Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The former Soviet Union without Ukraine, Russia and Georgia

Latvia at Euro 2004

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

This blog team was created in 2016 as the "Soviet Union All-Time team without players from Ukraine and Russia", but I edited it in September, 2020.  I took out all of  the Georgian players.  Instead, I created an individual team for Georgia.  Georgia supplied third most players to the Soviet national team.  They deserved their own All-Time team. It is now the Soviet Union All-Time team without players from Ukraine,  Russia and Georgia.  I also excluded all Central Asian republics.  Those players were selected for the all-time time for Central Asia. The Soviet-era players were based on ethnicity.  Several Russian or Ukrainian-born players were put here rather than with Ukraine's all-time team because of their ethnicity.  The post-Soviet Union footballers' eligibility was based on the national team.  I also added Armenia/Armenian diaspora.

In future, I have plans to create all-time teams for Baltic states, Belarus, Armenia/Armenian diaspora and Azerbaijan.

* I am including ethnic minority players from both Russia and Ukraine on this team.  So I included Hungarians, Tatars, Jewish, etc over here. My idea is to expand the players pool and reinforce the team with better players.  I am also confused with the ethnicity of some of the players.

GK: Mart Poom (Estonia)
Mart Poom was Estonia Player of the Year in 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003.  Poom played as a goalkeeper for Lõvid, Sport Tallinn, KuPS, Flora, Wil, Portsmouth, Derby County, Sunderland, Arsenal, and Watford. He spent nearly 15 seasons playing in England. His stint with Derby was the best known. He made a total of 120 appearances for Estonia and was the team's captain. 
Mart Boom
GK: Roman Berezovsky (Armenia) 
Berezovsky began his professional career in 1991 with Koshkagorts. He later in the Armenian Premier League. In 1994, he moved to Zenit St. Petersburg.   He also played for Khimki and Torpedo Moscow, among other clubs.  He played 94 times for Armenia, the record of second most capped player of the national team.

GK: Yuriy Romenskyi  (Azerbaijan)
Born in Azerbaijan, Romensky started with Neftchi Baku.  He moved to FC Chornomorets Odesa in 1978.  He was capped 5 times for the Soviet Union between 1978 and 1979.  In 1979 Romensky played couple of games for Ukraine at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR.

RB: Sergei Borovsky (Belarus) 
During his entire club career,  Sergei Borovsky played for FC Dinamo Minsk.  He was the captain of Dynamo in 1978-1979 and 1984-1985.  He won the Soviet Union premier league in 1982, the club's only title.  That same year, he went to the World Cup Finals with the Soviet national team.  In total, he earned 21 caps between 1981 and 1985. 

CB: Vagiz Khidiyatullin (Tartar born in Tatarstan, Russia)
Vagiz Khidiyatullin earned 58 caps and scored 6 goals for the USSR , and played for them in the 1980 Summer Olympics, 1988 UEFA European Championship and the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He was also on the squad of the 1982 World Cup team.  His career was spent with Spartak Moscow and CSKA Moscow.  He played from 1988 to 1990 for Toulouse FC in France.  He is a Tartar born in Tatarstan, Russia.
Vagiz Khidiyatullin 
SW: Leonīds Ostrovskis (Latvia) 
In total, Ostrovskis had 9 caps for the USSR.  He was selected for the 1958 World Cup squad, but did not play in any games at the tournament. He made his debut for the Soviet national team in 1961. He played in two World Cups: 1962 and 1966. He was the only Latvian footballer for the Soviet Union in the World Cups.  For club career, he played for FK Daugava, Torpedo Moscow and Dynamo Kyiv.

CB: Volodymyr Kaplychnyi (Jewish born in Ukraine)
Born in what is now Ukraine of Jewish ethnicity, Volodymyr Kaplychnyi earned 62 caps for the USSR, and participated in UEFA Euro 1968, the 1970 FIFA World Cup, and UEFA Euro 1972. He also earned a bronze medal in football at the 1972 Summer Olympics. He spent most of his career with CSKA Moscow.

CB: Konstantin Krizhevsky (Jewish from Russia)
Krizhevsky started with PFC Krylia Sovetov Samara before moving to VVS Moscow in 1948. Between 1953 andn1961, he played for Dynamo Moscow.  For the Soviet national team, he played 14 times.  He competed for the Soviet Union at the 1952 Olympics and 1958 FIFA World Cup.  He is Jewish.

LB/CB: Ragnar Klavan (Estonia) 
Klavan played for Elva, Tulevik and Flora in Estonia,before moving to the Netherlands where he represented Heracles Almelo and AZ.  He spent 4 seasons with  FC Augsburg before his move to Liverpool in 2016.  In 2015, he became the ninth player to make 100 appearances for Estonia. He has won the Estonian Footballer of the Year award a record seven times. 

LB: Sergei Gurenko (Belarus)
Sergei Gurenko began his career in Khimik Grodno in 1989.  
In 1995, he was transferred to Lokomotiv Moscow.  He played for AS Roma, Real Zaragoza, Parma, Piacenza before returning to Lokomotiv in 2003.  Between 1994 and 2006, he played 80 times for Belarus, where he served as their captain.  He is the second most capped Belarusian player.

DM: Sergei Aleinikov (Belarus) 
From 1981 to 1989, Aleinikov played for  Dinamo Minsk, winning the Tip Soviet League in 1982.  In 1989, he became one of the first Soviet players to play in the rest when he joined Juventus.  He later played for Lecce and Gamba Osaka.  He played in two World Cup Finals and an European Championship for the USSR.  He also played at Euro 1992 for CIS.  He was capped 4 times for Belarus.  He was Belarus's selection for UEFA Julibee Player
Sergei Aleinikov
DM:  Vasyl Rats (born in Ukraine of Hungarian ethnicity)
Vasyl Rats scored the winning goal in the 1-0 victory against Holland in the first round of Euro 1988, but Holland went on to beat the Soviet Union in the rematch in the Final.  He was capped 47 times for the Soviet Union.  He participated at the WC Finals in 1986 and 1990.  Rats played several seasons with FC Dynamo Kyiv, where he won the Soviet Top League three times.

CM: Sergey Gotsmanov (Belarus) 
From 1979 to 1990, Sergey Gotsmanov played for  FC Dinamo Minsk first team, winning the Soviet championship in 1982 under manager Eduard Malofeyev.  He later played in England for Brighton and Southampton.   For the USSR, he played 31 times.  He appeared in the Euro 1988.  He  was Belarusian Footballer of the Year four times (in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989).

LW/LM: Khoren Oganesian (Armenia)
Khoren Oganesian was chosen as the best player of Armenia in the 20th century by the Armenian FA.  He earned 34 caps by USSR between 1979 and 1984.  He won a bronze medal at the 1980 Olympics. In 1982, he became the first Armenian to play in the World Cup finals. His career was spent mainly with FC Ararat Yerevan, where the club played in the Soviet Top League and later, participated in the Armenian Premier League.  His domestic career lasted from 1974 and 1996.
Khoren Oganesian
CM: Volodymyr Muntyan (born in Ukraine of Romanian ethnicity)
Volodymyr Muntyan was born in Ukraine of Romanian ethnicity. He played his entire career with Dynamo Kyiv.  He won the 1975 Cup Winners' Cup with Dynamo Kyiv.  He played 49 times for the Soviet Union. He played 49 times for the Soviet Union. He was a part of the USSR team at the WC Finals in 1970.  He also went to Euro 1968 and 1972.

LW: Galimzyan Khusainov (Tatar born in Tartarstan, Russia)
Galimzyan Khusainov played for the Soviet Union national team (33 matches/4 goals), and was a participant at the 1962 FIFA World Cup, 1966 FIFA World Cup and at the 1964 European Nations' Cup, where the Soviet Union squad won the silver medal.  He scored a goal in the Final against Spain. His career was spent manly with Spartak Moscow.

AM/CM: Leonid Buryak (born in Ukraine of Jewish ethnicity)
Leonid Buryak was one of Dynamo Kyiv's greatest players.  He also played for Chornomorets Odesa and Torpedo Moscow. He was capped 49 times for the USSR. He won a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics and went to the World Cup Finals in 1982.  In 1979, Buryak played couple of games for Ukraine at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR. He was born in Ukraine of Jewish ethnicity.
Leonid Buryak
AM: Alexander Hleb (Belarus)
Alexander Hleb is best remembered for his stints with Stuttgart and Arsenal.  In the Bundesliga, he was among the top assisters, which led to a big transfer to Arsenal in 2005.  He became the first ever Belarusian footballer to play in the Champions League Final while playing for Arsenal. He also played in Turkey. He had 80 caps for Belarus.

AM/CM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan started with Pyunik in 2006 in Armenia before moving to play in Ukraine. Between 2013 and 2016, he starred with Borussia Dortmund.  With Manchester United, he became the first Armenian to win a major European trophy.   Then, he played briefly for Arsenal before moving to AS Roma.  At the time of writing, he had 86 caps for Armenia.  He was also voted the CIS Footballer of the Year in 2012 and 2013.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
ST: Anatoliy Banishevskiy (Azerbaijan)
Banishevskiy started playing football at the age of 16 and played all of his career for PFC Neftchi Baku, transforming into one of the best Azerbaijani players. He was selected as the Golden Player for Azerbaijan by the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan as the country's most outstanding player over the past 50 years.  He was capped 50 times by USSR and went to the WC Finals in 1966.

ST: Māris Verpakovskis (Latvia)
Māris Verpakovskis was capped 104 times by Latvia. He helped Latvia to qualify for the European Championship, 2004, the first country from the former Soviet Union that is not Russia to qualify for the Finals of a major tournament.  He was voted as the best player at Dynamo Kyiv in 2004.  He was also Latvian Man Of The Year 2003–2004. At the club level, he played at home and elsewhere within the former Soviet Union.  He also played in Greece and Spain.
Māris Verpakovskis 
FW: Vakeriy Porkujan (Armenian born in Ukraine)
Vakeriy Porkuyan mainly played for Chernomorets Odessa in his career, but between 1966 and 1970,  he played with Dynamo Kyiv.  After his first season with the club, he was chosen by the national football team to attend the 1966 World Cup.  He was the World Cup bronze boot. He also went to the 1970 World Cup Finals.  In total, he had 8 caps, scoring 4 goals (all in the 1966 World Cup Finals).

ST Nikita Simonyan (Armenia)
Nikita Simonyan started with  Krylya Sovetov Moscow, but he played mainly for Spartak Moscow, where he is the top scorer in the history at 160 goals where he played between 1949 and 1959, and is also the top scorer in the Soviet Top League at 133 goals.  He was the Soviet captain at the World Cup Finals in 1958 and also won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1956.  He was capped 20 times. He was awarded the Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR title in 1954.
Nikita Simonyan

Honorable Mention
Yozhef Sabo (Hungarian born in Ukraine), , Georgi Kondratiev (Belarus), Vitali Kutuzov (Belarus), Yuri Zhevnov (Belarus), Artem Milevskiy (Belarus), Aleksandr Prokopenko (Belarus), Nazar Petrosyan (Armenian born in Turkmenistan), Eduard Markarov (Armenian born in Azerbaijan), Arkady Andreasyan (Armenia born in Baku, Azerbaijan), Yuri Kuznetsov (Azerbaijan), Kazbek Tuayev (Azerbaijan), Nikolai Smolnikov (Azerbaijan), Vitaly Shevchenko (Azerbaijan), Igor Ponomaryov (Azerbaijan), Alakbar Mammadov (Azerbaijan), Kazbek Tuaev (Azerbaijan), Alakbar Mammadov (Azerbaijan), Nikolai Smolnikov (Azerbaijan), Igor Ponomaryov (Azerbaijan), Leonīds Ostrovskis (Latvia), Aleksandrs Koļinko (Latvia), Aleksandrs Starkovs (Latvia), Igors Stepanov (Latvia), Igors Stepanov (Latvia), Marians Pahars (Latvia), Valdas Ivanauskas (Lithuania)Arminas Narbekovas (Lithuania), Vyacheslav Sukristov (Lithuania),  Evald Tipner (Estonia) , Georgi Ryabov (Estonia), Artur Ioniță (Moldova), Pavel Cebanu (Moldova), Hovhannes Zanazanyan (Armenian born in Greece), Levon Ishtoyan (Armenia), Sargis Hovsepyan (Armenia).

Squad Explanation
-- I do not consider playing for one of the republics at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR as "cap-tied".
-- I created two other all-time team for Ukraine and Russia.  The Soviet-era players were based on ethnicity.  The post-Soviet Union was based on the national team.  I also put ethnic minority here.  Basically, I wanted to expand the player pool by doing this.  I have players of Hungarian, Tartars, Romanians and Jewish origins.
-- Tatarstan is a part of Russia.  So I am only selecting players of Tatar origins.  Both Galimzyan Khusainov and Vagiz Khidiyatullin are believed to be Tatars.  Meanwhile, Gennady Yevryuzhikhin and Viktor Kolotov were ethnic Russians.  I considered them Russians born in Russia (Tatarstan).
-- Before the 1970's, most of the good footballers came from Russia.  After the 1970's, many Ukrainian and Georgian footballers emerged, but it was still rare to see national team players from outside the three republics.  After the breakup, however, Latvia qualified for a major tournament (Euro 2004) before Ukraine and Georgia did.  
-- This team consisted of 5 Armenians and 4 Belarusian.
-- In 1958, Leonīds Ostrovskis (Latvia) and Nikita Simonyan (Armenia) were the only non-Russian and non-Ukrainian on the World Cup team.  Simonyan was an Armenian born in Ukraine.  However, most of Soviet Union's World Cup teams were dominated by players from Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.  Both made the team.
-- All Jewish players are eligible for this team as well the all-time team of their republic.   For example, Leonid Buryak is also on my all-time Ukraine team because the Jewish people can be interpreted as a religion rather than an ethnicity.  His exclusion from my all-time Ukraine team therefore is a prejudice against a religion. So all jewish players are eligible for this team as well as the place of their birth.  Konstantin Krizhevsky (Russia) and Leonīds Ostrovskis (Latvia) are also Jewish.
-- Six ethnic Armenians participated in a World Cup Finals.  Nikita Simonyan, Eduard Margarov and Khoren Oganesian played for the Soviet Union.  Alain Boghossian was on the French team that won the World Cup in 1998.  His teammate Youri Djorkaeff has a Armenian mother. Andranik Eskandaryan and Andranik Teymourian played for Iran.
-- The Baltic states did not become parts of Soviet Union until the 1940's.  They had their own national teams before the war.
-- Anatoliy Banishevskiy (Azerbaijan), Alexander Hleb (Belarus), Khoren Oganesian (Armenia) and Nikita Simonyan (Armenia) were some of the best players for their respective republics.
-- Matt Poom is one of the few goalkeepers from the former Soviet Union to have done well playing in the West.  Yuriy Romenskyi was born in Azerbaijan.  So he is eligible. 
-- Goalkeeper Evald Tipner (Estonia) played for Estonia before it became a part of USSR.  
-- Anatoliy Banishevskiy was chosen as Azerbaijan's UEFA Jubliee Player.
-- Ragnar Klavan (Estonia) did not feature much with Liverpool.  Nevertheless, it is a big club.  Besides, I was looking for another player who can play as fullback.
-- Vagiz Khidiyatullin was the first Soviet player to play in Western Europe.
-- Sergei Gorlukovich chose to represent Russia after the end of the Soviet Union.  He is ruled eligible.
-- In the 1980's, Sergei Aleinikov was a key player with the Soviet Union.  He is probably Belarus' greatest ever player.  He joined Juventus in 1989 as one of the first Soviet players playing in the West. 
-- Alenikov and Rats edged out Andrei Zygmantovich (Soviet Union/Belarus).
-- Henrikh Mkhitaryan has established himself at Borussia Dortmund.  At the time of writing, he is making a name with Manchester United. He is probably the most accomplished footballer eligible playing in the Western Europe since the breakup of Soviet Union.
-- AM:Arminas Narbekovas is known as Lithuania's greatest ever player, but I do not have enough spot for him.  I do not have a single plauer from Lithuania.
-- I also did not select anyone from Moldova.  Pavel Cebanu and Artur Ioniță are probably their best players.  I only put them on honorable mention.
-- Leonid Buryak was one of Dynamo Kyiv's greatest players. He should be on my Ukrainian Greatest All-Time team, but I wanted to reinforce this team.
-- Vagiz Khidiyatullin is listed in my all-time team for Russia.  He was born in Russia of Tartar origin.  I decided to select him on both teams.
-- Alexander Hleb (Belarus) was among the top midfielder when he played in the Bundesliga.
-- Māris Verpakovskis was rewarded for Latvia qualifying for the Euro 2004, the first time a nation side other than Russia qualified for a major tournament.  As of 2020, they remained the only team outside of Ukraine and Russia to have qualify for a Finals.
-- Vasyl Rats is an ethic Hungarian while Volodymyr Muntyan is Romanian.  So I put them here.
-- I decided not to select Eduard Malofeyev. He is often listed as an all-timer from Belarus.  Upon studying the situation, I discovered that he was an ethnic Russian born in Russia, which made him an Russian.  Of course, he was one of the greatest players ever from Dinamo Minsk.  Instead I took Sergey Gotsmanov, a midfielder.  Gotsmanov edged out Yozhef Sabo, an Hungarian born in Ukraine.
-- Vakeriy Porkujan finished as the World Cup bronze boot in 1966. He did not do much after the World Cup Finals.  Nevertheless, the World Cup Finals in 1966 was Soviet Union's greatest showing at the Finals.  I awarded him with a spot on the team for that.

Starting Lineup
Formation: 4-3-3 


  1. Nice work. I think Georgia is strong enough for it's own squad - at least as strong as Slovakia for example. In addition to those you have above (you have 15 already) you could add the likes of Tengiz Sulakvelidze who played 49 times for USSR and some of the more recent Georgians like Levan Kobiashvili who was successful in Germany.