THE GREATEST TEAMS 

 
In the past 14 tournaments, there have been many good teams.  For example, Uruguay of 1954, England of 1966, Brazil of 1982, France of 1986.  To name a few.  I have selected the following 4 truly magnificent sides.  Rejoice these great teams, the players and their tactics ...
 


HUNGARY'S GOLDEN TEAM - THE MAGICAL MAGYARS

1954 WORLD CUP

"They are the best team I ever played against.  They were the best ever."
Stanley Matthews, England's lengendary winger

 
PLAYERS:  
Puskas, Grosics, Lorant, Hidegkuti, Buzanszky, Lantos, Zakarias, Czibor, Bozsik, Budai, Kocsis
Even more than Pele's Brazil, the Magical Magyars was often referred to as the greatest national team of all-time.  The side contained at least five players that considered as the finest of ever.  Their attack was led by Puskas, the "Galloping Major" and team captain.  Partnering him was Kocsis "the Golden Head".  Hidegkuti was the first player to perfect the deep-lying center-forward role.  Czibor was one of the greatest left-winger of all-time.  Boszik was the a graceful midfielder and master playmaker.  Apart from having great players, Hungary also plays a revolutionary formation, the prototype of Brazil's 4-2-4 four years later. 

Achievement:  Reaching the 1954 World Cup Final after winning the 1952 Olympic and completed a four-year unbeaten run.

TEAM FORMATION / TACTICS

TEAM FORMATION
 4-2-4
GOALKEEPER  
Grosics assumed a new role in goal, sometimes seen racing out of his area to break down counter-attacks as a secondary sweeper.
DEFENCE   
Lorant was the sweeper. Buzanszky was an attacking right-back and Lantos played on the left.  Zakarias was a defensive midfielder but concentrate more in defence than in making play.  

MIDFIELD  
Hidegkuti was the key man of the new tactic.  He was a center-forward but attack from a deep position from forward-midfield, combining with Puskas and Kocsis. Bozsik was the playmaker and the brain of the team.  

ATTACK  
Puskas was the key man in attack, creating and scoring goals.  Kocsis played as the other central striker.  Czibor occupied the left-wing but could also score goals.  Budai played on the right.  Unlike the orthodox wingers, both men would also drop back to help the midfield.


 



 

BRAZIL OF PELE AND GARRINCHA

1958 WORLD CUP

"Individually, the 1958 was the most talented of my time."
Pele

 
 
PLAYERS:  
D.Santos, Zito, Bellini, N.Santos, Orlando, Gilmar, Garrincha, Didi, Pele, Vava, Zagallo 
The 1958 Brazilian team was the only team that can match the Magical Magyars for skill and class.  Brazil's line-up, boosting a 17-year-old Pele and the devastating winger Garrincha, also had other all-time greats.  Didi was perhaps the greatest midfield tactician of all-time.  Vava provided the team with the scoring touch and Zagalo the drive and balance.  In defense, Brazil also had the world's best pair of full-backs in Djalma and Nilton Santos.  Gilmar was the greatest Brazilian goalkeeper of all-time. 

Achievement:  Winning the 1958 World Cup and then the 1962 Cup with a similar squad.


 
 

TEAM FORMATION / TACTICS

TEAM FORMATION
 4-2-4 OR 4-3-3
GOALKEEPER  
Gilmar played in goal.
DEFENCE   
Djalma Santos and Nilton Santos were the attacking full-backs, making overlapping runs to support the attack.  Captain Bellini and Orlando marked zonally.  

MIDFIELD  
Didi was the chief playmaker who build most of the team's attack.  Zito played more or less as defensive half.  Left-winger Zagalo frequently dropped back to help the under-manned midfield. 

ATTACK  
Garrincha sticked to the right winger, beating defenders before providing deadly crosses for Vava. Pele and Vava played as twin center-forwards.



 

BRAZIL'S TEAM OF THE CENTURY

1970 WORLD CUP

PLAYERS:  
Felix, Carlos Alberto, Everaldo, Brito, Piazza, Clodoaldo, Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostao, Pele, Rivelino
The 1970 Brazilian team was the best ever, with a forward line comprised of Pele, Jairzinho and Tostao.  The midfield was run by the master-passer Gerson and the splendid Rivelino.  The strength of their defence could only be rated at averaage, but their attack was so strong that, except in the 1-0 win over England, they always score three or more goals in the tournament.  One fascinating fact about the team was that they fielded 3 superb left-footers - Gerson, Rivelino and Tostao. 

Achievement:  Winning the 1970 World Cup with superb, stylish and attacking football.


TEAM FORMATION / TACTICS

TEAM FORMATION
 4-3-3

GOALKEEPER  
Felix played in goal.

DEFENCE   
Carlos Alberto marshalled the back four from attacking right-back position.  Everaldo performed the same full-back role on the left.  Brito and Wilson Piazza marked zonally.  

MIDFIELD  
Gerson was the playmaker from whom most of the team's attack was build.  Clodoaldo's role was primary defensive but also attack occasionally.  Rivelino played mostly on the left side as a false winger, a role occupied by Zagalo in the previous Brazilian team. 

ATTACK  
Jairzinho occupied the right wing, providing crosses and also cutting inside to score goals.  Tostao was the nominal center-forward but he setup more goals than he score himself. Pele played in attack but would often drop back to "make play".


 HOLLAND'S TOTAL FOOTBALLERS

1974 WORLD CUP

 "Almost the perfect team in 1974, lacking only in goal and at center-half."
Mike Langley, soccer journalist
PLAYERS (regulars are not the same as players shown above): 
Jongbloed, Suurbier, Jansen, Haan, Neeskens, Krol, Van Hanegam, Cruyff, Rep, De Jong, Rensenbrink
Holland was the first team to master Total Soccer strategy Hungary developed in the 50s.  Led by Cruyff in attack, Neeskens in midfield and Krol in defence, they constantly switch positions and bedevils the opposing defences.  The greatest match played was in the semi-fional against Argentina in the pouring rain. 

Achievement:  Reaching the the 1974 World Cup final demostrating a new brand of soccer.

TEAM FORMATION / TACTICS

TEAM FORMATION
 TOTAL SOCCER
GOALKEEPER  
Jongbloed played in goal.
DEFENCE   
Krol was the key player in Holland's defence but he also attack from deep.   Suurbier was crucial in counter-attacks.  

MIDFIELD  
Neeskens was the driving force in midfield with his surging runs.  Van Hanegam provides intelligence and stability in the engine room.  Haan was a threat with his powerful long-range shots. 

ATTACK  
Cruyff was the norminal center-forward but often appears in midfield and the wings to create attacks. Rep plays more in the center and Rensenbrink appears in a number of attacking positions.

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