Friday, October 31, 2014

Italy Greatest All-time 23 member team

This is my all-time team for Italy. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Italian diaspora
Southern ItalyCentral Italy,
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy
Italy after 1982Italy between 1938 and 1982.


Italy 1934

Italy won back-to-back World Cups in 1934 and 1938.   From the post-War period until 1968, the Azzurri failed to produce a national team that were as good as the pre-War generation.  However, AC Milan and Inter Milan did well in club competitions, winning 4 European Cups in the 1960's. Then, in 1968, Italy won the European Champion and reached the Final of the 1970 WC Finals.  The team consisted of Giacinto Facchetti, Sandro Mazzola, Gianni Rivera, Luigi Riva and Roberto Boninsegna.  

From then on, they produced great team after great team.  In 1982, Paulo Rossi's goals helped Italy to win their first WC since 1938. In the 1990's, Italy had Roberto Baggio as the trequartistas with Paulo Maldini and Franco Baresi maintaining the backline.  They reached the semifinal of the WC in 1990 and then, the Final in 1994.  In 2006, while the Italian clubs were under investigation at home, the Azzurri rallied and won the WC in Germany.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

Team
GK: Gianluigi Buffon
Buffon is considered to be one of the greatest keeper ever.  He made his Serie A debut at the age of 17 in 1995 with Parma.  He earned his first cap when he was only 19.  He had a total of 175 caps. His biggest achievement must be winning the World Cup in 2006.  He has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eight time. He became the most expensive goalkeeper of all time following his transfer from Parma to Juventus in 2001.  

GK: Dino Zoff
He captained the WC winning side in 1982 at the age of 40.  He held the Serie A appearance record until 2006. He was also a part of the team that won the Euro 1968. He achieved great club success with Juventus, winning 6 Serie A titles, 2 Coppa Italias, and an UEFA Cup, also reaching two European Champions' Cup finals in 1972-73 and 1982-83 seasons. He also played for Udinese, Mantova and Napoli.
Zoff in 1982
GK: Giampiero Combi
Combi won the 1934 WC with Italy.  He was considered one of the best in the world during his time.  He spent his entire career with Juventus.  He played 351 games in Serie A, winning five titles – in 1926 (having conceded only 18 goals during the season), 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934 as part of the first golden age of the club with a record of five championship victories in a row, a feat known as Il Quinquennio d'Oro (The Golden Quinquennium).

CB/RB: Claudio Gentile
He was considered one of the Azzurri's greatest defender.  He went to both 1978 and 1982 World Cup Finals.  He was best remembered for stopping Diego Maradona and Zico at the WC Finals in 1982 as Italy won their third World Cup.  His playing style was very hard. He was capped 71 times.  Gentile played over a decade with Juventus. He also played for Fiorentina and other clubs.
Claudio Gentile vs Zico
CB/RB:  Giuseppe Bergomi
Bergomi was one of Inter Milan's greatest defender, winning one scudetto and three UEFA Cups with them.  He played his entire career with Inter Milan.  He held the record of most appearance in the UEFA Cup. Bergomi won the World Cup in 1982 and appeared in the 1986 and 1990 WC Finals. He was capped 81 times between 1982 and 1998.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro
Fabio Cannavaro was capped 138 times between 1997 and 2010. He was the captain and perhaps, the best Italian player of the 2006 World Cup winning team.  He was named the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year, and won the Ballon d'Or award in 2006 which made him the third defender to win the award. He started his career with Napoli and had spells with Parma, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.
Fabio Cannavaro
SW: Gaetano Scirea
Scirea was the starting libero for Italy's World Cup winning team in Spain 1982 and Juventus throughout the 1980's.  He is considered one of the greatest defenders ever played the game.  He is one of only five players in history to have won all international trophies for football clubs recognized by UEFA and FIFA. He started with Atalanta before moving to Juventus in 1974, where he made his name. He also played in 1978 and 1986 World Cup Finals as well as the European Championship of 1980.

SW:  Franco Baresi
Baresi was considered Italy's greatest libero.  He was capped 82 times.  He led the Azzurri to the semifinal of the WC in 1990 and then, the Final in 1994.  However, he missed most of the tournament in 1994.  He was a part of the 1982 World Cup winning team, but he did not play a single match.  He was the captain of AC Milan for 15 years, where he won three European Cups and 6 Serie A titles.  This team was considered one of the greatest club side of all-time.
Franco Baresi
CB/SW: Alessandro Nesta
Nesta is considered one of the best defender of his generation.  He was the Serie A defender of the Year for 4 times. He started his career with Lazio.  Later, he played with AC Milan where he won two Champions' league.  He also played in MLS.  He earned 78 caps.   He played on the 2006 WC winning team, but injured in the third game of the tournament.  He also went to 1998 and 2002 World Cup Finals as well as the European Championship in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

LB: Giacinto Facchetti
Until the emerge of Paolo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti was considered to be Italy's greatest left back. He spent his entire career with Inter Milan from 1960 to 1978.  He was the star wingback of La Grande Inter where they won back-to-back European Cups in the 1960's.  He was capped 94 times and also won the Euro 1968 with Italy. He played in 1966, 1970 and 1974 World Cup Finals.

LB: Paolo Maldini
He was considered the greatest leftback of all-time.  He won 26 trophies in his 25 year career with AC Milan, including 5 Champions' league trophies. With the Azzurri, Maldini took part in three European Championships, and four World Cups. Although he did not win a tournament with the Italian National team, he reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup in the US and Euro 2000, and the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy and Euro 1988 in West Germany, and was elected into the all-star teams for each of these tournaments, in addition to the Euro 96 all-star team.  He was capped 126 times for Italy. 
Paolo Maldini
DM/CM: Marco Tardelli
He played at the 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina and the 1980 European Football Championship at home.  He was the unsung hero of Italy's 1982 WC winning team.  He was capped 81 times.  He also won all the three major European competitions with Juventus. He also played for Pisa, Como, Inter Milan and St.Gallen of Switzerland.

DM:  Romeo Benetti
At international level, he represented the Italy national football team on 55 occasions between 1971 and 1980, and took part at the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA Euro 1980, achieving fourth-place finishes in the latter two tournaments. He is best remembered for his 5 seasons with AC Milan, winning a Cup Winners' Cup.

CM:  Andrea Pirlo
Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista.  He redefined the regista role in the modern game.  He had 116 caps.  He won the World Cup in 2006 and took Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.  For his club career, he was known for his career with AC Milan.  He played over 280 matches for them, winning two Champions' League titles.  He switched to Juventus late in his career. 
Andrea Pirlo
CM/AM:  Giancarlo Antognoni
He was Fiorentina's greatest ever player .  He was a key player for Italy's WC winning team in 1982, but he missed the Final because of an injury.  He was capped 73 times for the Azzurri.  His career started in the Italian Serie D with the club of Asti Ma.Co.Bi., when he was only sixteen. In 1972, he joined Fiorentina. Because of his loyalty with his club, he never won anything at the club level.  He holds the record for the most appearances in Serie A for Fiorentina, with 341 appearances.

CM/AM: Gianni Rivera
Gianni Rivera was Italy's "Golden Boy"of the 1960's and perhaps their best player in his generation.  He won the Ballon d'Or in 1969.  He led AC Milan to win two European Cups in 1963 and 1969. He was capped 63 times, scoring 15 goals, at four World Cup Finals (1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974). Rivera is remembered for scoring the decisive goal in Italy's extra-time win over West Germany in the semi-final of Mexico 1970.

Gianni Rivera

CM/AM: Sandro Mazzola
He was a part of Inter Milan's "La Grande Inter".  He won four Serie A titles (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971), two European Cups (1964 and 1965) and two Intercontinental Cups (1964 and 1965).  He won the Euro 1968 with the Azzurri and led them to the WC Finals in 1970.  During his career, he was known for sharing the starting position with AC Milan's Gianni Rivera on the national team. His father was Valentino Mazzola who died when Sandro was 7 years old.

AM: Valentino Mazzola
He was the best player in the world during the 1940's.  He was the captain and symbol of the "Grande Torino", the team recognised as one of the strongest in the world during the second half of the 1940s, with whom Mazzola won five Serie A championships.  His career, however, was limited by the War.  He never played in the World Cup.  His life was cut short by the Superga Air Disaster in 1949.  He was Sandro's father.

RW/LW: Bruno Conti 
Conti was the greatest winger in Italy's history.  He had 47 caps. He won the World Cup in 1982 and also took part at the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico.  Except with two loan spells with Genoa, he played his entire career with AS Roma. The season after the World Cup Finals in 1982, he helped Roma to win the league title.  He also led them to the 1984 European Cup Final but were defeated on penalties by Liverpool.

AM/FW: Roberto Baggio
He was the icon of the 1990's.  He was the World Player of the Year, the Ballon d'Or winner and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1993.  He led Italy to reach the semifinal at Italia 1990 and then, to a second place four years later.  For club football, he started his career with Fiorentina.  He became the most expensive player in the world when he joined Juventus.  He also played for AC Milan, Bologna, Inter Milan and Brescia.
Roberto Baggio
FW: Giuseppe Meazza
Meazza is one of Italy's greatest players. He had 53 caps, scorimg 33 times. He led Italy winning two World Cups in 1934 and 1938.  He was probably the best player in the 1930's.  He was the best player at the 1934 World Cup Finals. He played mainly for Inter Milan in the 1930s, scoring 242 goals in 365 games for the club. He also played for AC Milan, Juventus, Varese, and Atalanta.

ST: Luigi Riva
He was the all-time leading scorer for the Italy.  At international level, Riva won the 1968 UEFA European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team; he also took part at the 1974 FIFA World Cup. With 35 goals in 42 appearances (in all official competitions) between 1965 and 1974. He was Serie A top scorer for three seasons. He was probably the best ever player at Cagliari, leading them to win their only scudetti in 1969-1970.

ST:  Silvio Piola
He was the all-time leading scorer in the Italian league.  He was third all-time leading scorer for the Azzurri even through his career was cut short by the World War II.  Piola won the 1938 FIFA World Cup with Italy, scoring two goals in the final, ending the tournament as the second best player and the second highest scorer.

ST: Paolo Rossi
Rossi was the hero of Italy's WC winning team in 1982, notably for scoring a hattrick against Brazil in Spain, and went on to win the Golden boot. He was also the European player of the Year in 1982 because of his performance at the WC Finals. His club career was associated with Juventus.  He was a part of the great Juventus team of the 1980's.  He won the 1985 European Cup as Juventus' second top scorer.  He also went to the 1978 World Cup Finals.
Paolo Rossi

Honorble Mention
Walter Zenga, Gianluca Pagliuca, Enrico Albertosi, Lorenzo Buffon, Francesco Toldo, Antonio Cabrini, Renzo De Vecch,
Gianluca Zambrotta, Ciro Ferrara, Armando Picchi, Riccardo Ferri, Alessandro Costacurta, Pietro Vierchowood, Pietro Rava, Gennaro Gattuso, Gabriel Oriali, Giampiero Boniperti, Alessandro Del Piero, FranciscoTotti, Roberto Donadoni, Christian Vieri, Alessandro Altobelli.

Squad Explanation
  • Both Giuseppe Bergomi and Claudio Gentile can play as rightback or a centre-back.  So I took them ahead of other great Italian stoppers and did not bring a pure rightback to the team.   
  • I could not find room for Antonio Cabrini and Renzo De Vecch.  Antonio Cabrini is one of the greatest rightback ever coming from Europe.  I still could not find a spot for him.  That said a lot of about the depth of Italian defenders.
  • Fabio Cannavaro was the hero of the 2006 World Cup team.  While he have done a lot in his career, that tournament separated him from other great Italian defenders who did not make the list.
  • Andrea Pirlo won a World Cup in 2006.  He starred for both AC Milan and Juventus. Somehow, I found him still underrated by many fans.  I considered among the greatest ever from Italy. He also played in an unique role(deep lying playmaker).  His playing style changed the way I felt about the game and th role of a playmaker playing deep. So I actually put him on starting lineups.
  • The third goalkeeper is also a tough decision.  Giampiero Combi, Walter Zenga, Gianluca Pagliuca, Enrico Albertosi and Lorenzo Buffon all deserved the final spot.  In the end, I chose Combi because he seemed the be the most famous among the choices. 
  • Italy has too many great trequartistas.  I already have Baggio, Rivera and the Mazzolas on the team.  So I do not have space for Alessandro Del Piero and FranciscoTotti.
  • There are better Italian players than Paolo Rossi, but his performance in Spain 1982 alone got him onto the team ahead Giampiero Boniperti.  I was debating between Boniperti and Rossi.  I might need Boniperti's wide game on the right, but Conti can take care of that.

World Cup 2006
Starting lineup 
Formation 3-4-1-2 
From the La Grande Inter to Antonio Conte's Italy, the libero position is one of the strongest aspect of the Italian game. This formation is built around the position. I believe Gentile would be a better partner than Scirea for Barsei in the back-three.  My lineup also lacks a good right wingback.  So I start Conte there.



Formation 4-4-2 (Diamond)
  • This formation is based on the 4-4-2 used by Arrigo Saachi, Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti. 
  • I started Valentino Mazzola because he was more versatile than the other options.  He could defend, playmake and attack. He also could ply deeper than Rivera.







Arrigo Saachi
 
Formation III 3-5-2
This formation is based upon Antonio Conte's 3-5-2 used in recent years.  The back three looked great.  Gentile could operate as a rightback, which was a perfect replacement for Andrea Barzagli.  The midfield is tricky.  Claudio Marchisio was a key player for Conte.  I do not have a player liked him.  I do not think Baggio suited to play deep.  So I used Riveria who had played a deeper position before.  Italy almost never used Riveria and Mazzola together on the same field. So I was not sure if the pair would work here.  I do not want to drop Roberto Baggio.  I can easily replace Meazza with him.






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Holland Greatest All-team 23 member team


World Cup 1974
This is my all-time team for Holland. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Surnamese-Dutch,
North HollandSouth Holand.
The rest of Holland excluding North and South Holland
Holland All-Time Team After Johan Cruyff
Holland 2002
Dutch-Indos/Indonesia-born Dutch All-Time Team

Holland first became prominence when they reached the Final of the 1974 Finals, where they lost to the host.  The team led by Johan Cruyff charmed the world with their "Total Football".   Four years later, they reached the Final again, but they again lost to the host.  Finally, Oranje won their first major international tournament in 1988 ar the European Championship.   Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard also contributed the successes of AC Milan in the late 1980's.  Then, in the mid-1990's, a new Golden Generation helped Ajax to win the Champions' league in 1995.  With the national team, they reached the semifinal of the WC in 1998. 

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

Euro 1988
Team 
GK: Edwin Van Der Sar 
Van Der Sar is the most capped player in Holland's history with 130 caps.  He went to 1994, 1998 and 2006 World Cup and Euro 1996, 2000 and 2004.  He was best remembered for being the Ajax keeper in 1995 that won the Champions' League and then, later for Manchester United for 6 seasons.  He won the Champions' League in 2007-2008. In between, he also played with Fulham and Juventus.
GK:  Jan Van Beveren
Considered one of the best keepers in the 1970's.  In 1970, Van Beveren joined PSV Eindhoven, where he won three Eredivisie titles, two domestic cups and the UEFA Cup in 1978. He had 32 caps. His career with the national team was cut short because of a feud with Johan Cruyff. He missed the WC Finals in 1974 because of that.

GK:  Just Göbel
Born in Dutch- Göbel who played for Vitesse Arnhem, succeeded Reinier Beeuwkes as the Dutch national goalkeeper in 1911. He was known for being the first Dutch keeper trying to catch the ball rather than stomp it away. He played 18 matches for the Dutch team, being best remembered for his numerous saves during the 2-1 win over England's amateurs and his bronze medal in the football tournament of the 1912 Summer Olympics.

RB: Wim Suurbier 
Suurbier is considered among the best ever rightback in history.  He was the starting rightback for Oranje at the 1974 World Cup in Germany as well as the great Ajax team of the early 1970's where he played 13 seasons. He won three European Cups with Ajax in the 1970's. He also played club football in France, the USA and Hong Kong.

RB: Harry Dénis 
He participated in three consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1920.  He actually delivered the Olympic Oath during the opening ceremony of the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.  Dénis started playing football with local side DVV and joined HBS aged 11. He would stay at the club for the rest of his career, winning the 1925 Netherlands Football League Championship with them.

CB:  Ronald Koeman 
Ronald Koeman was the rock solid sweeper of Holland's Euro1988 team.  He was capped 78 times. He also won two European Cups, one each for PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona FC.  He scored the winning goal for Barcelona's victory in 1992. The Cup was Barcelona FC's first ever European Cup.  In Holland, he played for all of the "big three" clubs, namely Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.
Ronald Koeman 
CB:  Jaap Stam 
Stam was at one point the most expensive Dutch player and the most expensive defender in the world when Manchester United bought him for 10.6 million pounds.  He played for several European clubs including PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, A.C. Milan and Ajax. In total, he had 67 caps.  He was also an important player in the Dutch team that finished fourth in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and again reached the semifinal of Euro 2000.

CB:  Rinus Israel
Nicknamed "IJzeren Rinus (Iron Rinus)".  He had 47 caps for Holland.  He was a part of the 1974 World Cup team  that finished second at the WC Finals in West Germany.  During his career he played for DWS (1962–66), Feyenoord Rotterdam (1966–74), Excelsior Rotterdam (1974–75) and PEC Zwolle (1975–82).  He won an European Cup with Feyenoord. 

CB/LB: Frank De Boer 
At one point, Frank De Boer was Holland's most capped player. He was a part of Ajax's Champions' League winning team in 1995.  He was an important player in the late 1990's. He captained the Oranje to the semi-finals of both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000.  He also played with Barcelona for 6 years. His twin brother Ronald also played with him for Oranje.

LB/SW:  Ruud Krol 
Krol was one of the most important defender in Holland's history.  Capped 83 times. He helped Oranje to reach the WC Final in both 1974 and 1978.  He was a leftback at the World Cup in 1974 and switched to sweeper later in his career.  He won three straight European Cups with Ajax in the 1970's. He also played in Italy with Napoli, in France with Cannes and the NASL with Vancouver Whitecaps.
Ruud Krol 
LB/DM:  Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst played for his country in three FIFA World Cups, in 1998, 2006 and 2010, as well as three UEFA European Championships, in 2000, 2004 and 2008.  He was the captain of Holland at World Cup 2010, where Holland finished second.  He played 106 times for Holland.  He won the Champions' League for Barcelona in 2005-2006. He also played wirh Feyenoord, Arsenal and Rangers.  

CM: Frank Rijkaard
Frank Rijkaard was one of Holland's most important player.  Capped 73 times.  He won the 1988 European Championship in West Germany. He notably played for Ajax and AC Milan. He spent 5 seasons with AC Milan when Milan was considered the greatest club team in the world.  He won two European Cup with them. In 1995, he led a young Ajax team to their famous Champions' League victory.  That team is also considered one of the greatest club sides ever.

CM: Willem Van Hanegem
In Holland, Willem Van Hanegem was widely considered the second best Dutch player in the 1970's and perhaps, the greatest player for Feyenoord. He won the European Cup with Feyenoord in 1970.  He was capped 52 times between 1968 and 1979.  He was an important player at the World Cup Finals in 1974, but he missed the WC Finals in 1978.  He also played in NASL.
Willem Van Hanegem

CM: Johan Neeskens
Johan Neeskens was considered to be one of the greatest Dutch midfielders. He had 49 caps for Holland.  Her led Holland to two second place finishes at the World Cup Finals in 1974 and 1978.  He was Holland's top scorer at the 1974 World Cup Finals.  He also won three straight European Cups with Ajax: 1971, 1972, 1973. He also played with Barcelona FC and New York Cosmos.
Johan Neeskens

CM: Edgar Davids
Nicknamed "the Pitbull", Edgar Davids was one of the greatest defensive midfielders in the world.  He won the European Champions' League with Ajax in 1995.  He was an important player at the World Cup Finals in 1998 when Holland reached the semi-final. He also spent 7 seasons with Juventus at the height of his career. He also played for Tottenham Hotspurs, Barcelona, AC Milan, etc.

RW/LW/FW: Arjen Robben
He was an important player for Bayern Munich's dominance in Europe as they reached three Champions' League Finals in 4 years, winning one.  He also played with PSV, Real Madrid and Chelsea. For the national team, he had 97 caps. He helped Holland to reach the WC Final in 2010 and then the semi-final in 2014. He also went to the 2006 WC Finals. 
Arjen Robben
LW: Coen Moulijn
He was considered the best left winger in Dutch football.  He started his career with Xerxes in 1954.  A season later, he joined Feyenoord. He stayed there until 1972. He won the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup with them in 1970. He had 38 caps at a time when Holland was not considered a major power in football.  He scored 4 goals for the Netherlands national football team.

AM: Ruud Gullit
He was the iconic captain of Holland 1988.  In 1987,  he moved from PSV Eindhoven to A.C. Milan for a world record transfer fee.  He was an important player for AC Milan during the 1980's where they won two straight European Cups. He was the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989.  He spent one season with Sampdoria winning the Italian Cup in 1994.

Gullit with Van Basten
FW:  Faas Wilkes
He was one of the first Dutch player to play aboard.  In 1949, he joined Inter Milan, where he had the best of his career.  He also had a great career with Valencia..  He was considered to Holland's best player until the emerge of the Golden Generation of the 1970's. He was capped 38 times scoring 35 goals.  He was banned from the national team between 1949 and 1955 because KNVB did not select professional players. He was Holland's all-time leading scorer until 1998.

FW: Johan Cruyff
Cruyff is the greatest Dutch player ever.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974.  He was considered one of the best players in history.  He was noted for his brilliant performance at the World Cup in 1974.  He also won three straight European Cups with Ajax in the 1970's.  He moved to Barcelona in 1973 for a world record transfer fees, where he became a legend.  He also played in the NASL.
Johan Cruyff
FW: Dennis Bergkamp
Bergkamp was the best-known Dutch player of the mid-1990's.  He helped Holland to reach the semi-final of the 1998 WC Finals in France.  His goal vs Argentina at was considered among the best ever scored in WC history.  Bergkamp surpassed Faas Wilkes's record to become the country's top goalscorer of all time in 1998. He started with Ajax and played for Inter Milan.  He also had a successful career with Arsenal.

ST:  Marco Van Basten
He was probably the second best Dutch player and among the best striker in football's history.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times.  He led Oranje to the victory at Euro 1988 scoring 5 goals at the tournament.  His goal in the Final is considered one of the best in history of the tournament. He started his career with Ajax.  He also won two European Cups with AC Milan, a club team that was considered the best ever.  
Marco Van Basten
ST: Ruud Van Nistelrooy
He was a prolific goal scorer. He won the top scorer award in three different European domestic leagues. He started with PSV Eindhoven.  He spent 5 seasons with Manchester United where he was voted as their best player twice.  With Real Madrid, he finished second as the European Golden Boot.  Van Nistelrooy earned 70 caps and scored 35 goals for the Netherlands. 
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Honorable Mention
Hans Van Breukelen, Piet Keizer, Berry van Aerle, Wesley Sneijder, Johnny Rep, Robin Van Persie, Barry Hulshoff, Jan Wouters, Arie Haan, Wim Jensen, Rob Rensenbrink, Clarence Seedorf, Kees Rijvers, Willy Van De Kerkhof, Marc Overmars, Rafael van der Vaart.

Squad Explanation
-- Piet Keizer and Rob Rensenbrink were the biggest names missing from this team. I decided to select two old-timers(Wilkes and Moulijin) and two younger players (Bergkamp and Robben) over them.   
-- Wesley Sneijder, I felt, had one good season in 2009-2010 where he won the Champions' League with Inter Milan and the Golden Silver Ball at the WC Finals.  His club career in other seasons, however, were marked with a lot of inconsistency. However, I gave him credit for leading Holland to 2nd place at the World Cup Finals in 2010.  In the end, Gullit, Bergkamp, Wilkes, Van Hanegem and Cruyff are ahead of him,,
-- Johnny Rep was left off since a handful of younger players emerged after the 1970's. Liked Keizer and Rensenbrink, he is the most successful name not on this team. 
-- Ruud Van Nistelrooy won the top scorer in three different countries.  Besides, other than Van Basten, Holland does not have another striker better than him.

Starting lineup
I am using the classic 4-3-3 formation from Holland 1974.  However, tactics would be very different.  On paper, Cruyff was moved to the wing, but he would move around the field so it did not matter where he lined up.  Holland 1974 did not have a classic striker in Van Basten.  So I am playing with a target man.  In 1974, Wim Jensen played in the midfield.  I replaced him with Ruud Gullit, a more offensive player than Jensen. This formation would probably reduce Neeskens' movement. He would drop back more often.












Germany Greatest All-time 23-member team





WC 2014


This is my all-time team for Germany. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria.
East German Players after 1990
German Americans/American Germans
German Turks 
German-born Players Capped by Other National Teams
Germany All-Time Team After Beckenbauer
Germany All-Time Team before 1972
East Germany

Germany is the most successful European footballing country.  They won the WC in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.  They finished second in 1966, 1982 and 1986.  They also have the best record at the European Championship.  They won the tournament a record 3 times in 1972, 1980 and 1996, and finished second in 1976 and 2008.  

While West Germany won their first WC in 1954, football in Germany did not become a force until the later 1960's with the emerge of Franz Beckenbauer.  Their moment came when they beat England in the quarterfinal of the 1972 European Championship and went on to win the tournament.  Many historians marked the game as the turning point in football history.  Germany produced great team after great team from 1972 to 1996.  After the Euro 2000, Germany had a brief dark age, but they reemerged as a world power around the WC Finals in 2006.  In 2014, they won their 4th World Cup, beating host Brazil 7-1 in the semifinal.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

West Germany 1990

Team
GK: Sepp Maier
Nicknamed "The cat from Anzing", Maier was considered one of the greatest goalkeeper ever in the 1970's. He had 95 caps for West Germany, winning the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup at home in 1974. For club football, he played his entire career with Bayern Munich. He also won three straight European Cups for Bayern Munich.  He was German Footballer of the Year: 1975, 1977, 1978.

GK: Oliver Kahn
Kahn is one of the most successful German players in recent history.  For Bayern Munich, he won eight Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, both achieved in 2001. For Germany, his heroic performance helped Germany to finish 2nd at Korea/Japan 2002.  He was the Gold Ball winner in that World Cup Finals.   

GK: Toni Schumacher
Schumacher won the 1980 European Championship in Italy and came second at the World Cup finals, in 1982 and 1986.  He was best remembered for a highly controversial incident in the 1982 World Cup semifinal against France when he collided with and seriously injured French defender Patrick Battiston.  He spent the prime of his career with Koln.

RB: Berti Vogts
Nicknamed “Der Terrier”, Vogts was one of the greatest rightback in German history.  He won 5 Bundesliga titles and two UEFA Cups with the great Borussia Mönchengladbach of the 1970's.  He had 95 caps, winning both the World Cup in 1974 and the European Championshipmin 1972. He famously marked Johan Cruyff out of the WC Final in 1974. 

RB/LB/DM: Philipp Lahm
Lahm was the captain of the 2014 World Cup winning team. He had 113 capos for Germany from 2004 to 2014.  For club football, he played his entire career with Bayern Munich, except for a loan spell with VfB Stuttgart. He also won the treble in 2013 when Bayern Munich won the Champions' League, the German Cup and the Bundesliga on the same year.  He was included in the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006 and 2010.  
Philipp Lahm
CB: Jurgen Kohler
Kohler was regarded one of the best defenders in the 1990's.   He earned 105 caps for West Germany/Germany between 1986 and 1998.  He won the World Cup in 1990 and the European Championship in 1996.  For his club career, he played with Koln, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.  He won the Champions' League in 1997 with Borussia Dortmund.  

CB: Karl-Heinz Forster

With West Germany, Forster earned 81 caps. He won the European Championship in 1980, and came 2nd at the WC in both 1982 and 1986.  He was regarded one of the best defenders in the 1980's.  He played with VFB Stuttgart and Marseille.  With Stuttgart, he won a Bundesliga in the 1983–84 season.  He won two league titles in France.

SW/CM: Franz Beckenbauer
He was one of the best ever player in history.  Known as Der Kaiser, he was credited with revolutionizing the sweeper position.  Twice selected European Footballer of the Year, Beckenbauer appeared 103 times for West Germany and played in three FIFA World Cups, winning the WC in 1974 and the European Championship in 1972.  He won three straight European Cup with Bayern Munich in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

Franz Beckenbauer
SW: Matthias Sammer
With Borussia Dortmund as a player, Sammer won the Bundesliga and DFL-Supercup in 1995, the Bundesliga, DFL-Supercup, and European Footballer of the Year in 1996, and the UEFA Champions League and Intercontinental Cup in 1997. He also played for Inter Milan and Dynamo Dresden. With Die Mannschaft  as a player, Sammer won the UEFA Euro 1996, where he was named the tournament's best player, and was subsequently awarded the Ballon d'Or later that year. Sammer retired with 74 total caps, 23 for East Germany and 51 for the unified side.  

LB: Andreas Brehme
He is best remembered for his career with Kaiserslautern and Inter Milan.  He was the Serie A Foreign Player of the Year in 1989, in an era where the best players played in Italy.  He had 86 caps.  He was an important player for West Germany in the 1990 WC Finals, where he scored the winning goal in the Final. He also played in 1986 and 1994 World Cup Finals, and three European Championship.

LB/CM: Paul Breitner

Breitner was the first player to score a goal at two different WC Final match.  From 1971 to 1982, he had 48 caps for West Germany. He won the European Championship in 1972 and then, a the World Cup in 1974. He spent most of his career with Bayern Muinch and went to play for Real Madrid in Spain.  During his club career, Breitner won seven National Championships with Bayern Munich (1972, 1973, 1974, 1980, 1981) and Real Madrid (1975, 1976), the Champions' Cup (1974) as well as the German (1971, 1982) and Spanish Cups (1975). 
Paul Breitner

CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger
He was an important player for both club and country.  He was capped 121 times. He went to three European Championships and as many World Cups, including their victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Schweinsteiger is the youth product of Bayern Munich.  He won the 2013 Champions' league title with Bayern Munich. Late in his career, he played for Manchester United and Chicago Fire.

CM: Lothar Matthaus
Captaining the West German team in winning the WC in 1990.  He was the European Player of the Year and the first ever World Player of the year in 1990. He played in five FIFA World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998), a record for an outfield player, and holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player (25 games). He also won the Euro 1980 in Italy, and played in the 1984, 1988, and 2000 European Championships.
Lothar Matthaus
RW:  Helmut Rahn
Rahn was known as "Der Boss" (English: "The Boss") because of his on-field leadership and occasionally also as "The Cannon from Essen".  He was considered one of the best ever German winger.  His club career was associated with Rot-Weiss Essen.  Capped 40 times.  He was a star of the 1954 WC team.  He scored the winning goal in the final vs Hungary. He also went to the WC Finals in 1958.

RW/AM: Pierre Littbarski  
Littibarski was a major star in the 1980's.  He had over 70 caps and played in three WC Finals with Germany reaching the Final all 3 times, winning his final World Cup in 1990. He spent most of his career with Koln. Littbarski spent most of his playing career at 1. FC Köln, winning the DFB-Pokal once, in 1983, and was three times runner up in the Bundesliga (1982, 1989 and 1990).  He also played in France and Japan.

LW:  Hans Schafer  
He played for 1. FC Köln between 1948 and 1965. He also played for the West Germany, earning 39 caps and scoring 15 goals. He played in three World Cups, in 1954, 1958, and 1962, earning a winner's medal in 1954 and scoring a total of seven goals. Between 1957 and 1962, Schäfer captained Germany 16 times. He was German Player of the Year in 1963. He spent all of his career with Koln.

LM/CM: Wolfgang Overath
Overath was one of the best left midfielders in history,  He won the 1974  WC, where he kept Netzer from the starting lineup. In total he won 81 caps for the national side between 1963 and 1974, scoring 17 goals.  In addition to 1974 World Cup Finals, he also went to the 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals. He spent all of his career with Koln.

CM: Gunther Netzer
Netzer was the star of the great Borussia Mönchengladbach of the 1970's.  He won the European Championship in 1972 and then, the World Cup in 1974.  His best performance, however, was in 1972, where he was the star at the quarterfinal against England.  He later joined Real Madrid in 1973 and outperformed Johan Cruyff's Barcelona in the early 1970's in a period dominated by Real Madrid.
Gunter Netzer
AM/FW: Fritz Walter
Fritz Walter was the captain of the 1954 World Cup winning team.  He had over 60 caps and also went to the 1958 World Cup Finals. He was selected as the UEFA Golden Player for Germany at the 50th anniversary of UEFA in 2004. He played with Kaiserslautern. During the War, he captured as a POW and his life was spared because the guards recognised him as a famous footballer.
Fritz Walter in 1954

FW: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
He was one of the best players in the world during the 1980's.  He was the European Player of the Year in 1980 and 1981.  He won the European Championship in 1980 and was part of the squad that finished runner-up at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He was a young star in Argentina 1978.  He spent the best parts of his club career with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
ST: Uwe Seeler
Seeler was captain of both his club team and the national team for many years. He played in 4 WC Finals(1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970), but sandwiched between Germany's two World Cup winning years(1954 and 1974).  West Germany came second in 1966 and reached the semifinal in 1970 while playing next to Gerd Muller. However, he is still regarded one of Germany's greatest players.  He spent his entire career with SV Hamburger.

ST: Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann won the WC in 1990 and then, captained the 1996 European Championship winning team.  He played in all major international tournaments from 1988 until his retirement in 1998.  He had successful club spells with Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspurs. He was a popular player while in England, despite a lot of negative press at the time of his signing.  He won both the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Player of the Year in 1995.  

ST: Gerd Muller
"Der Bomber" was widely considered to be the best striker in history. He scored 68 goals in 62 matches for Germany.  He scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga appearance, mostly with Bayern Muinch.  He won the WC in 1974 and the European Championship in 1972.  He won three straight European Cup with Bayern Munich in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He was the European Player of the Year in 1970.
Gerd Muller
Honorable Mention
Manuel Neuer, Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, Toni Kroos, Willi Schulz, Manfred Kaltz, Hans Peter Briegel, Paul Janes, Horst Hrubesch, Bernd Schuster, Horst Szymaniak, Guido Buchwald, Fritz Szepan, Michael Ballack, Stefan Effenberg, Helmut Haller, Thomas Hassler, Miroslav Klose, Klaus Fischer, Thomas Muller, Pierre Littbarski, Jürgen Grabowski, Rudi Voller, Thomas Berthold.

Squad Explanation
-- Goalkeepers: Bert Trautmann never played for Germany.  Manuel Neuer is seriously considered for the third spot after win g the WC in 2014.
--  I dropped Karl-Heinz Schnellinger because I already have three leftbacks (Lahm, Brehme and Breitner) and he won't get ahead of Sammer and Beckenbauer on the sweeper position.  I have only two wingers(Rahn and Schafer) on my team so I have to select Lahm and Brehme who could provide width to the offense.  Besides, Lahm can play as a defensive midfielder and both sides of the fullback position. He is more versatile than Schnellinger.
-- I almost took Bernd Schuster, but this team has too many central midfielders. Netzer, Breitner, Overath, Beckenbauer, Sammer and even Lahm can play there.  I also feel the same way about Horst Szymaniak, Guido Buchwald, Fritz Szepan, Michael Ballack and Stefan Effenberg.  Instead, I took an extra wide player; Pierre Littbarski.  He is not as highly rated as the other mentioned here. 
-- Toni Kroos is building a strong career, but it would be difficult to break into the team.
-- The 2014 World Cup team is underrepresented.  I saved a spot for Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was underrated by many. 
-- I almost rewarded Miroslav Klose with a spot on the team for being the WC all-time leading scorer, but his career outside the World Cup Finals was only fair.  Jurgen Klinsmann did much better than him. He was all-time great with both Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspurs.
-- Thomas Muller scored plenty of goals at the WC Finals.  He probably would break Klose's record in Russia.  At this point, he only got an honourable mention.  
-- Horst Hrubesch got honourable mention because he is considered one of the greatest header of the ball.  
Breitner, Becknebauer, Muller and Overath
Starting up 
Formation I: 3-5-2
This formation is based upon the German team of the 1990's.  Lahm started on the team because I needed an offensive-minded wingback.  Matthaus is the box-to-box midfielder, Netzer the creator in the backfield and Walter the attack midfielder. 



 
Formation II: 4-3-3 
West Germany used a 4-3-3 formation in the 1970's and 1980's.  Beckenbauer was actually a box-to-box midfielder for two of his WC Finals he played in. Vogts started ahead of Lahm because the formation does not need a wingback. Rahn played the role of Littibarski at the World Cup in 1982.



Formation III: 4-3-3
For the formation, Overath could also start for Netzer.  And then, Matthaus would move to the right.