Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holland 2002

Holland 2002 vs Germany

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Holland All-Time 23 member team
Surnamese-Dutch
North HollandSouth Holand
The rest of Holland excluding North and South Holland
Holland After Johan Cruyff
If Argentina sent this team to 1958 World Cup
France 1994
Yugoslavia 1994

This is my selection of the Dutch National Team for the World Cup Finals in 2002.

Ajax won the UEFA Champions' League in 1995.  That team was considered one of the greatest club teams ever assembled.  The tournament also marked the beginning of a new Golden Generation for Holland.  The Dutch national team found successes at the World Cup Final 1998 and the European Championship in 2000, reaching the semi-final before getting eliminated by penalty shootouts.  They were perceived to be a dark horse for the World Cup Finals in 2002.  Unfortunately, they failed to qualify.  Two years later, Holland also managed to reach the semifinal of Euro 2004. So the code of the 2002 team reached three semifinals of a major tournament in a 6 year span.
Holland vs USA 2002

Team
GK: Edwin Van Der Sar 
The most capped player in Holland's history.  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: Sander Westerveld

Westerveld's first professional match was for FC Twente in 1994. After two seasons there he moved to Vitesse Arnhem. He was sold to Liverpool becaming the most expensive goalkeeper in British football for a reported fee of £4 million during the summer of 1999.  At Liverpool, he found little successes.  Late in his career, he played for various clubs.  He earned 6 caps attending Euro 2000 and 2004.

GK: Ronald Waterreus
He started his career in 1992 playing for Roda JC. After joining PSV Eindhoven in 1994, he established as a top keeper in Holland.  He later played for  Manchester City, Rangers, AZ Alkmaar and New York Red Bulls.  Capped 7 times.  He went to Euro 2004 as a backup.

RB: Michael Reiziger 
He was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League with Ajax in 1995.  After a brief stint with AC Milan, he moved to Barcelona in 1997.  He was capped 70 times for Holland.

RB: Mario Melchiot
Melchiot started his career in the youth system at Ajax.  he later played for Chelsea, Birmingham City, Rennes, Wigan and Umm Salal. He was capped 22 times from 2000 to 2008.  He appeared in Eyuro 2008.

CB:  Jaap Stam 
He 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. 
Jaap Stam 

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/CB: Wilfred Bouma
He won 37 caps for Holland.  He played in three European Championship: 2004, 2008 and 2012.  From 1994 to 2005, he played for PSV.  In 2005, he moved to Aston Villa, where he had a successful career before returning to PSV.

CB: Kevin Hofland
In 1997, Hofland made his Eredivisie debut with Fortuna.  he went on to play for PSV, Wolfsburg, Feyenoord and AEK Larnaca FC. Earned 7 caps.

LB: Arthur Numan 
Numan started with  Haarlem and Twente before making a name with PSV.  he played for them between 1992 and 1998.  Then, he joined Ranger in Scotland.  Numan was capped 45 times. He was a key defender at the WC Finals in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.

LB/DM:  Giovanni Van Bronckhorst 
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 with Feyenoord, Arsenal and Rangers.

DM: Mark van Bommel 
In Holland, his career was associated PSV, where he had two separated stints.  However, his most famous part of his career was spent with Bayern Munich. He was their first ever non-German captain.  He played 79 times for Holland and was a main player as Holland reached the Final of South Africa 2010. 

CM: Edgar Davids
Nicknamed "the Pitbull", he 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 WC Finals in 1998 when Holland reached the semi-final. He also spent 7 seasons with Juventus at the height of his career.
Edgar Davids

CM: Phillip Cocu 
He started his professional career at AZ.  He played for Vitesse Arnhem, PSV Eindhoven, FC Barcelona and Al Jazira. With 101 caps, Cocu is fifth on the list of most Dutch international appearances.  He also played at the 1998 and 2006 World Cup, as well as the 1996, 2000 and 2004 European Championships. 

CM/LM: Clarence Seedorf
Seedorf is the first player to win three Champion League titles with 3 different clubs. He was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League in 1995.  In 1996, he moved to Real Madrid, where he quickly established himself as a star.  He would win two Champions League title there.  He later played for both AC Milan and Inter Milan.  He was a key player for the Dutch national team.
Clarence Seedorf
LW/RW: Marc Overmars 
Known for his speed, Overmars was a member of the youthful Ajax team that won the European cup in 1995. He moved to Arsenal in 1997, where he starred playing under Arsene Wenger.  He won the Double in 1997-1998.  He later moved to Barcelona and Go Ahead Eagles. His career with Oranja lasted from 1993 to 2004, and was an important player.  He won the Best Young Player Award at USA 1994. 

RW: Andy van der Meyde
After making a name for himself at Ajax from 1997 to 2003, he went on to represent Inter Milan and Everton, his spell at the latter club being cut short due to several problems, both on and off the pitch.  He also had an unsuccessful spells with PSV. He earned 7 caps.  He was a key player at Euro 2004, but seldom received a call up after that tournament. 
Andy van der Meyde

LW: Boudewijn Zenden
Named the 1997 Dutch Football Talent of the Year, Zenden played for four teams in the English Premier League, totalling 180 games and 19 goals. He also played in the highest leagues in the Netherlands, Spain and France, for PSV, Barcelona and Marseille respectively. Internationally, Zenden earned 54 caps and scored seven goals for the Netherlands, whom he represented at two UEFA European Championships and the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

FW: Ronald de Boer
On the professional club level, De Boer played for Ajax (1988–91 and 1993–99), Twente (1991–93), Barcelona (1999–2000), Rangers (2000–04), Al-Rayyan (2004–05) and Al-Shamal (2005–08). In both Qatari clubs, he was reunited again with his twin brother Frank, his teammate at Ajax, Barcelona and Rangers.  De Boer won 67 caps and scored 13 goals for the Netherlands national team. He played for the Netherlands in the 1994 and the 1998 World Cups, where he played in six matches and scored two goals. He missed a penalty in the penalty shootout against Brazil in the 1998 semi-finals. De Boer also played in Euro 1996 and Euro 2000.

ST: Roy Makaay 
Makaay played for Vitesse and  CD Tenerife before becoming a big star with Deportivo La Coruna.  He helped them to win their first ever La Liga title in 1999-2000.  In 2002-2003, he scored 29 goals and became the European Golden Boot winner.  In 2003, he moved to Bayern Muinch.  He won two Bundesliga title.  For the national team, he was only capped 43 times, largely because he was playing at the same time as Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kuivert and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

ST: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
He was late bloomer where he played with smaller clubs until he moved to Portugal in 1995.  His best stint was probably in England with Leeds United and Chelsea.  He was the Premier League Golden Boot winner in both 1998-1999. 2000-2001.  He only played 23 times because of Holland loaded with forwards during the peak of his career.

ST: Patrick Kluivert 
The teenage star of the great Ajax team of 1995.  He was also a star with Barcelona.  He joined Milan in 1997, but he quickly left for Barcelona a season later.  He had a relatively successes at the club, but left for Newcastle United in 2004.  His career was never the same due to injuries.  He was an important part of the national team from 1996 to 2004.  However, his career was shortened due to various issues.

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


Players' Pool
Rafael van der Vaart, Paul Bosvelt, Patrick Paauwe, Denny Landzaat, George Boateng, Victor Sikora, Pierre van Hooijdonk, , Fernando Ricksen, AndrĂ© Ooijer.

Squad Explanation
-- I did not look deep enough to study the injury situation in the summer of 2002.
-- In 2002, Fernando Ricksen played frequently for Holland, but he held a single cap before the end of the World Cup Qualifiers. Mario Melchiot played more during the World Cup Qualifiers.  Melchior might have gone to the WC Finals if Holland qualified.  
-- Kevin Hofland was a key player during the World Cup Qualifiers.  I feel that he would have gone ahead of AndrĂ© Ooijer.
-- Rafael van der Vaart made his debut for Holland in 2001.  So he was in the player pool, but he was injured before the WC Finals.  Both Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben made their debut in 2003.
-- Andy van der Meyde made his international debut in the summer of 2002.  He was a star back with his club in 2001-2002 season.  In the summer of 2002, we would not know what would happen to his career. He would have been a key player in the 2002 WC Finals.  
-- Pierre van Hooijdonk might have picked up more caps than Hasselbaink and Makaay, but I often preferred them over him.  I always feel van Hooijdonk's career was limited by not playing for a bigger club.  His exposure to fans outside that region was limited.

Formation
Numan was the preferred choice over Van Bronckhorst in 2002, but I decided to play Edgar Davids who was a bigger name than van Bommel in 2002.  Cocu played frequently throughout that period so he got the start. Seedorf also did not play much for the national team during that period. So I started Zenden.






Saturday, November 11, 2017

Holland All-Time Team After Johan Cruyff


Euro 1988

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Holland All-Time 23 member team
Surnamese-Dutch
North HollandSouth Holand
The rest of Holland excluding North and South Holland
Holland 2002

This is my selection of Holland All-Time Team after Johan Cruyff's retirement in 1984.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

Before the arrival of Johan Cruyff, Holland was not considered a power in soccer.  The period was actually known as "BC" (Before Cruyff).  However, this blog post is about the Dutch players after Cruyff's retirement in 1984. All members of this team earned their first cap after 1984.


Holland reached the WC Final in 2010
Team
GK: Edwin Van Der Sar 
The most capped player in Holland's history.  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: Hans Van Breukelen 
He started his career with FC Utrecht and then, Nottingham Forest.  He moved to PSV in 1984, where he became a star.  For the nnational team, he was a fixture since 1980.  However, he helped the Oranje to reach a major touranemt until in 1988, where they won the first ever trophy for the national team.

GK: Maaten Skekelenburg 
He was better known for his career with Ajax from 2002 and 2011. He was the backup keeper to Edwin Van de Sar during WC 2006 and Euro 2008.  He was the starting keeper as Oranje reached the WC Final in 2010.  
Maaten Skekelenburg

RB: Berry van Aerle
Van Aerle spent 13 years with PSV Eindhoven, helping them to five leagues, which he helped capture the 1988 European Cup.  For the national team, he helped Holland to win Euro 1988.  He was also selected for the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1992. 

RB: Michael Reiziger
He was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League with Ajax in 1995.  After a brief stint with AC Milan, he moved to Barcelona in 1997.  He was capped 70 times for Holland.

CB:  Ronald Koeman 
Koeman was the rock solid sweeper of Holland 1988.  He was capped 78 times. He also won two European Cups, one each for PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona.  He scored the winning goal for Barcelona's victory in 1992. The Cup was Barcelona's first ever European Cup.  In Holland, he played for the big three, namely Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.

CB:  Jaap Stam 
He 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. Stam had 67 caps.  He was also an important player in the Dutch team that finished fourth in the 1998 World Cup. During UEFA Euro 2000, he once again reached the semi-finals with the Dutch team,  but he missed an important penalty kick in the penalty shootout in the semi-finals, which led to defeat against Italy. Stam reached his third semi-finals in an international competition with his nation at Euro 2004 in Portugal 
Jaap Stam 

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.

CB/RB: John Heitinga 
Heitinga belonged to the same generation of Ajax players as Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart.  He later played for Atletico Madrid, Everton and Fulham. He was a regular member national team from Euro 2004 to Euro 2012.  He was the starting centre-back in 2010 as Oranje reached the WC Final in South Africa.

LB/DM:  Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
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.  He won the 1988 European Championship in West Germany, and then, played 5 seasons with AC Milan when Milan was considered the greatest club team in the world.  In 1995, he led a young Ajax team to their famous Champions' League victory. 
Frank Rijkaard

CM: Edgar Davids
Nicknamed "the Pitbull", he 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 WC Finals in 1998 when Holland reached the semi-final. He also spent 7 seasons with Juventus at the height of his career.

CM/LM: Clarence Seedorf
Seedorf is the first player to win three Champion League titles with 3 different clubs. He was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League in 1995.  In 1996, he moved to Real Madrid, where he quickly established himself as a star.  He would win two Champions League title there.  He later played for both AC Milan and Inter Milan.  He was a key player for the Dutch national team.
Clarence Seedorf

LW/RW: Marc Overmars 
Known for his speed, Overmars was a member of the youthful Ajax team that won the European cup in 1995. He moved to Arsenal in 1997, where he starred playing under Arsene Wenger.  He won the Double in 1997-1998.  He later moved to Barcelona and Go Ahead Eagles. His career with Oranja lasted from 1993 to 2004, and was an important player.  He won the Best Young Player Award at USA 1994. 

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.  For the national team, he helped Holland to reach the WC Final in 2010 and then the semi-final in 2014. He also played with Real Madrid.
Arjen Robben

AM: Rafael van der Vaart 
Van der Vaart began his career at AFC Ajax's youth academy and worked his way into the first team. He moved to Bundesliga club Hamburger SV, then to Real Madrid, then on to Tottenham Hotspur before returning to Hamburg in 2012. He earned 109 caps for the Netherlands between 2001 and 2013. He represented the nation at three European Championships and two World Cups.

AM: Wesley Sneijder 
Sneijder emerged from the Ajax Academy before making to the first team in 2002.  He moved to Real Madrid in 2007, where he won a La Liga title in 2006-2007.  He also won a Champions' League title with Inter Milan in 2009-2010.  At the time of writing, he has 114 caps for Holland.  He was the star player for Holland as they reached the Final of South Africa 2010. He won the Silver Ball.  He moved to Galatasaray in 2013.
Wesley Sneijder
FW/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: 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.  He started with Ajax and played for Inter Milan.  He also had a successful career with Arsenal. 

Dennis Bergkamp


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.  He started his career with Ajax.  He also won two European Cups with AC Milan.  

Marco Van Basten

ST: Robin Van Persie 
Van Persie started with Feyenoord, but spent the cream of his career playing in England for Arsenal and Manchester United. He spent 8 seasons with Arsenal, winning both PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Player of the Year in 2011-2012.  Immediately after winning the two awards, he made a controversial transfer to rival Manchester United after the season. He won the Premiership in his first season with Manchester United.  At the time of writing, he has earned 98 caps.  He was a key player for the Oranje from the WC Finals 2006 to now.

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
Ed de Goey, Wim Jonk, Joris Mathijsen, Wilfred Bouma, Adri van Tiggelen, Boudewjan Zenden, Patrick Kluivert, Jan Wouters, Dirk Kuyt, John van 't Schip, Bryan Roy, Aaron Winter, Phillip Cocu, Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Ben Wijnstekers, Arnold Muhren, Roy Makaay, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Pierre van Hooijdonk.

Sqaud Explanation
-- Cruyff supposed to be on the 1978 World Cup team.  All members of that team are considered to be Cruyff's generation.
-- Holland 1988 was under represented here, I admitted. Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Berry van Aerle, Ronald Koeman and Van Breukelen were the players here from that team.
-- Ed de Goey might have been better than Maaten Skekelenburg, but I took Skekelenburg based on the 2010 World Cup run. I gave him credit for helping Holland to reach the WC final.
-- Ben Wijnstekers made honorable mention. 
-- I dropped Arthur Numan.  I climbed only 7 defenders. Frank De Boer served as the emergency left back.  Instead, I took two more attackers.
-- In 2010, Wesley Sneijder was playing liked a Ballon d'or winner in the Champions League and the World Cup Finals.
-- Patrick Kluivert's career faded quickly after he joined Barcelona. He was not seriously considered to be the 23 member team. The careers of Roy Makaay, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Pierre van Hooijdonk were limited by playing in the same generation of Kluivert and Van Nistelrooy.  Klaas-Jan Huntelaar picked up over 70 caps, but he was not rated as good as some of the names mentioned.
-- Robin Van Persie edged out John van 't Schip, Bryan Roy and Aaron Winter for the last spot on the team.  He was the best player in the Premiership for at least a year.  It was an accomplishment that others could not match.

Formation








Monday, November 6, 2017

Italy All-Time Team after 1982


World Cup 2006

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Italy All Time Team
Italian diaspora
Southern ItalyCentral Italy,
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy
Italy between 1938 and 1982
 
Italy waited 44 years before winning the 1982 World Cup.  That summer, Serie A also relaxed its policy on foreign players.  The best players in the world all went to play over there.  For over 20 years, the league became one of the best in the world.  

This is my selection of Italy All-Time Team after Italy's World Cup victory in 1982.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.


Itatly 1994

Team 
GK: Gianluigi Buffon
Considered to be one of the greatest keeper ever.  He made his Serie A debut at the age of 17.  He earned his first cap when he was 19.  His biggest achievement must be winning the WC 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.
Gianluigi Buffon
GK: Walter Zenga 
Zenga was considered one of Italy's greatest keepers.   He played 58 times for Italy, notably at the 1990 WC Finals in Italy. He had five clean sheet, a total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal, a record still standing in the WC Finals.  He played mainly for Inter Milan.

GK: Gianluca Pagliuca 
He made his name with Sampdoria, winning the league in 1990-1991 and reaching the European Cup's final in 1992.  In 1994, Inter Milan broke the world transfer record for a keeper to sign him.  While at Inter, he reached UEFA Cup Final twice, winning it in 1997-1998.  For the national team, he was the starting keeper at both USA 1994 and France 1998.  

RB/LB: Gianluca Zambrotta  
He was one of the best fullbacks in his prime.  He could play both rightback and leftback. He was a member of the 2006 WC winnin team.  He was selected to the team of the tournament.  He played mainly with Juventus. 

RB: Christian Panucci 
Panucci's breakout season was the season 1993-1994, when he played 19 games for AC Milan and won the 1994 Champions' League.  The highlight of his career was perhaps his three seasons with Real Madrid.  He helped them to win the Champions' League in 1998.  His longest stint was, however, with Roma.  He had 57 caps with Italy, but his career was very rocky.  He never secured a regular place with the team.
Christian Panucci 
SW: Ciro Ferrara 
He was considered one of the best defenders in the world during his  prime.  However, his career with the Azzurri was limited by the same period with  Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Mauro Tassotti, Pietro Vierchowod, Riccardo Ferri, Giuseppe Bergomi, Gianluca Pessotto, Paolo Maldini, and in latter years, stars like Fabio Cannavaro, and Alessandro Nesta.  For club football, he played nearly a decade for Napoli during Duego Maradona's years before moving to Juvnetus.  At Juventus, he won 6 scudettis and a single Champions' League. 

CB: Alessandro Costacurta 
He was Franco Baresi's partner at central defense for both club and country. He was a long term serving member of AC Milan.  He was a part of 5 Champions' League winning team for AC Milan.  However, he only played 59 times for Italy because of injuries.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro
Cannavaro was capped 138 times. He was the captain and perhaps, the best Italian player of the 2006 World Cup 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

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.  
Alessandro Nesta

CB/LB: Giorgio Chiellini
Chiellini began his career with Livorno in 2000, also later playing for Roma and Fiorentina, before moving to Juventus in 2005. With Juventus, he has won six consecutive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2017. He earned over 90 caps. He was selected in the nation's squads for the 2004 Olympics, winning a bronze medal, as well as for three UEFA European Championships, two FIFA World Cups and two FIFA Confederations Cups, helping the Azzurri to reach the final of UEFA Euro 2012 and a third-place finish at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.



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: Gennaro Gattuso
He was a highly regarded destroyer in his prime. He spent 13 years with AC Milan, forming a famous partnership with Andreas Pirlo. He also played for Rangers, Perugia and Sion. He won two Champions' League with the club.  For the Azzurri, he earned 73 caps.  He went to three World Cup Finals, winning the 2006 WC Finals. 

Gennaro Gattuso

DM: Daniele De Rossi 
At the time of writing, he has played his entire career with Roma.  He was an important player for Italy since making his national debut in 2004.  He went to every major international tournaments.  He was Italian Footballer of the Year in 2009. 

CM: Demetrio Albertini 
He was the deep-lying playmaker of the great Milan team of the 1990's.  He won 5 league titles in the 1990's and the Champions' League title in 1994. He played for his country at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, Euro 96, and Euro 2000.

CM:  Andrea Pirlo
Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista.  He redefined the regista role in recent years.  He won the WC in 2006 and took Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.  He played over 280 matches for AC Milan, winning two Champions' League titles.  He switched to Juventus late in his career. 
Andrea Pirlo
LW: Roberto Donadoni 
Donadoni was one of Italy's greatest wingers.  He was a vital part of Milan's squad under both Sacchi and Capello, winning six Serie A titles, three European Cups, four Italian Supercups, three European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups during his time at Milan. He went to the WC Finals in 1990 and 1994.

AM: Alessandro Del Piero 
He is considered to be one of Juventus' greatest players. He played with them for 19 years (11 years as captain), and holds the club records for most goals (289) and appearances (705).  For the national team, he played 91 times for them.  He was on the 2006 team that won the World Cup in Germany.

AM/LM: Francesco Totti 
Totti was the long serving captain of Roma.  He brought the scudetti back to Roma in 2001 after 20 years.  He was named the Italian Footballer of the Year for 2000 and 2001. He won the European Golden Boot award in 2006-2007.  He won a World Cup with Italy in 2006. 
Francesco Totti

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: Gianluca Vialli 
He first made his name with Sampdoria, helping them to win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1990.  In 1992, he made a world record breaking transfer to Juventus.  In 1996, he helped Juventus to win their first ever Champions' League.  He went to Euro 1988, where he was named in the team of tournament.  However, at Italia 1990, he was unimpressive and lost his starting spot to Roberto Baggio and Salvatore Schillaci.  After the WC Finals, he had a feud with manager Sacchi that forced him out of the national team.

ST: Filippo Inzaghi 
He is one of the most prolific goalscorers of all time, fifth in Italy, with 313 goals scored in official matches. He is currently the fourth-highest goal scorer in European club competitions with 70 goals.  With AC Milan, he won  two UEFA Champions League titles (2003, 2007).  he made his national team debut in 1997.  He went to all major tournaments from 1998 to 2006.  He won the World Cup in 2006, but only played in one match.

ST: Christian Vieri 
Born in Italy, but grew up in Australia.  He played for 12 clubs in his career.  He became the most expensive player in the world when Inter Milan signed him for Lazio.  For the national team, he made his debut in 1997 and played in his last game in 2006.  He missed out on the 2006 WC team.
Christian Vieri

Honorable Mention
Francesco Toldo, Angelo Peruzzi, Mauro Tassotti, Gianluca Pessotto, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Riccardo Ferri,  Giuseppe Giannini, Roberto Mancini, Gianfranco Zola, Giuseppe Signori, Luca Toni, Dino Baggio, Salvatore Schillaci, Mauro Camoranesi.

Squad Explanation
  -- Franco Baresi was a member of the 1982 World Cup team.
-- Buffon is the obvious first choice for goalkeepers, followed by Zenga.  Then, Pagliuca edges out Toldo and Peruzzi. Gianluigi Donnarumma will probably become one of the all-time greats, but only time will tell.
-- Mauro Tassotti was more famous than Panucci because he played for that great AC Milan team. But Panucci earned more caps for Italy.
-- Zambrotta can play both sides of the backline.
-- Italy has a lot of talents on the centerback position.  Cannavaro and Nesta were the obvious choices.  Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Alessandro Costacurta, Riccardo Ferri and Ciro Ferrara were all great backs.  In the end, I took Costacurta and Ferrara.  Giorgio Chiellini was selected because he could also serve as a backup left back.  

Formation
I tried to fit the best players on the starting lineup.  I moved Baggio to the right position.