Monday, December 2, 2019

What if Netherlands qualified for Euro 1984

Netherlands 1983
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

North HollandSouth Holand.
The rest of Netherlands excluding North and South Holland
Netherlands All-Time Team After Johan Cruyff
Netherlands before Johan Cruyff (BC)
Dutch-Indos/Indonesia-born Dutch All-Time Team
Sweden World Cup1950
Argentina World Cup 1958
Scotland World Cup 1970
United Kingdom World Cup 1970
England World Cup 1974
United Kingdom World Cup 1982
Yugoslavia World Cup 1994
France World Cup 1994
Germany World Cup 2002
Netherlands World Cup 2002
USA World Cup 2010
Brazil 1982 with Careca, etc

In 1983, Spain beat Malta by 12-1 on the last match of Group 7 of the qualifying rounds of the 1984 European Championship.  The result ended Netherlands' quest for a spot in Finals the following year.  Spain won the group by the number of goals scored after both teams were tied in points and goal difference. They would eventually make it all their to the Final the following summer in  France before losing to the host. Netherlands' elimination marked the second straight times where they failed to qualify for a major tournament.  They would also not qualified for the 1986 World Cup Finals two years later. As you might have known, Netherlands emerged from this chaotic period to become the European Champion in 1988.

Why do I write a blog team in 1984? I tried to do a 1986 World Cup team for Netherlands, but I realized that the team would be similar to their Euro 1988 team.  Their Euro 1984 team on the other hand would be much more interesting.  Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman had solidified their status with the national team. Marco Van Basten was the league top scorer that season.  Meanwhile, Johan Cruyff was the Dutch Player of the Year in 1984.  He had revitalised his career.  So imagine if Netherlands fielded a lineup that consisted of Johan Cruyff, Willy van der Kerkhof, Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman. 
Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit

Both Ruud Gullit and Ronald Koeman were 21 years old while Marco Van Basten was 19 years old in the summer of 1984.  Netherlands would be led by Johan Cruyff who just had a fantastic season.

If Netherlands took Spain's place in the Finals, I predicted Netherlands might have done better than Spain in the Group stage.  Spain finished first in the group stage, but they went through the group stage by beating West Germany with 90th minute goal on the last match of the Group stage.  Netherlands with this mixture of young talents and Johan Cruyff would have probably done better.  They might have beaten Portugal.  West Germany who was fielding an out of form Karl-Heinz Rummenigge might be easier.

In the semifinal, they would meet Denmark, a team that would become the "Danish Dynamite" two years later.  In 1984, the world did not know that.  Denmark still had Allan Simonsen who was 31 years old at the time, but he was playing club football at home.  Michael Laudrup just turned 20 during the tournament. In April, 1984, Netherlands beat Denmark 6-0 at a friendly match.  Denmark fielded both Laudrup and Simonsen, but Morten Olsen and Soren Lerby were missing.  Netherlands was missing Marco Van Basten.  Of course, Johan Cruyff was never recalled back to the national team after 1977.
Netherlands vs Denmark in 1984
In the Final, it would be tough to beat France.  In the actual Final, Spain was able to handle the French.  France only managed to break the deadlock because of a blooper by Spain's goalkeeper Luis Arconada.  They also nearly lost to Portugal in the semifinal.  It took France two goals at the very end of extra time to make a comeback win against Portugal.  

However, France was almost impossible to beat.  The midfield of Luis Fernandez, Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Michael Platini was probably the greatest midfield in the history of European football.  Collectively, they were known as the "Carré Magique"(Magic Square). Michel Platini also had one of the best ever individual performance at a major tournament.  He scored 9 goals. Moreover, they were the host.

GK: Piet Schrijvers (Zwolle)
Between 1971 and 1984, Schrijvers played 46 times for Netherlands.  He was the backup keeper at both World Cup Finals in 1974, but he was the starting keeper at Euro 1976 and 1980, and the World Cup Finals in 1978. At club level, he spent nine years with AFC Ajax, winning five Eredivisie titles and two KNVB Cups.  He also played for DWS, FC Twente and Zwolle.  

GK: Hans Van Breukelen  (Nottingham Forest)
Hans Van Breukelen started his career with FC Utrecht and then, Nottingham Forest.  He moved to PSV in 1984, where he became a star.  For the national team, he was a fixture since 1980.  However, he did not help the Oranje to reach a major tournament until in 1988, where they won the first ever trophy for the Dutch national team. He had 73 caps.

GK: Edward Metgod ( HFC Haarlem)
Edward Metgod made his debut in for HFC Haarlem against Roda JC losing 1-2.  He spent 11 years at Haarlem before finishing his playing career with 7 seasons at Sparta Rotterdam. He was a member of the famous Haarlem team, that competed in the UEFA Cup in the 1982-1983 season, for the first time in the club's history. He earned one cap for Netherlands.  Hie is Johnny Medgod's brother.

RB: Ben Wijnstekers (Feyenoord)
Ben Wijnstekers was considered among the greatest defenders in Feyenoord's history.  He made his professional debut at Feyenoord Rotterdam in 1975, but also played for K.R.C. Mechelen and Germinal Ekeren. He was capped between 1979 and 1986.  He went to European Championship in 1980, but otherwise, in a period between two Golden Generations of Dutch players, where Netherlands failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals.
Ben Wijnstekers, Peter Houtman, Johan Cruyff and Ruud Gullit

RB/CB/DM: Edo Ophof  (Ajax)
During his club career, Edo Ophof started his career in 1976 with.  Then, Leo Beenhakker brought him to Ajax.  He made his name with Ajax, where he played between 1980 and 1988.  He later played for AZ and Utrecht.  For the Dutch national team, he played 15 times between 1981 and 1985 under manager Kees Rijvers, scoring 2 goals.

CB/DM: Johnny Metgod (Real Madrid)
Johnny Metgod started his career with HFC Haarlem. After one season with Haarlem, he played for AZ Alkmaar.  He appeared in the UEFA Cup Final. In 1982, Metgod moved to Spain to play for Real Madrid. He then moved to England in 1984 to sign for Nottingham Forest before signing for Tottenham Hotspur in 1987.  He spent six years at Feyenoord.  from 1978 to 1983, he eared 21 caps for Netherlands.
Johnny Metgod
CB: Michel van de Korput (Feyenoord)
From 1974 to 1980, Michel van de Korput played for Feyenoord. Then, he played three seasons in Italy with Torino. He returned to Feyenoord and was a part of the Double winning team with Johan Cruyff. He later played with Koln, Germinal Ekeren and Cappellen. He also earned 23 caps for the Netherlands national football team from 1979 to 1985, and participated in UEFA Euro 1980

CB: Ronald Koeman (Ajax)
Ronald Koeman was the rock solid sweeper of Netherlands in 1988.  He was capped 78 times. He was a part of the team that won Euro1988. 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.
Ronald Koeman
LB: Peter Boeve (Ajax)
Peter Boeve started his career at Vitesse and left them for Ajax in 1979. In 1980 Boeve scored Ajax's 2000th league goal since the introduction of the Eredivisie. After an injury in 1987, he moved  o Belgian Beerschot VAC. Boeve was considered one of the best left backs of his generation.  From 1982 to 1986, he played 16 caps for the Dutch national team.

LB: Adri Van Tiggelen (FC Groningen)
Adri Van Toggelen was the starting left back at Euro 1988, where Holland won its first major international trophy.  He earned 56 caps.  He also went to the World Cup Finals in 1990 and European Championship in 1992.  He played mainly for Sparta Rotterdam early on in his career.  He later moved to Anderlectd and PSV.
DM: Jan Wouters

CM: Frank Rijkaard (Ajax)
Frank Rijkaard was one of Netherlands' 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: Michel Valke (PSV) 
Michel Valke made his debut with Sparta Rotterdam. From 1979 to 1982 he also played for PSV. In 1982, he left for Feyenoord in his final contract year on a loan, but returned to PSV.  He also played for Olympique Lyonnais before returning to Sparta in 1989.  Valke played 16 times for the Dutch national football team from 1979 to 1986.

CM: Erwin Koeman (Groningen )
Erwin Koeman is Ronald Koeman's brother.  Koeman played with Groningen, Mechelen, where he won the Belgian League in 1989 and 1988 Cup Winners' Cup during the team's heyday and PSV, where they became league champions in 1990–91 and 1991–92.  He won the Euro 88 and featured in the 1990 World Cup. In total, Koeman was capped 31 times, scoring twice between 1983 and 1994.

CM: Willy van de Kerkhof (PSV)
Overall, Willy Van de Kerkhof appeared 63 times for his country. He was a member of the 1974 World Cup team, but it was the 1978 World Cup Finals, where he carried the team to the Final against the host Argentina.  His twin brother Rene was also a part of the 1978 team.  He also played in Euro 1980. For his club career, he played for FC Twente (1970-1973) and PSV Eindhoven (1973-1988).
Willy van de Kerkhof
RW: Gerald Vanenburg (Ajax)
During the 1990's, Gerald Vanenburg formed a dangerous partnership Marco Van Basten and Wim Kieft at Ajax.  He would join PSV in 1986. He later played in Japan, Germany and France. For the national team, he was a part of the Golden Generation that won the European Championship in 1988. He played for Netherlands 42 times.

RW: Bud Brocken (Groningen)
Brocken started his career with Willem II at aged 17.  He played 6 seasons there. From 1981-1982, he played with Birmingham City.  He then played for FC Groningen before returning to Willem II.  He also played fo FC Den Bosch.  He played 5 times for Netherlands in 1983.

LW: Simon Tahamata (Standard Liège)
With Ajax, Simon Tahamata won the national title three times. (1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80).  He was known for his partnership with Tscheu la Ling, another player with Asain heritage. He also played for Standard Liège. With this team he became national champion twice (1981–82 and 1982–83). In 1984, he returned to the Netherlands to play for Feyenoord. In 1987, he again joined the Belgian competition, playing for Beerschot and Germinal Ekeren. He was capped 22 times between 1979 and 1986.

Simon Tahamata

FW/AM: Ruud Gullit (Feyenoord)
He was the iconic captain of Netherlands 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.

FW: Johan Cruyff (Feyenoord)
Johan 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
ST: Peter Houtman (Feyenoord)
Peter Houtman had 4 different spells with Feyenoord.  He scored 90 goals in 153 official matches for them.  Between those spells, he played with Club Brugge, Sporting Portugal, Sparta Rotterdam (two spells), ADO Den Haag and Excelsior Rotterdam. From 1983 to 1985, he had 8 caps, scoring 7 goals.

ST: Wim Kieff (Pisa)
Wim Kieff played for Ajax in the late 1970's and then, moved to Italy in 1983.  He played for Pisa and then, Torino.  In 1987, he joined PSV  and immediately won the European Cup in 1988.  For the national team, he was a part of the Golden Generation that won Euro 1988 and participated at the WC in 1990 and Euro 1992.  He mainly used a substitute role at both Euro 1988 and the WC in 1990.

ST:  Marco Van Basten (Ajax)
Van Basten 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 

Players Considered
Rene van der Gijp, Edward Metgod, Jurrie Koolhof, Rene Hofman, Cees Van Kooten, Huub Stevens, Ruud Krol, Johnny Rep, Pierre Vermeulen, Hugo Hovenkamp, Johan Neeskens, René van de Kerkhof, André Hoekstra, Arnold Mühren, Michel Valke, Dick Schoenaker

Squad Explanation 
-- Before starting this blog, I envisioned this team to be just a younger version of the Euro 1988 team, plus Johan Cruyff and Willy van der Kerkhof.  Let's see if I am wrong.  I am still undecided if I should do a 1982 World Cup team instead.  The 1982 team could be more interesting.  Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard already made his national team debut in 1981.  They would combine with Johan Cruyff, Johnny Rep, Johan Neeskens.  That team also would consist a generation of Dutch star players who never played in a World Cup Finals.  Jan Peters, Johnny Metgod, Arnold Muhren, Simon Tahamata and Tschen La Ling will be some of the names selected. However, Cruyff was not having a good year in the 1981-1982 season.  Ruud Gullit and Rijkaard were not yet impact players, and I could not put Marco Van Basten and Johan Cruyff together on the same team.  I do not think it would be a good team by the Dutch standard.  The statements here on this paragraph are written before I started my research.  I am keeping this here.
 -- Ten players from this team were also on Netherlands' Euro 1988 team.  They were Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Adri van Tiggelen, Jan Wouters, Frank Rijkaard, Erwin Koeman, Gerald Vanenburg. Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and Wim Kieft.
1983: Frank Rijkaard, Ronald and Erwin Koeman and Ruud Gullit
-- Six of them were on the Euro 1980 team. They were Willy van der Kerkhof, Piet Schrijvers, Michel van de Korput, Ben Wijnstekers, Hans van Breukelen and Johnny Metgod,  
-- Johan Cruyff had retired from international football in 1977 before the 1978 World Cup Finals.  I do not know enough about the politics behind Johan Cruyff 's decision to retire internationally and how politics and his relationship with various parties such as the  KNVB would affect the situation in 1984.  But since this is a fantasy team, this imaginary team should look beyond the situation in the real thing. Moreover, this would be Cruyff's final curtain.  In  real life, he retired after the 1983-1984 season.  So he must play in the alternative Euro 1984.
-- Johan Cruyff joined Feyenoord in the summer of 1983 after Ajax refused to extend his contract.  He had a wonderful season with Feyenoord.  He won the Double as well as picking up the Dutch Footballer of the Year award that year.  He could easily make this national team.
-- Ruud Krol was 35 years old in 1984.  He played against Spain in Feb, 1983 in one of the qualifiers, but he was injured parts of the 1983-1984 season. He returned to action by March, 1984.  Napoli parted ways with him that summer, making the way for Diego Maradona.
-- Ruud Gullit played with Johan Cruyff at Feyenoord that season.  He was a right forward.
-- Johan Neeskens was only 32 at the time of the European Championship.  He was playing for NY Cosmos.  That year, NY Cosmos failed to reach the playoff since Pele joined the club in 1976. He was released by them on October, 1984.  His career was not the same before and after Euro 1984.
-- Marco Van Basten was Eredivisie top scorer that year. 
-- Johnny Rep was playing with PEC Zwolle in Netherlands, but he was a shadow of himself.  
-- I am not familiar with the performance of most of the players in the 1983-1984. I mainly used appearance as reference to select the rest of the team.   
-- Piet Schrijvers was the main goalkeeper used.Hans van Breukelen  Joop Hiele was not used during the early 1980's.  Edward Metgod earned his only cap in 1982.  So I took Edward Metgod.
-- Ben Wijnstekers, Edo Ophof, Ronald Koeman and Peter Boeve were steady starting back four throughout the qualifiers. Adri van Tiggelen played in the latter stage of the qualifiers.  He got nod over other players.
-- Ernie Brandts was seldom used between 1981 and 1984 under manager Kees Rijvers.  According to, he played once under Rijvers.  Instead, I took Michel van de Korput who played 11 times and John Metgod 8 times for Rijvers.  Ronald Spelbos and Sonny Silooy were left off because both van de Korput and John Metgod were more experienced player.   
-- As mentioned above, Ruud Krol just returned from an injury, but I do not think Netherlands needed him.  He had not payed for the national team since 1982.
-- On the right wing, I took Gerald Vanenburg  who played regularly for Netherlands during that period of time.  Feyenoord used Ruud Gullit on the right.  So I decided against selecting Rene van der Gijp.
-- Simon Tahamata did not play much under Kees Rijvers, but I wanted a left-side attacker.  He was a star player in the 1980's playing in Belgium.  While I used Kees Rijvers' selections as reference, I was not building a team that would be managed by Kees Rijvers.
-- The last two spots were between Arnold Mühren, Erwin Koeman, Michel Valke and Dick Schoenaker.  I took Michel Valke and Erwin Koeman who appeared in the latter stage of the European qualifiers.   
-- That season, Feyenoord won the Eredivisie/KNVB Cup Double.  I have five players from Feyenoord(Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit, Michel van de Korput, Ben Wijnstekers, and Peter Houtman), but I have six from Ajax.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

What if United Kingdom went to the World Cup 1994

Paul Gascoigne in 1992 against Norway but he would have missed the World Cup Finals

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

United Kingdom
Sweden World Cup1950
Argentina World Cup 1958
Scotland World Cup 1970
United Kingdom World Cup 1970
England World Cup 1974
United Kingdom World Cup 1982
Yugoslavia World Cup 1994
France World Cup 1994
Germany World Cup 2002
Holland World Cup 2002
USA World Cup 2010
Brazil 1982 with Careca, etc
Netherlands Euro 1984

In 1993, all four of United Kingdom's national teams failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup Finals in the United States.  At the time of writing, it is the only time in history since the British teams first entered the World Cup tournament where none of the British teams qualified for the World Cup Finals. I have create imaginary World Cup teams for United Kingdom in 1970 and 1982 Finals.  I do believe United Kingdom could have won the World Cup in 1970 and made a good run in the 1982 World Cup Finals.  However, the idea of this United Kingdom's 1994 World Cup team was born out of the weakness from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. For the 1970 and 1982 United Kingdom team, I was looking at a "Dream Team" that could win it all.  For this 1994 team, I was trying to see if this United Kingdom could do better than their original separated national teams.  
England at the end of the World Cup Qualifier

Prediction for the World Cup Qualifying
On paper, this United Kingdom can field the likes of Neville Southall, John Barnes, Alan Shearer, Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs, etc on the same field.  Basically, England could reinforce with Wales' greatest players.  However, none of them in 1994 were in their prime.  Southall, Barnes and Rush were over 30 years old.  Alan Shearer was 22 years while Giggs was only 19 years old at the time of the qualifying rounds.  Giggs probably had to wait for his turn to play. 

Paul Gascoigne was injured in April of 1994, but he would still be healthy during the World Cup Qualifying Rounds. Peter Beardsley just joined Newcastle United in the summer of 1993 after disappointing in Everton.  He had not played himself in consideration throughout the World Cup Qualifying rounds.  Paul Parker or Rob Jones might start ahead of Lee Dixon.  David Seaman had not established as England's number one until the summer of 1993.  The United Kingdom would probably go with Neville Southall.  Colin Hendry made his national debut in May, 1993 for Scotland.  So basically, this United Kingdom would only have two additional starters to the original England.  So it was not a big upgrade.

The First question: Would they even qualified for the World Cup Finals? When I first started this blog team, I never imagined the possibility of this UK team not qualifying.  After doing some research, I still think the UK team could qualify, but not as dominating as I anticipated. 

Group 1: 
In real life, Scotland finished 4th behind Italy, Switzerland and Portugal.  Italy would reach the Final in the World Cup Finals with the likes of Roberto Baggio, Franco Baresi, Paulo Maldini, Giuseppe Signori, Roberto Donadoni, etc.  Swizterland was having their best team in years with Stéphane Chapuisat and Ciriaco Sforza on their lineup.  Portugal had a young team that included two future stars, namely Rui Costa and Luis Figo.  They also had Paulo Futre. I do not think the United Kingdom could beat Italy, but beating Switzerland and Portugal were very possible.

Group 2
This group had a clearer indication of the United Kingdom's chance because the majority of the players were from England. England finished third behind Netherlands and Norway.  Norway who was considered a minnow before the start of the World Cup Qualifiers was in confortable position throughout the group games.  The reinforcement of just a few non-English players might not be able to overcome them.  Netherlands was having their rebuilding years.  They still had Dennis Bergkamp and Frank Rijkaard.  Ruud Gullit had problems with manager Dick Advocaat.  He did not play much in the World Cup Qualifiers.  Marco Van Basten was out for an entire season.  People did not know at the time that he would not be back again.  However, England was only two points behind Netherlands. In real life, England drew 2-2 with Netherlands at home.  They surrendered a 85th minute penalty after going up 2-0.  England might be able to take all the points.  They also could produce a better result against other opponents such as 1-1 away tie with Poland.

Gorup 3:
Northern Ireland stood no chance against Spain, Ireland and Denmark.  Spain was not a bad team.  They probably have enough to beat this United Kingdom. Denmark was the reigning European Champion with Michael Laudrup back in the team. On paper, Denmark would be difficult for the United Kingdom, but they could not overcome Ireland in real life.  Ireland used a lot of English born players under manager Jack Charlton.  So on paper, this United Kingdom could handle this "English-based" team easily, but manager Jack Charlton was able to create a team that could beat anybody in 1993 and 1994.  

Group 4
Wales finished 4th, but just 3 points away from the top qualifying teams, Romania and Belgium (only two points were awarded for a win in 1993).  Romania was having their Golden generation.  They would beat England in the 1998 World Cup Finals and the 2000 European Championship.  And those two English teams might be better than this UK team.  Of course, Romania was also a much more inexperience team in 1993.  Belgium and the Czech Republic (finished 3rd in the group) were beatable.  The Czechs did not have the same players as their team  that reached the Final in Euro 1996. 
Ian Rush scored against Romania in the qualifying round

Team in the WC Finals (only 22 allowed in 1994)
GK: Neville Southall  (Wales/Everton)
Neville Southall was the FWA Football of the Year in 1985 and one of the few keepers to win the award.  He was regarded as one of the best British keeper of his generation in a generation filled with great keepers.  He started with Bury, but played most of his career with Everton, where the club was enjoying its most successful period. He won two First Divison title and two FA Cup with them.  He had 92 caps for Wales.
Ian Rush and Neville Southall 
GK: David Seaman (England/Arsenal)
The peak of Seaman's career was during his period as Arsenal and England goalkeeper in the 1990s and early 2000s. At Arsenal, he won three league championships, four FA Cups, the League Cup in 1993 and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1994.  He also played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, and Euro 96 and Euro 2000, and is England's second-most capped goalkeeper with 75 caps.

GK: Tim Flowers (England/Blackburn Rovers)
Flowers began his career with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1984.  He was Peter Shilton's unberstudy with Southampton before becoming their starter in the 1989–90 season. He was notably part of the Blackburn Rovers side that won the Premier League in 1995. He also played for  Swindon Town, Leicester City, Stockport County, Coventry City and Manchester City.  He had 11 caps.  He went to both Euro 96 in England and the 1998 World Cup.

RB: Lee Dixon (England/Arsenal)
Lee Dixon played as a right-back for Arsenal, Burnley, Bury, Chester City and Stoke City.  He was a part of Arsenal's famous back four along with Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn. Dixon is also one of the only players in English football history to have won a league title in three different decades with the same club. 

CB: Tony Adams (England/Arsenal)
Tony Adams is a club legend and one club man with Arsenal who became the club captain at the age of 21.  A stature of him is erected at the Emirates Stadium. He formed the legendary backline with Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould with club.  He was a fixture for England from 1987 to 2000.  For England, he had 66 caps and served as its captain at one point. He played in the World Cup Finals in 1998 and went to three European Championship.

CB: Des Walker (England/Sheffield Wednesday)
Walker played 59 times for England.  He started in all of England;'s games at the World Cup Finals in 1990. He was rated as one of the best defender at that Finals.  For club football, he mainly played for Nottingham Forrest and Sheffield Wednesday.  He played one season at Sampdoria in then 1992-1993 season.   He was Forest's player of the year three times. On four straight occasions at Forest he was selected for the PFA Team of the Year.
Des Walker in the World Cup Qualifers
CB: Gary Pallister (England/Manchester United)
Pallister played for Middlesbrough before he moved to Manchester United in 1989.  His transfer broke the national record for a fee paid for a defender, as well as being the highest fee between British clubs. By the time of his departure from Old Trafford after nine years, he was the only player to have collected winner's medals in all of the club's successes under Alex Ferguson's management.  He was capped 22 times.

CB: Colin Hendry (Scotland/Blackburn Rovers)
Hendry started his career with Dundee in 1983. and spent spells at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Rangers, Coventry City, Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool. He was part of the Blackburn squad that won the English Premiership in 1995 and the Rangers squad that won the Scottish domestic treble in 1998–99.  He played 51 caps for Scotland. He captained Scotland in the 1998 World Cup.

LB: Stuart Pearce (England/Nottingham Forrest)
Stuart Pearce was a club legend with Nottingham Forrest.  He was the club's most capped international player with 78 caps between 1987 and 1999.  He played at the World Cup Finals in 1990 and the European championship in 1996 at home, where England had the best two results since the World Cup win in 1966. He also played for Wealdstone, Coventry City, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Manchester City.

LB: Tony Dorigo (England/Leeds United)
Born in Australia, Tony Dorigo chose to represent England.  He had 15 caps.  He went to the European Championship in 1988 and 1992 as well as the 1990 World Cup Finals.  For his club career, he played for He played for Aston Villa, Chelsea, Leeds United, Torino, Derby County and Stoke City.  He had lengthy spells with Aston Villa, Chelsea and Leeds United.

DM: Paul Ince (England/Manchester United)
From 1992 to 2000, Paul Ince was capped 53 times.  He was a key player for England at Euro 1996, WC 1998 and Euro 2000.  For his club career, he started with West Ham, but his best known stints were with Liverpool, Inter Milan and Manchester United.  He is one of the few players who played and starred for both Liverpool and Manchester United.

CM: David Batty (England/Blackburn Rovers)
David Batty is most famous for playing for Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.  He won league titles with both Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers, but his role with Blackburn Riovers was limited by an injury.  He was capped for the England national football team, and representing the nation at UEFA Euro 1992 and the 1998 World Cup.

CM: David Platt (England/Sampdoria)
Platt began his career as an apprentice at Manchester United but later moved to Crewe Alexandra where he began building a reputation as a goal scoring midfield player. In 1988, he signed for Aston Villa and made his debut for England a year later. At the 1990 World Cup, his performances in Italy earned him a move to Bari in 1991. In 1992, Platt moved to Juventus, where he spent one season. In 1993, he moved to Sampdoria where he stayed for two seasons before returning to England with Arsenal.  Capped 75 times.
David Platt
CM/RM: Gary McAllister (Scotland/Liverpool)
Garry McAllister started with Motherwell before heading to play in England. He had a lengthy career with Leicester City, Leeds United and Coventry between 1985 and 2000.  Then, he played two seasons with Liverpool, winning the 2000 UEFA Cup.  In the final, he scored one, and had a hand in three, of the five Liverpool goals in a memorable 5–4 victory.  He was awarded the Man of the Match.  He had over 50 caps, appearing a single World Cup Finals and two European Championship.
Gary McAllister 
RW/RB: Darren Anderton (England/Tottenham Hotspurs)
From 1990 to 1992, Anderton played for Portsmouth. 
From 1992 to 2004, he played for Tottenham Hotspurs. He later played for Birmingham City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and AFC Bournemouth. From 1994 to 2001, he was capped 30 times for England.  He played an important part in the Euro 96 England team that reached the semi-finals.  At France 1998, he shared and sometimes played with David Beckham on the right wing.

LW: Ryan Giggs (Wales/Manchester United)
Giggs was Sir Alex's longest serving player at Manchester United, where he played from 1990 to 2014.  He also holds the club record for competitive appearances. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals. He is widely considered one of the greatest British wingers in modern history. He played 64 times for Wales.  He led Great Britain at the London Olypmpics in 2012.
Ryan Giggs scored against Belgium in 1993

LW: John Barnes (England/Liverpool)
John Barnes was widely considered to be one of the greatest Liverpool players, where he formed one of their greatest team playing alongside Ian Rush, Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge and Ray Houghton.  Before joining Liverpool, he played for Watford. At Watford, he also helped them to the Final of the FA Cup in 1984. He was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1988 and FWA Player of the Year in both 1988 and 1990.
John Barnes in 1993
FW/SS: Peter Beardsley (England/Liverpool)
Peter Beardsley was one of the few players i history to have played for Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City. His first successes came in the early 1980's while playing for Newcastle United.  In 1987, he joined Liverpool as the most expensive player in England's history.  Together with John Barnes, they formed one of the best English sides of the later 1980's.

ST: Ian Rush (Wales/Liverpool)
Ian Rush was voted as the third greatest Liverpool player by fans in 2013. He is the Liverpool's all-time leading goalscorer, with 346 goals. He won both the PFA Player of the year and FWA Player of the Year in 1984.  he was European Golden Boot winner in the same year.  He also had short spells with Chester City, Juventus, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham and Sydney Olympic. Rush made 73 appearances for Wales between 1980 and 1996.

ST: Ian Wright (England/Arsenal)
Wright was a legendary striker with Arsenal.  Before joining Arsenal, he was a hero with Crystal Palace.  At the time of writing, he was their highest goal scorer since the War.  In 1991, he joined Arsenal.  He spent 7 seasons with them, winning all three domestic trophies and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1994.  Despite being a top scorer in the domestic league(he scored over 20 goals every season from 1991 to 1998), he only played 33 times for England and was never selected for any of the major tournaments.
Ian Wright
ST: Mark Hughes  (Wales/Manchester United)
Mark Hughes was best remembered for his spells with Manchester United. He won two Premier League title medals, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two European Cup Winners' Cups. He was the first player to win the PFA Players' Player of the Year award twice, in 1989 and 1991.  He also played for Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as well as the English clubs Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and finally Blackburn Rovers.

ST: Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers)
Shearer is the all-time leading top-scorer for the Premiership.  In 1992, he joined Blackburn Rovers from Southampton in a record transfer. He won the Premiership for 1994-1995 season.  In 1996, he joined his home town club, Newcastle United for a world record transfer fees. He was FWA Player of the Year in 1994, and PFA Player of the Year in 1995 and 1997.  For England, he earned 63 caps. In 1996, he led England to the semi-final of Euro 1996 at home, himself winning the Golden boot award. 
Alan Shearer against Norway in 1992 WCQer.

Players considered
Barry Horne (Wales/Everton), Steve Morrow (Northern Ireland/Arsenal), Andy Sinton (England/Sheffield Wednesday), Stuart Ripley (England/Blackburn Rovers), Dean Saunders (Wales/Aston Villa), Paul Merson (England/Arsenal),  Paul Gascoigne (England/Lazio),  Les Ferdinand (England/QPR), Paul Parker(England/Manchester Unied), Rob Jones(England/Liverpool), Stuart Ripley (England/Blackburn Rovers), Andy Cole (England/Newcastle)

Squad Explanation
-- The team is dominated with 16 English players.  With exception of Peter Beardsley, all English players considered were based upon the numbers of caps earned during the World Cup Qualifiers.  Basically, this is England's team with reinforcement from other British players. The non-English selections are Neville Southall (Wales), Ryan Giggs (Wales), Mark Hughes (Wales), Ian Rush (Wales), Gary McAllister (Scotland) and Colin Hendry (Scotland).
-- Most of the players from Norther Ireland were not as well known as their counterparts from the other teams.  Steve Morrow was the only player considered.  For United Kingdom 1970 team, I took Mike England because he was the only player from Wales.  I did not do that for Morrow for this team.
-- Chris Wood was blamed for the 2-0 loss against the USA in the summer of 1993.  He was never called up again by England.  David Seaman played in the most critical games of the World Cup Qualifiers later that year.  Between June 1993 to June 1994, Tim Flowers was the only goalkeeper used by England. He was also the goalkeeper on the PFA Team of the Year.  Under Graham Taylor, Nigel Martyn (Crystal Palace) was the only other goalkeeper played.  Neville Southall was 35 at the time of the World Cup Finals, but still highly regarded.  Scotland's Andy Goram was the starting goalkeeper for Scotland at Euro 1992, but he suffered a serious injury in 1993.  He did not return to action until the Spring of 1994.  While Goram was injured, Jimmy Leighton's club career was revitalised with Hibernian, but between 1991 and 1993, he was not playing much club football.  The United Kingdom probably would take David Seaman, Tim Flowers and Neville Southall.
-- Tony Adams and Gary Pallister were PFA Team of the Year.  Colin Hendry (Scotland) made his Scotland debut at the age of 27 in May, 1993.  Martin Keown and Steve Bould were fighting for a spot at the club level, but Bould was overlooked by England. Bould remained an uncapped player until the summer of 1994.   In the end, I took Des Walker for his experience who also started on the England's last match of the WCQers against San Marino.
-- Stuart Pearce was an easy selection for the leftback position.  England also used Lee Dixon, Paul Parker and Rob Jones as rightbacks.  I took Dixon who was probably the most famous of the lot.  He also started the last game of the World Cup Qualifers against San Marino.  Leftback Tony Dorigo was used in the early matches of the World Cup Qualifiers.  Graeme Le Saux made his debut in early 1994 under new England manager Terry Venables. 
-- Ryan Giggs has became a key player for Manchester United by the 1993-1994 season.  John Barnes played regularly in the World Cup Qualifiers, but was dropped after the USA Cup in 1993.  He was booed off by the English fans in one of the matches largely because his loyalty to England was questioned.   In the 1993-1994, Lee Sharpe was still considered one of the best young players in England.  He played more than Barnes during the World Cup Qualifiers. At the club level, Giggs had taken over his left wing position with Manchester United, but Sharpe still played 30 games and had 11 goals that season, which was his career best.  Graham Taylor had played both Barnes and Sharpe on the same field, but I won't do that. In the end, I took John Barnes who had more experience than Lee Sharpe.  At the time, I probably would receive a lot of criticism from the fans, the pundits, etc for doing that.  At the same time, some fans would want me to reunite Barnes and Peter Beardsley who had regained his form that season.
-- Peter Beardsley joined Newcastle United in the summer of 1993.  He helped Andy Cole to become the top scorer of the Preimership in the 1993-1994.  Peter Beardsley was on the PFA Team of the Year. However, he was uncapped during the World Cup Qualifier, but I would bring him back.
-- Graham Taylor also used rightwing Darren Anderton regularly.  
-- The midfield consisted of David Batty and Gary McAllister who were from the PFA Team of the Year.
-- In April, 1994. Paul Gascoigne was injured by club mate Alessandro Nest during training in Italy.  He would not be available for the World Cup Finals.  I have taken injured players on some of my imaginary blog teams before so that the team became more fantastic.  However, since this team was not about a "Dream Team" that set to conquer the world, I decided not to take him.  This blog team was about the survival of the team against all odds.  The injury of Gazza will be the one of the odds.
-- Paul Merson's lifestyle was an issue.  He played under Graham Taylor throughout the period, but new manager Terry Venables did not want him.  For this imaginary United Kingdom team, I am the manager.  I decided not to risk his inclusion to the team.
-- David Platt led England in goal scoring during the World Cup Qualifiers with 7 goals.  Ian Wright was in second with 5 goals.
-- Andy Cole was Preimer League Golden Boot winner in the 1993-1994 season. He was not selected into the PFA Team of the Year.  he did not make his England debut until 1995. So I went with Ian Rush, Alan Shearer, Ian Wright and Mark Hughes.  They were all big names in 1994.
-- Alan Shearer was FWA Player of the Year that season. 

As mentioned, Paul Gascoigne was injured and missed the tournament.  Instead, I put the 20 years old Ryan Giggs into the starting lineup.  His youthfulness would benefit the team.  I still stayed with Southall in goal.  Peter Beardsley or Gary McAllister  might start ahead of David Batty.

Prediction at the World Cup  Finals
It is impossible to make a prediction or assessment of this team in the 1994 World Cup Finals without knowing the teams in their groups.  The seedings were based upon the FIFA rankings at the time and results of the previous three World Cup Finals. If I based my United Kingdom team on England. they probably would be a seeded team as England was ranked 8th in November, 1993 and 11th a month later.  Their ranking must be lowered, given England's poor result in the actual situation.  Furthermore, England were the semifinalist in the previous World Cup Finals.  England probably would take Belgium's place as a seeded team, but I am not going to put the United Kingdom in Group F, where Belgium was placed in the World Cup Finals.

This United Kingdom could probably progress to the knockout rounds, given some of the three ranked teams also progressed in 1994.  So only eight teams were eliminated in the Group Stage.  

Beyond that, I am unsure if the United Kingdom could do much.  Brazil the eventual winner had a forward line consisted of Romario and Bebeto.  Italy had Roberto Baggio and Pablo Maldini, but Franco Baresi was injured throughout the Finals.  I don't think that the UK team could beat Sweden, Bulgaria, Germany and Netherlands.  The Americans had beaten England in June, 1993.  They were not to be underestimated. Nigeria, Romania and even Ireland could beat this team.  Argentina had one of the best teams in 1994 when they still had Diego Maradona.  With Maradona's suspension, Argentina was hard to predict.