defending wide left making it more a 4231/4411 without the ball?
 

Joga Bonito

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Interesting set up by EAP, would arguably be better if Francescoli was the LAM with Raul as the SS. Not that Raul couldn't play his current role, you'd rather Francescoli dropping deeper and linking with the midfield and potentially keeping tabs on Amoros (with Messi ahead of him -a potent right flank) as opposed to Raul, who you'd rather have in a probing role off the ball as opposed to burdening him with tracking duties.

Excellent side by 2mufc/theon. Curious about how Amoros-Scirea would function as Scirea usually played with a more conservative RCB. That being said, a simple swap with Godin should do the trick with A.Cole on the other side. Don't quite recall Scirea favouring a particular side in general.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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Not to underestimate Messi, but he hasn't faced a defender of Maldini's caliber. Closest defensive stalwart I can find is Ashley Cole who has faced Messi 5 times and not conceded a goal. Then add in Brehme who again would be a Top 5 LB of all time. This is as good as it could ever get against Messi.

@Edgar Allan Pillow

I'm trying to get my head around your system. In the organised defensive phase, is Raul defending wide left making it more a 4231/4411 without the ball?
Masopust would be the one who'd drop back to left halfback role and provide support.

Interesting set up by EAP, would arguably be better if Francescoli was the LAM with Raul as the SS. Not that Raul couldn't play his current role, you'd rather Francescoli dropping deeper and linking with the midfield and potentially keeping tabs on Amoros (with Messi ahead of him -a potent right flank) as opposed to Raul, who you'd rather have in a probing role off the ball as opposed to burdening him with tracking duties.
Enzo is playing the Mazzola role to say who'll drop back. He'll be the primary orchestrator.

With Masopust moving up the left midfield, I can go with a more forward player there...with Raul being the SS.

But then these are very technical aspects. Raul regularly popped up all over the box as did Enzo. It'll be a fluid formation.
 

Physiocrat

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@Edgar Allan Pillow

So Enzo is moving to CM whilst defending? So something like this -

----------------------Elkjaer---------
-----------------------Raul-------------
Masopust---Enzo--Dunga----Jinky
 

Synco

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@Physiocrat

Perhaps a difficulty in what you're asking is that Catenaccio involved man marking? Might simply not be possible to portray it in purely zonal terms.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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I'm not really familiar with Lubanski but his international record isn't as good once you start digging deeper into it. A big chunk of his International Goals have come against minnows. Against opponents like Germany, Brazil et, his stats work up to something like 3 goals from 20 odd games.

Flat track bully comes to mind here. Against a stalwart defence as mine, he'd not get a sniff at goal.

Turkey
8​
Luxembourg
7​
Ireland
5​
Norway
4​
Finland
4​
United States
3​
Denmark
3​
Belgium
2​
Switzerland
1​
England
1​
Morocco
1​
Netherlands
1​
Ghana
1​
Soviet Union
1​
Hungary
1​
Bulgaria
1​
Yugoslavia
1​
Czechoslovakia
1​
Albania
1​
Italy
1​
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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@Edgar Allan Pillow

So Enzo is moving to CM whilst defending? So something like this -

----------------------Elkjaer---------
-----------------------Raul-------------
Masopust---Enzo--Dunga----Jinky
Something like that, but in real games it's impossible to pin a defensive shape. It usually goes on which flank the attack is coming from.

You always have a compact back 3 in Maldini...Shesternyov...Thuram. Neither of my fullbacks really need any help. It'd come down to Maldini/Dunga occupying a floating inside Messi with support from Brehme and Masopust. A solid box which would be difficult even for him to impose himself on this game.

Having a left halfback like Masopust would help immensely when facing a floating inside forward like Messi. He's not that great a tackler, but is intelligent in cutting passing lanes and denying space.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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Just tore itrate there's over reliance on Messi to both score and create himself. Thuram is more than enough to handle Joya and the rest of defence is as good as it gets against Messi.

Dunga is a brilliant pivot DM, both in physical and mental sense plus a halfback like Masopust and even Messi won't have an easy game.
 

Enigma_87

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Lots to like in that @Edgar Allan Pillow team. Only thing I’d change is as Joga mentioned swapping Enzo and Raul. Nice to see Raul feature here too.

Brehme and Maldini is as good as it gets to negate Messi influence and generally I think Edgar defensive unit will cope well with the opposition.

Top team from 2mufc0 / theon too and they have the upper hand in midfield and probably would secure the control of the game.

very tight, I’d probably go with 1-0, Breitner strike to make the difference.
 

2mufc0

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I'm not really familiar with Lubanski but his international record isn't as good once you start digging deeper into it. A big chunk of his International Goals have come against minnows. Against opponents like Germany, Brazil et, his stats work up to something like 3 goals from 20 odd games.

Flat track bully comes to mind here. Against a stalwart defence as mine, he'd not get a sniff at goal.

Turkey
8​
Luxembourg
7​
Ireland
5​
Norway
4​
Finland
4​
United States
3​
Denmark
3​
Belgium
2​
Switzerland
1​
England
1​
Morocco
1​
Netherlands
1​
Ghana
1​
Soviet Union
1​
Hungary
1​
Bulgaria
1​
Yugoslavia
1​
Czechoslovakia
1​
Albania
1​
Italy
1​
To be honest I'm not really surprised, Poland are hardly a footballing superpower so it would have been difficult for him. What's more telling he's been a top scorer twice in European club competitions. And I don't think he would have ever played with the calibre of players around him in this team, you just have to watch the guy play to see his play style and realise he's a really good fit here.



Thankfully football isn't played on paper.
 

2mufc0

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Just tore itrate there's over reliance on Messi to both score and create himself. Thuram is more than enough to handle Joya and the rest of defence is as good as it gets against Messi.

Dunga is a brilliant pivot DM, both in physical and mental sense plus a halfback like Masopust and even Messi won't have an easy game.
You're really under rating Joya, he won't be easily handled by anyone.

The whole point of this draft was to get players like Joya some play time, but there doesn't seem to be a point when they just get outright dismissed.
 

Synco

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You're really under rating Joya, he won't be easily handled by anyone.

The whole point of this draft was to get players like Joya some play time, but there doesn't seem to be a point when they just get outright dismissed.
Make a case for him, I'm interested in that. What kind of player was he, what role will he play from the left, what did he do during the peak you chose.

I've seen that Penarol game in the DD, but I honestly can't remember him as my attention was on other players.
 

2mufc0

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Make a case for him, I'm interested in that. What kind of player was he, what role will he play from the left, what did he do during the peak you chose.

I've seen that Penarol game in the DD, but I honestly can't remember him as my attention was on other players.
@antohan is our resident Uruguayan expert and he wrote quite a bit about that Joya-Penarol side providing some very good insights, I'll link it below:

JUAN JOYA (30s): Alberto Spencer's partner in crime for the 1960s Peñarol side which dominated South American football and was only rivalled by Pelé's Santos. A lightning fast left wing wizard whose crosses made Spencer the top Libertadores scorer to this day, yet had the eye for goal to maintain a 1 in 2 record.
Prior to the 1962 Libertadores finals, the players hadn’t agreed bonuses yet. Joya was of the opinion they should be negotiated individually (as a Galáctico would) but Sasía, one of his teammates, was the President of Uruguay’s players' union and was having none of it.

One day Goncalves (the captain) and Sasía are called up by the directors during training. When they come back Joya asks what that was about and is told bonuses had been agreed. “Is there a problem?” Goncalves asks with his usual authority. “Nope”, answers Joya staring at Sasía.

Two days later the team are watching the reserve game prior to theirs and Sasía notices Joya is still mad at him so goes up to him and offers to “sort it out”. Joya agrees so long as there’s nothing at head level (fair enough, as he was quite a ladies’ man while Sasia’s mug was beyond repair).


Sasía – Spencer - Joya

They go to the changing rooms and have a go. About ten minutes later they hear knocks on the door: it’s half-time and the reserves need to come in so they tidy themselves up and open the door looking visibly agitated. Later that day the game is played, Peñarol wins 5-0, but back in the showers Sasía notices Joya is still pissed off so offers him more, and off they go again until they are knackered.

As they leave the stadium Sasia waves him goodbye: “See you Tuesday in training”. “Yeah, see you Tuesday mate”.

No circus, gesturing during a game, or media bullshit. Men.

As it turns out the bonus negotiation was pointless as Santos won after resorting to every trick in the book. A final with three laps of honour that: one by Santos celebrating the win after the second leg was called off for their own fans’ behavior; one by Peñarol after showing up for the third game and Santos not showing up because Pelé was injured; and the final one a month later when Santos finally agreed to play it with a fully fit Pelé, at a few days notice, with all the Peñarol players in the middle of a break. :mad:

If you take just the first two games Peñarol would have won on away goals, even discounting a penalty on Joya the ref ruled out for offside. “We won’t get out of here alive otherwise”, he explained to Tito Goncalves.
 
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Synco

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Cheers, although I wasn't quite expecting info about Joya fighting teammates :D

Fw'iw, I've found a compilation from within the three year period in this game:
 
Last edited:

2mufc0

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Cheers, although I wasn't quite expecting info about Roya fighting teammates :D

Fw'iw, I've found a compilation from within the three year period in this game:
Cheers. Also managed to dig another post out by Anto

It’s 1959 and Peñarol (founded as the Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club) are on course to the third of five consecutive national championship wins. Following the introduction of the European Cup, the club has successfully pushed for the creation of the South American equivalent: the Copa Libertadores.

Also following a certain European example, the club decides to amass the best players from elsewhere in the continent and sign Alberto Spencer, which delivers the first Libertadores Cup. Real Madrid still trounce them in the Madrid leg of the Intercontinental Cup after a draw in Montevideo.



So Peñarol go further the next year and sign a world class partner for him: JUAN JOYA. The Joya-Spencer tandem went from strength to strength over eight years and went on to deliver:

  • 6 league titles,
  • two Libertadores Cup wins,
  • two Libertadores runners-up (would have been 4 wins with GD or away goals settling things instead of a third game :annoyed:)
  • two Intercontinental Cup wins (against Benfica in 1961 and Real Madrid in 1966)
  • the 1969 Intercontinental Cup Supercup (a tournament for all former Intercontinental winners i.e. “the 60s Super Cup”)
It’s largely down to that decade that the statsmen at IFFHS worked out Peñarol was the best South American club of the 20th Century. I’d say that Peñarol side was right up there with Pelé’s Santos one, and both light-years ahead of any other the continent has produced. Bleacher (yes, I know!) have that Peñarol side as one of the top 15 club sides in history, largely down to the exploits of Joya-Spencer.

Despite repeated approaches by the Uruguayan FA, neither Joya nor Spencer accepted the invitation to play for the national team, or else the 1966 World Cup would have quite probably gone elsewhere. Instead, they both joined Ryan Giggs in the pantheon of football greats who never set foot on the world’s biggest stage.

Their destinies remained interlinked all the way to their deaths. Ironically, Joya dies a year after Spencer, just like he joined Peñarol a year later. Despite having stayed loyal to their countries, they were mourned in Uruguay even more than in Peru and Ecuador – to the point their families decided to bury them in Montevideo, with all expenses paid by the club. A Carnival song dedicated to them went on to top the Uruguayan charts almost 40 years after they had last kicked a ball.
 

Demyanenko_square_jaw

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That Lubanski list actually looks good when you consider he was playing for Poland, who only started to get stronger in depth nearly halfway through his pre-injury international career circa 1970 qualifiers (where his winning goal against an already great Netherlands squad played a big part in putting them out). They were one of the weakest of the eastern euro teams for most of the 60s.
 

2mufc0

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That Lubanski list actually looks good when you consider he was playing for Poland, who only started to get stronger in depth nearly halfway through his pre-injury international career circa 1970 qualifiers (where his winning goal against an already great Netherlands squad played a big part in putting them out). They were one of the weakest of the eastern euro teams for most of the 60s.
Thanks for the input on the context. It should be noted he actually robs the great Bobby Moore in the first video I posted above and goes on to smash in a goal from a difficult position.
 

Gio

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Lots to like in that @Edgar Allan Pillow team. Only thing I’d change is as Joga mentioned swapping Enzo and Raul. Nice to see Raul feature here too.

Brehme and Maldini is as good as it gets to negate Messi influence and generally I think Edgar defensive unit will cope well with the opposition.

Top team from 2mufc0 / theon too and they have the upper hand in midfield and probably would secure the control of the game.

very tight, I’d probably go with 1-0, Breitner strike to make the difference.
My thoughts as well. Breitner to get the winner.
 

Theon

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Good game @Edgar Allan Pillow - lots to like about your team, particularly the Enzo / Elkjaer partnership which I could see working well. As you say Brehme / Maldini doesn't get much better in terms of defending the Messi threat from the right. The only real issue I had was Raul in your side, as with Masopust breaking into that area along with Enzo / Elkjaer it's probably diminishing returns in terms of what Raul provides.

I'm not really familiar with Lubanski but his international record isn't as good once you start digging deeper into it. Against a stalwart defence as mine, he'd not get a sniff at goal.
Didn't want to double-team during the match but wanted to respond to this.. as Lubański really was a fantastic player – the more I watch of him the better I think he was and I’m convinced he should be picked more often in these things. Ultimately he’s one of those well-rounded forwards that doesn’t have any clear weaknesses and he seems a good fit in virtually any set-up to me. Physically strong and mobile, good in the air, comfortable linking with the midfield and an excellent finisher – plus he has top-class mentality and leadership qualities to boot.

In terms of his reputation there’s no doubt his injury against England played a massive part there – going from captain of a national side finally coming to fruition, to missing the ’74 World Cup entirely and never quite being the same player. Andy Mitten has a section on this great 'What could have been?' in his Rough Guide to Cult Football:


What if Paul Gascoigne hadn’t made that suicidal lunch at Gary Charles? What is Diego Maradona’s goal had been disallowed? And what if Wlodzimierz Lubański had been fit for the 1974 World Cup? That last question is probably the biggest lingering imponderable in Polish football. Poland came third in that World Cup – losing to West Germany in the semi-finals… Had Lubański played however, many feel Poland might have had enough to win their first World Cup.

It’s worth pointing out that Polish football in the 1970s was enjoying a golden age, boasting such fantastic players as Grzegorz Lato, Kazimierz Deyna, Jan Tomaszewski, Jerzy Gorgon and Zbigniew Boniek. Apart from Michel Platini, Boniek was perhaps the greatest European player of the 1980s. Deyna enjoyed a glittering career, but of Lubański – one of a kind even amongst so many greats – little is remembered.

Having captained the Polish national team to the gold medal in the 1972 Olympic Games, he was pencilled in as a challenger for the Golden Boot two years later – little surprise given his staggering 40 goals in 52 internationals (many in which he was also skipper). He was strong, quick and a terrific header of the ball. Hi goals for Gornik Zabrze helped them win League titles galore and he just missed out on a European Cup Winners Cup medal – losing 2-1 to Manchester City in the 1970 final - before he moved to Lokeren in Belgium.

In the eyes of his team-mate Lato (who, in his absence, had won the 1974 Golden Boot) Lubański was quite simply the greatest goalscorer of his time. “He was a revelation to play with. He knew exactly where you would be and we had an almost telepathic relationship. He was quick, technically excellent and knew where the goal was. He had the respect of the team – as every great captain should – and was unique in terms of being a superb all-rounder. It would be hard to pick out any weaknesses
”.

In terms of accolades he seems at least as equally regarded in Poland as any of their more well-known exports and a shoe-in for an all-time XI. In 2004 to mark the UEFA Golden Jubilee all the European Football Associations nominated one of their players as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years – it’s telling Lubanski was chosen ahead of ’74 stars Deyna and Lato, or the most successful Polish-export of all in Boniek.

https://www.uefa.com/insideuefa/news/newsId=130150.html?redirectFromOrg=true

He also makes the Eric Batty World XI published in World Soccer magazine on four occasions (two of those in the three-year peak we’ve selected here) which demonstrates his contemporary reputation:





A good article on Lubanski and what could have been for Poland in World Cup 74 without his injury:

HOW ROY MCFARLAND COST POLAND THE WORLD CUP

The 1974 World Cup Qualifying campaign tends to bring back a lot of haunting memories for England supporters, but whilst England's dreams of regaining the world title faded when against Poland at Wembley - Poland's hopes had already been dealt a massive blow in the first meeting between the two sides four months earlier in Chorzów.

When people outside of Poland try to name the greatest Polish players in history, it's understandable to see the names that they go for. Zbigniew Boniek, Grzegorz Lato, Kazimierz Deyna - they all make deserved appearances on the list. One name who doesn't tend to be mentioned in the same breath however, finds himself way out in front of the pack for the country's all-time goalscorers - Włodzimierz Lubański.


Good performance against a strong side: Lubanski rattles a powerful long-range shot a few seconds in, plays a role in the first goal around 0.48 and then scores at 1.28


Starting out at Sosnica as a 10-year old, by the age of fifteen Lubański had signed a deal with three-time Polish champions Górnik Zabrze. Włodek's first season saw him help the club to their fourth title with four goals in eight games and it didn't take long until the national team took an interest. Lubański eventually made his début in 1963; and at the tender age of 16 years and 188 days became the youngest ever goalscorer for Poland.

With more international appearances following, 13 goals in 24 games from Lubański helped Górnik to their second successive title in 1964; and with his goal-rate quickly increasing, 9 goals in 13 appearances during 1964/65 were key to securing the club a league and cup double. However it was in 1965/66 when Lubański - now just turning 19 - really started to blow the league away. Netting 23 times in just 18 appearances, Włodek picked up his first Golden Boot award - an award he would go on to retain for a further three seasons.

After winning the league title in 1966/67, Górnik entered the 67/68 European Cup with confidence. Two goals from Lubański in the first round set up a second round tie against Dynamo Kyiv - who had eliminated defending champions Celtic in Round One. There, another first-leg strike from Włodek pushed Górnik into the quarter finals. Drawn against eventual champions Manchester United, a 2-0 loss at Old Trafford shattered Polish hopes, but the return-leg saw 21-year old Lubański score the only goal of the game in a famous 1-0 victory - the Red Devils' only loss on the way to lifting the trophy.

After a Polish Cup win in 1968 and 1969, the club entered into the 1969/70 European Cup Winners' Cup, where they proceeded to go further in continental competition than any other Polish club had ever gone before. With seven European strikes to his name, Lubański was instrumental in Górnik's progression past Olympiakos, Rangers, Levski Sofia, and AS Roma - to the final in Vienna against Joe Mercer's Manchester City side. Despite being described by Mercer's assistant as "in the same class as Eusebio", Lubański was unable to help Górnik turn over a 2-0 half-time deficit as they eventually went down 2-1.


Fantastic goal vs Rangers - demonstrates his pace, composure and two-footedness



Another good performance vs City in the Final - shows his movement, touch and dribbling ability outside his pure goalscoring. Annoyingly he gets the assist for the Gornik goal but the footage seems to cut off very early here but gives an idea of his general quality outside of the box.


Following the high of becoming 1972 Olympic Champions, the Poland national side were drawn a tough qualifying group for '74 World Cup - facing Alf Ramsey's England who just seven years earlier were crowned World Champions. Already 1-0 up and gambling on Bobby Moore trying to play his way out of trouble, Lubański then pressured the England captain and dispossessed him with ease. Quickly bearing down on Shilton, Lubański fired in off the keeper's near post - giving Poland an unassailable 2-0 lead.

However just seven minutes after putting the game beyond England's reach, Lubański skipped past England defender Roy McFarland only to see a very late tackle bring the him down. Stretchered off the turf, the 26-year old star-striker was out for two years and would play no further part in qualifying for the 1974 World Cup, or take part in the competition itself.


The last time we saw Lubanski at his peak - you can see the tackle at 2.06 which kept him out of WC'74. In terms of the game this really showcases his work-rate and pressing from the front, which is ultimately what disrupts Bobby Moore and gives Lubanski his goal with a great finish at 1.30. You can also see the dual threat he poses running in behind with his pace, whilst also being an excellent back-to-goal option for others to play-off.... and the touch at 0.20 is :drool:


Despite Lubański's absence, Poland went on to perform brilliantly in West Germany. Group Stage defeats of Argentina and Italy were punctuated by a 7-0 demolition of pool whipping boys Haiti, before defeats of Sweden and Yugoslavia set up a clash with West Germany before the final. But with the pitch in awful condition following torrential rain, Poland were unable to capitalise on their speed which had caused massive problems in their previous games. With the Poles providing less than their normal attacking prowess, a second half strike from Gerd Muller was enough to separate the two sides - sending the hosts into the final. Whilst the Germans eventually went on the lift the trophy, Poland were left to wonder how they would have done with their star striker Lubański as they picked up their bronze medal with a 1-0 win over Brazil.

With a career record 327 goals in 590 games, Włodzimierz Lubański remains one of Poland's greatest ever strikers - but fans will forever wonder if it hadn't been for that Roy McFarland's tackle back in 1973, could they have overcome West Germany and lifted the World Cup.