Top 10 Teams - Part 1

Top 10 Teams - Part 1

10. Italy 1970 – The same Italian side which humbled a West German team full of Bayern Munich’s finest and some World Cup legends like Franz Beckenbauer, and Gerd Muller, was emphatically beaten by Brazil one match later. But that was in the final, against a Brazil side featuring Pele, Carlos Alberto, Rivelino, Jairzinho, Gerson and Tostao – so there was little to be ashamed of in that. Gigi Riva and co weren’t just there to make up the numbers though, and they played stunning football on their way to the runners-up spot, and if Brazil weren’t Brazil, the Italian national side would be one World Cup trophy better off.

9. Argentina 1978 – On home soil, Argentina taught the world a lesson in the Beautiful Game. With so many shining stars, like Brazil, the Italians and the Netherlands (specialists in Total Football who, in 1978, reached their second consecutive finals), the hosts, coached by Cesar Luis Menotti and filled with heroes such as Mario Kempes, Daniel Passarella, Ossie Ardiles, Daniel Bertoni, Leopoldo Luque and Alberto Tarantini, beat off all competition to become the sixth team to win the World Cup, and the fifth team to be both hosts and champions.

8. Italy 1982 – This team will be remembered for so much, namely the iconic celebration of a tearful Marco Tardelli, the 6 goals of Paolo Rossi (who’d recently returned after a lengthy ban for match-fixing), and their incredible 40 year old goalkeeper/captain Peter Pan (Dino Zoff). They played some masterful football in epic matches, first against Argentina (who won both World Cups either side of this one) and tournament favourites Brazil (Rossi hat-trick) in the second round, and then against West Germany in the final. This victory saw Italy equal Brazil’s record of three World Cups.

7. Brazil 1958 – Few could have predicted the impact on the rest of the world when in 1958, Brazil unleashed a 17 year old known to his parents as Edson and to teammates as Pele. But the impact was almost immediate. Brazil collected their first World Cup that year, making them the first team to win the trophy on a foreign continent. Pele was the youngest player ever to feature in a World Cup. His goal against Wales in the quarter final made him the youngest ever goalscorer, while a hat-trick against France in the semi final made him the youngest player to ever play in a World Cup final. Brazil battered hosts Sweden 5-2 in the final. Young Edson bagged a brace (one of them a candidate for greatest ever goal at a World Cup), and finished as the tournament’s second highest scorer with 6 goals in 4 games. So good was this team, that they retained the trophy four years later in Chile, minus the services of an injured Pele.

6. Argentina 1986 - Cheating and God aside, this team were a joy to behold, and Maradona on this day could make even Leo Messi look like a donkey. By no means a one man team (Maradona scored 5 and created 5 of their total 14 goals), the great one was flanked by the likes of Valdano, Burruchaga, Batista and Ruggeri to name but a few gems, as Argentina went all the way to claim their second World Cup.

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