Tuesday, December 15, 2015

If Yugoslavia went to USA 1994


Yugoslavia at the World Youth Cup, 1987.
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Yugoslavia in the 1990's has the potential to be among the greatest ever.  They won the World Youth Cup in 1987. The squad included several players who later found stardom in club football.  Then, in 1991, Red Star Belgrade won the European Cup.  They had a great run at Euro 1992 Qualifying rounds.  They won 7 out of 8 games and eliminated Denmark.  However, ten days before the tournament, Yugoslavia was banned from playing due to war in the region.  Denmark replaced them and went on to win the European Championship.  

I created a 22-member squad of Yugoslavia for the 1994 World Cup Finals.  This squad probably would be similar to Euro 1992 and 1996 as well. Yugoslavia actually announced an official squad for Euro 1992 before the ban.  Croatia and Slovenia already declared independent in 1991 so the their players were no longer available for selection.  All the Bosnians and Macedonians were also not included because of fighting.  The players I listed below, however, included players from all the former republics.

The year 1994 was a good year for Yugoslavian players.  Dejan Savicevic was among the best player in the world.  Along with Boban, he helped AC Milan to win the Champions' League that year.  Davor Suker finished as the second best scorer at La Liga. Slaven Bilic was voted the second best defender in the Bundesliga. They had the talents to challenge Brazil and Italy for the WC title.


Yugoslavia at World Cup 1990


The Team
GK Drazen Ladic
Ladic was first capped by Yugoslavia in 1991.  He became the starting goalkeeper for Croatia after the independence.  He proved himself to be a great keeper in the WC 1998 Finals, despite giving up two easy goals during the qualifiers.  He spent most of his career with Dynamo Zagreb.

GK: Tomislav Ivkovic
Ivkovic was the starting goalkeeper for Yugoslavia at the WC in Italy.  He left Red Star Belgrade in 1985 to seek for a career in Western Europe.  He played in Austria, Belgium and mostly in Portugal.

GK: Fahrudin Omerovic
Omerović begin his career in FK Sloboda Tuzla.  He spent four seasons playing in Tuzla, when in summer 1984 he was transferred to FK Partizan where he will become the main goalkeeper for the following 8 seasons. With Partizan he won two Yugoslav championships, two Yugoslav Cups, and one Supercup.  He transferred to Kocaelispor in 1992. He played Kocaelispor for 4 years. After he moved to İstanbulspor and played there for 2 years. He was capped eight times for Yugoslavia between 1989 and 1992.

RB: Zoran Mirkovic
Mirkovic was a hero at Partizan before heading to Serie A in 1996.  He spent two seasons with Atalanta and then, secured a big move to Juventus.  In summer 2000, Mirković signed a three-year contract with Fenerbahçe. 

RB/CM Branko Brnovic
Bronovic signed with FK Partizan in 1991, helping the Belgrade club to back-to-back national championships. In 1994, Brnović moved abroad and joined Espanyol in La Liga.  He was capped by Yugoslavia on six occasions. He also appeared during the UEFA Euro 1992 qualifying stage as the national team made it all the way to Sweden, only to be suspended due to the Yugoslav Wars.  Subsequently, Brnović represented the newly formed Serbia and Montenegro, being selected for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.

CB: Slaven Bilic
His career began in 1988 with his hometown club Hajduk Split and he later had successful spells with Karlsruher SC in Germany, and West Ham United and Everton in England before retiring from active football in 2001. At national level, Bilić served as one of Croatia's most consistent defenders during the tenure of coach Miroslav Blažević, earning 44 caps between 1992 and 1999 and playing in UEFA Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup, helping the team to third place at the latter tournament.

CB: Miroslav Djukic
He spent 14 years of his professional career in Spain, notably at the service of Deportivo de La Coruña and Valencia, amassing La Liga totals of 368 games and 11 goals, and winning six major titles for the two clubs combined. He played at Euro 2000 for Yugoslavia.

CB/LB: Sinisa Mihajlovic
He was capped 63 times between 1991 and 2003.  He was one of the best defender in Serie , notably played for Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter Milan.  He was part of the golden generation of Yugoslav players who won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile.

CB: Igor Stimac
He won 53 caps and scoring two goals, and a member of the Croatian squad that came third at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He was also a member of the highly talented Yugoslavia under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. At the club level he played for Hajduk Split and, most notably, Derby County.

CB: Faruk Hadžibegić
He was capped 61 times for Yugoslavia from 1982 to 1992.  He went to the WC Finals in 1990.  He was also the captain of Yugoslavia during the Qualification for Euro 1992. He is the second most capped Bosian player for Yugoslavian national team.

CB: Predrag Spasic
Spasic was the starting centerback at Italia 1990.  Over the course of his career he played for FK Radnicki Kragujevac, FK Partizan, Real Madrid, CA Osasuna, Atlético Marbella and FK Radnički Novi Beograd, retiring at the age of 31.

LB: Robert Jarni 
He was a member of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation of the 1990's.  He went to the WC Finals in 1990 with Yugoslavia and later, represented Croatia at the WC Finals in 1998, where they reached the semifinal.  Professionally, he had played in big clubs such as Juventus and Real Madrid. 


Jarni
CB/LB: Ilija Najdoski
He played for Red Star Belgrade and was part of their European Cup victory in 1991. He also played in Spain for Real Valladolid in Spain's La Liga and Denizlispor in Turkey's Super Lig.

DM:  Srečko Katanec 
In 1988 he joined VfB Stuttgart. This team reached UEFA Cup finals in 1989 and lost against Diego Maradona's Napoli. He stayed in Germany only one season. In 1989 he signed for Italian Sampdoria and already at his first season there he won European Cup Winners' Cup. In 1991, his Sampdoria won a "Scudetto", next year it reached Champions League finals and lost against FC Barcelona.  He played for both Yugoslavia and Slovenia national teams.

CM: Vladimir Jugovic
He was a member of Red Star Belgrade that won the European Cup in 1990.  He won another one with Juventus in 1996. He played at Euro 2000 and the World Cup 1998 for Yugoslavia.

AM/CM: Zvonimir Boban
He was the captain of the national team that finished third at the World Cup in 1998.  He was also an important player of the highly talented Yugoslavia under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. He waas also remembered for his career with AC Milan with whom he won four Serie A and one UEFA Champions League titles. 

AM: Robert Prosinecki
He was considered one of the most talented players from Yugoslavia in the 1990's.  In 1987, Prosinečki was named the tournament's best player as Yugoslavia won the World Youth Championship.  He then played for Yugoslavia at the 1990 World Cup and for Croatia at Euro 96 and the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.  For his club career, he played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but he failed to establish himself at neither club.

AM: Dragan Stojkovic
He is considered one of the best players in the history of Yugoslavian and Serbian football. He starred for Yugoslavia at the 1990 FIFA World Cup (where he was named in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998 FIFA World Cup where he captained the team. He was a star player at Red Star Belgrade, but he was playing for Marseille when Red Star Belgrade beat Marseille in the 1990 Final of the European Cup.


Stojkovic


AM: Dejan Savicevic 
He was a part of the Red Star Belgrade team that won the 1990–91 European Cup before joining A.C. Milan in 1992. With Milan, he won three Serie A titles and the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League. He represented Yugoslavia at the 1990 and 1998 FIFA World Cups.


Savicevic 
ST: Davor Suker 
He was a part of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He later played for Croatia, where he is the all-time leading scorer.  He is best remembered for finishing the top scorer at the WC in 1998, where Croatia reached the semifinal.

ST:  Predrag Mijatović
He is best remembered for scoring the winning goal against Juventus as Real Madrid won the 1998 Champions' league, its first title since 1966.  He played 73 times for Yugoslavia.  In 1997, Mijatović was runner-up for the Ballon d'Or, behind Ronaldo and ahead of Zinedine Zidane.


Mijatović 
ST:  Alen Boksic
He won the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League, and was voted fourth in the 1993 European Footballer of the Year poll. That same year, he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year. He also won two Serie A titles in 1997 and 2000 with Juventus and Lazio respectively, and is regarded as one of the best foreign players in the history of Serie A since 1980's.  He played for both Yugoslavia and Croatia.  He missed the 1998 World Cup Finals due to an injury.

Honorable mention
Zvonko Milojevic, Dzoni Novak, Zoran Vulic, Darko Milanic, Vujadin Stanojkovik, Budimir Vujacic, Davor Jozić, Slavisa Jokanovic, Aljoša Asanović, Mehmed Baždarević, Zlatko Zahovič , Dejan Petković, Vladan Lukic, Mario Stanic, Safet Susic, Darko Pancev.

Too young for 1994, but strong candidates for 1998 and 2000
Ivca Kralj, Dejan Stankovic, Igor Tudor, Savo Milošević, Darko Kovačević, Dario Šimić,  Niko Kovac, Robert Kovac.

Squad Explanation
-- I chose to select a squad for 1994 because the World Cup would be more interesting.  Most of the players were in their prime that year.  
-- In 1992, players such as Suker, Jarni, Boban, Boksic, etc were too young.  
-- Dejan Savicevic was among the best player in the world.  Along with Boban, he helped AC Milan to win the Champions' League that year.
-- Suker finished as the second top scorer at La Liga.  
-- Robert Prosinecki was a flop with Real Madrid.  He left the club that summer, but Yugoslavia would probably still take him to USA 1994 based on his name recognition.
--  Darko Pancev had out of form for a few years.  He went on loan to Leipzig.  Mijatović  and Zuker were in top shape that season.  Boksic was a star the season before.  He helped Marseille to win the Champions' League in 1993 and finished fourth at Ballon d' Or in 1993.  He was out of form in 1993-94 season, but he was still a big name as compared to Pancev.  So I dropped Pancev.  

Starting lineup




-- Bilic was voted the best centerback in Bundesliga at the conclusion of 1993-1994 season.
-- I opted to start two, younger midfielders.  Boban just won the Champions' League with Milan in 1994.  Jugovic was a top player in Italy as well.  I picked them over Katanec.
-- Sinisa Mihajlovic was out of form that season. 
-- Zuker was the second top-scorer at La Liga while Boksic was out of form with Lazio and scored only 4 goals that season.  


Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

All-time Team Index



All-Time Team Index
I have create all-time teams for both national teams, regional/specailised teams and club teams.  The national teams are 23-member, the official number of players each team carried to the World Cup Finals.  The club teams are 25 members, the official number of players each team registered for the Champions' League.

Western Europe
GermanyItalyHollandPortugalAustria 
SwitzerlandBelgiumFranceSpain.

British Isles
EnglandScotlandWales,
Ireland/Northern Ireland combined team,
IrelandNorthern Ireland,
United Kingdom.

The Balkans(Southeast Europe)
BulgariaRomaniaTurkey,
Former Yugoslavia(all republics),
Former Yugoslavia without Croatia and Serbia,
Yugoslavia 1994,
Serbia Croatia,
The rest of Southeast Euorpe(Greece, Turkey and Albania).

The Former Soviet Union
Soviet UnionRussiaUkraine,
The former Soviet Union without (Ukraine and Russia).

Central/East Europe
PolandCzechoslovakiaHungary.

Scandinavia
SwedenDenmark. 
Scandinavia excluding Sweden and Denmark.


South American(CONMEBOL)
South America without Brazil and Argentina.
ArgentinaBrazilUruguayPeruColombia,
ChileParaguay
Ecuador/Bolivia/Venezuela Combined Team.

North America(CONCACAF)
USAMexicoCosta Rica.
CONCACAF without Costa Rica, US and Mexico.
Canada or Canadian born Players

Asia
AustraliaSaudi ArabiaIran.
ChinaJapanSouth Korea.
East AsiaWest and Central Asia.


Africa
GhanaCameroonNigeriaSouth Africa,
AlgeriaMoroccoEgypt.
North AfricaThe Rest of Africa.

Oceania
Oceania  

Other all-team specialized or regional teams:

Argentina
Argentine-born players capped by other national teams
What if Argentina sent this team to Sweden 1958

Brazil
Sao Paulo StateRio de Janeiro
North/Northeastern BrazilSouth/Southeastern Brazil
Brazilian-born players capped by other national teams
Afro-Brazlian Players

England
Greater London
North East EnglandNorthWest England.
Black English players.
United Kingdom 1970.
United Kingdom 1982

France
South France.
Players born in the Overeseas Department and former French Colonies
French Black Players 
French Players Capped by Other National Teams

Germany
North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria.
East German Players after 1990
German Americans/American Germans
German Turks 
German-born Players Capped by Other National Teams


Holland
Surnamese-Dutch Bext XI.
North HollandSouth Holand.
The rest of Holland excluding North and South Holland.

Italy
Italian diaspora
Southern ItalyCentral Italy.
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy.

Spain
BasqueCataloniaCastile.

United States
African American PlayersGerman Americans/American Germans
Hispanic/Latino American Players

Others

Polish diaspora.
IYugoslavia went to USA 1994.
Black Portuguese Players


Club Teams
This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

La Liga (Spain)
Real MadridBarcelonaValencia,
Atletico MadridSevillaAtletic Bilbao, 
Deportivo La Coruna  Real Sociedad,
Real BetisReal Zaragoza.

Serie A (Italy)
AC MilanJuventusInter Milan,
RomaLazioTorinoNapoliFiorentina,
SampdoriaGeonaBolognaParma.

Primership(England)
Manchester UnitedLiverpoolArsenal,
ChelseaTottenhamManchester CityEverton,
Aston VillaNewcastle UnitedNottingham Forest.

Bundesliga (Germany)
Bayern MunichBorussia Dortmund,
Borussia MönchengladbachSchalke 04Werder Bremen,
Hamburger SVKaiserslauternBayer Leverkusen
FC KolnVfB Stuttgart

Ligue 1 (France)
Olympique de MarseilleParis Saint-Germain
Olympique LyonnaisAS MonacoNantes
Saint-ÉtienneGirondins de Bordeaux.

Primeira Liga (Portugal)
BenficaPortoSporting SP.

Eredivisie (Holland)
Ajax AmsterdamPSVFeyenoord.

Other European Clubs
CelticGlasglow Rangers 
GalatasarayFenerbahçe SKBeşiktaş.

Argentine Primera Division
Boca JuniorsRiver PlateIndependienteEstudiantes de La Plata
San Lorenzo Racing ClubVelez Sarsfield.

Brasileirão
SantosFlamengoSao PaulolCorithiansBotafogo
Vasco Da GamaPalmeirasInternacional
FluminenseGremioCruzeiroAtlético MineiroBahia.

South America
OlimpiaPeñarolClub Nacional

Rest of the World
NY CosmosLA GalaxyDC United,
University of VirginiaUCLA.
South China AAEastern AASeiko SA



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Basque All-time 23 member team


Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

The Basque country is the homeland of the Basque people.  It consists areas that are parts of Spain and France.  The Basque footballers have been capped by many countries. Athletic Bilbao is the symbol of Basque nationalism.  It is one of the most successful clubs in Spain.  It has an unwritten rule that the club only fields Basque players.  This is my All-Time 23 member team for the Basque people.  I am including Basque players who were capped by other countries.  

 

I have also created all-teams for Castile and CataloniaMy all team 23 member team for Spain is here.

 

Team 
GK: Andoni Zubizarreta (Spain)
Represented La Roja in 4 World Cup Finals. He was at one point Spain's cap record holder.  He won Barcelona's first ever Champions' League in 1992.

GK: José Ángel Iribar
Iribor spent his entire career with Athletic Bibao.  He played over 600 games in a 18 year career.  He was Spain's starting keeper at the European Championship as Spain won their first ever major trophy.

GK: Luis Arconada
He played his entire career with Real Sociedad, capturing back-to-back La lira titles from 1980 to 1982.  He was capped 68 times, helping Spain to reach the Euro 1984 Final.  His blunder in the Final caused Spain to lose in that Final.


RB: José Orue
He was a long-time footballer for Atletic Bilboa during the 1950's.  At the time of writing, he is their fourth most appearance record for the club. He earned 3 caps for Spain.


CB:  Andoni Goikoetxea
Nicknamed "The Butcher" for his style of play, Goikoetxea.  He played mainly for Atletic Bilboa, but also with Atletico Madrid.  He was a part of Javier Clemente's Bilboa team that won back-to-back league title from 1982 to 1984.  However, he was best remembered for almost ending Diego Maradona's career with a tackle in 1983.  A year later, he became the focal point of the infamous brawl between Barcelona and Atletic Bilboa at the Final of Copa del Rey.  

CB:  Jacinto Quincoces
One of the greatest defenders of the pre-war era.. He won the first ever title for Real Madrid in 1930.

CB:  Jesús Garay
Rated among the best ever centre-back to be capped for Spain, Garay went to the WC Finals in 1962.  He spent 10 seasons with Atletic Bilboa and then, Barcelona.

CB: Rafael Alkorta
Alkorta played for Atletic Bilboa and Real Madrid.  At Real Madrid, he won two La Liga titles.  He went to the WC Finals in 1990, 1994 and 1998.

LB:  Bixente Lizarazu (France)
Bixente Lizarazu was the leftback for the all-conquering French team of 1998 and 2000.  He was also a star at Bayern Munich for 9 seasons. He won the Champions' League in 2001. He is a Basque and played for Atletico Bilbao.



Bixente Lizarazu 
DM/LB: Jose Maria Zarraga (Spain)
From 1951 to 1961, he played for Real Madrid.  He won 11 major trophies, including 5 European Cups.  He played in the Finals.  he made 8 appearance with Spain and once as the captain.

LB:  Agustin Aranzabal (Spain)
From 1993 to 2004, he starred for Real Sociedad.  He moved to Zaragoza in 2004.  He had 28 caps.

DM: Ignacio Zoco (Spain)
Best remembered for his 12 seasons with Real Madrid. He was a member of the Ye Ye team of Real Madrid that defined an era in Spanish football.  He won the 1966 European Cup with the club.  He was capped 20 times for Spain, winning Euro 1964.

DM:  Didier Deschamps (France)
He was only the second captain in history to lift the three big trophies: the Champions League trophy, the World Cup trophy and the European Championship trophy.  The prime of his career was spent with Marseille and Juventus, where he won a Champions League for each club.

CM: Xabi Alonso  (Spain)
Xabi Alonso started with Real Sociedad.  He won Champions' League trophies with both Liverpool and Real Madrid.  He was a key member of the Spanish team that the WC and two European Championships.  His 114 caps make him the fifth most capped player in the nation's history.

Xabi Alonso

AM/RM: Gaizka Mendieta (Spain)
Mendieta was a big star while playing for Valencia between 1993 and 2001.  He led them to back-to-back Champions' League Final in 2000 and 2001.  He moved to Lazio in 2001, but he failed to find his form.  Then, he played one season with Barcelona, where the club only ranked 6th.  He would also play with Middesbrough FC. He earned 40 caps.

LW: Agustin Gainza (Spain)
He spent his entire career with Athletic Bilbao, winning 10 major titles.  He won 33 caps and was the captain of Spain in the WC 1950, where they finished 4th.

FW/RW: Joseba Etxeberria (Spain)
Etxeberria started his career with Real Sociedad, but moved to Athletic Bilbao in 1995, breaking the transfer record for an under 18 player in Spain.  He was capped 53 times.

AM/ST:  Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
His career in Europe started slowly.  He played poorly for Manchester United, but his career took off after heading to Spain in 2004.  He was two-time European Golden Shoe winner in 2004-2005 and then, 2008-2009.  He won the Golden Ball at South Africa 2010, where Uruguay finished 4th.  His best years were with Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.


Diego Forlan


ST: Mundo (Spain)
Mundo is the highest scorer in Valencia's history and remained one of the top scorers in La Liga's history.  He started his career with Athletic Bilbao, playing a single game before the Spanish Civil War cut short his stay.  He played for Valencia after the War.

ST: Rafael Moreno Aranzadi "Pichichi" (Spain)
The award for la Liga top-scorer is named after him.  He scored 240 goals in 170 matches for Athletic Bilbao.


ST: Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
Born in France of an Argentinian player Jorge Higuain, Gonzalo first starred for River Plate in Argentina.  He joined Real Madrid in 2006.  He became a fan's favourite after scoring the winning goal against Espanyol on his debut season.  He would stay with the club until 2013.  For the national team, he earned 52 caps.  He was brought into the national team after Argentina struggled to qualify for South Africa 2010.


Gonzalo Higuain
ST: Isidro Langara (Spain)
Langara was a star player with Real Oviedo before the start of the Spanish Civil War.  After the War, he became an exile playing for San Lorenzo in Argentina. He scored 110 goals in 121 games.  In 1940, he was the league's joint-top scorer. In 1943, he moved to p=lay for Real Espana in Mexico.  He was the league's top scorer.  In 1946, he returned to Spain and played fro Real Oviedo again.

ST: Telmo Zarra (Spain)
Athletic Bilbao's greatest player.  He won the Pichichi award 6 times. He owned many scoring records in Spain.  He was capped 20 times and scored 20 goals for Spain.


Telmo Zarra


Honorable Mention:
Ivan Campo, Aitor Karanka, Agustin Aranzabal Jose Ramon Alexanko, Leonardo Cilaurren, Jose Mari Bakero, Estanisiao Argote, Luis Regueiro, Bata, Javi Martinez, Antoine Griezmann, Fernando Llorente, Dani, Ion Andoni Goikoetxea,  Urrutti  Alonso, Ignacio Eizaguirre, Jose Eulogio Garate, Julio Salinas, Cesar Azpilicueta. Asier del Horno, Agustín Gaínza.

Squad Explanation
-- Basque has a strength in keepers. Juan Alonso, Urrutti and Ignacio Eizaguirre were great keepers, but could not make the cut.
-- Joseba Etxeberria was selected for his commitment to Atletico Bilboa, which is considered to be liked the real national team of Basque.
-- I only brought two fullbacks.  I felt Asier del Horno and Cesar Azpilicueta have not done enough.  Instead, I selected Jose Maria Zarraga was a key member of Real Madrid of the 1950's.  He could play as a left back.
-- Leonardo Cilaurren deserved a spot.

Starting lineup
Basque has a number of great strikers, but Diego Forlan proved himself at the WC Finals, the highest stage in football.