Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The former Soviet Union without Ukraine and Russia



Latvia 2004

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

I created two other all-time teams for Ukraine and Russia.  This is the all-time team for the former Republic of the Soviet Union, excluding Ukraine and Russia.  I excluded all Central Asian republics that played in the AFC.  Those players were selected for the all-time time for Central Asia. The Soviet-era players were based on ethnicity.  Several Ukrainian-born players were put here rather than with Ukraine's all-time team.  The post-Soviet Union was based on the national team.  

Russia and Ukraine dominated Soviet football before the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Georgia was probably the third most important republic.  Dinamo Tobilisi won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1981.  A number of Georgian players were capped by the USSR.  After the breakup, however, it was Latvia that first qualified for a major tournament(Euro 2004).  

Team
GK:Anzor Kavazashvili (Georgia)
Anzor Kavazashvili played for Soviet Union 29 matches, and was a participant at the 1966 and 1970 FIFA World Cup and 1968 European Chamopionship as Lev Yashin's backup . For club football, he started with Dinamo Tobilisi in 1957, but his career is defined by clubs in Moscow. He played for Torpedo Moscow and Spartak Moscow.

GK: Otar Gabelia (Georgia)
Gabelia spent his club career at FC Dinamo Zugdidi, playing from 1970 to 1971, at FC Dinamo Sokhumi, from 1972 to 1973, at FC Torpedo Kutaisi, from 1974 to 1976 and from 1983 to 1984, at FC Dinamo Tbilisi, from 1977 to 1982 and from 1985 to 1989. In 1981 he won UEFA Cup Winners Cup, which was the biggest achievement of his sport career with Dinamo Tbilisi.

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. He made a total of 120 appearances for Estonia and was the team's captain.
Mart Boom

RB: Revaz Dzodzuashvili (Georgia)
Revaz Dzodzuashvili earned 49 caps for the USSR, and participated in the 1970 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 1972. He was named in the team of the tournament in Euro 1972, where the Soviets finished second. He also earned a bronze medal in football at the 1972 Summer Olympics. For his club career, he played mainly for Torpedo Kutaisi and Dinamo Tbilisi.

CB: 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.

CB: Aleksandre Chivadze (Georgia)
Aleksandre Chivadze is from Soviet Georgia.  He spent his entire club career at FC Dinamo Tbilisi, playing from 1974 to 1987. He was a part of the great Dinamo Tbilisi side that won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1981 which put Georgia's football on the map.  At the international level.  He earned 46 caps for the USSR  and was included in the squads of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.  He was the captain of the 1982 World Cup team.  He was Soviet Footballer of the Year in 1980.
Aleksandre Chivadze
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: Vagiz Khidiyatullin (a Tartar born in 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.

CB: Murtaz Khurtsilava (Georgia)
Murtaz Khurtsilava was part of the USSR  that finished second in the 1972 UEFA European Championship, third at the 1972 Summer Olympics and fourth at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. He was also one of only two Georgians, alongside Alexandre Chivadze, to have captained the Soviet team. At the club level he played for FC Dynamo Tbilisi.

LB: Kakha Kaladze (Georgia)
Kakha Kaladze started with Dinamo Tbilisi.  He was also a part of Dynmamo Kyiv that dominated the domestic league and reached the semifinal of the Champions' league in the 1990's with Andriy Shevchenko.  He also played for AC Milan, where he won two Champions' League in 2003 and 2007.  He was Georgian Player of the Year for 5 times.  His brother was kidnapped in a high-profile case in 2001 and officially declared dead in 2006.
Kakha Kaladze 
LW:  Mikheil Meskhi (Georgia)
Nicknamed the "Georgian Garrincha".  He earned 35 caps for the USSR and participated in the 1962 World Cup. He also appeared on the Soviet squad for the first ever European Nations' Cup in 1960, which the Soviets won. In 1998, Meskhi was voted the best player in the history of Georgian football. During his career he played for Dynamo Tbilisi (1954-1969) and Lokomotiv Tbilisi (1970).
  
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: 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 Muntyanwas 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.

AM/CM: Leonid Buryak (born in Ukraine of Jewish ethnicity)
Leonid Buryak was one of Dynamo Kyiv's greatest players.  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.

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 77 caps for Belarus.

AM: Georgi Kinkladze (Georgia) 
Georgi Kinkladze was one of the first star players for Georgia after its independence.He was capped 57 times for Georgia. In Georgia he won three league titles and two cups with Dinamo Tbilisi, and was named national player of the year twice. He is best remembered for his stint with Manchester City, where he starred for three seasons. He also played for Ajax, Derby, etc.

AM: David Kipiani (Georgia)
David Kipiani was named Soviet Footballer of the Year in 1977. He was a part of the great Dinamo Tobilisi side that won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1981 that put Georgian football on the football map.  However, injuries kept him from playing more for the Soviet Union.  He also played for Locomotive Tbilisi, where he started his career in 1968. He played for Dinamo Tobilisi from 1971 to 1982. At the international level, he was only capped 19 times between 1974 and 1981.
David Kipiani

LW: Galimzyan Khusainov (Tartarstan)
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.

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 
ST Nikita Simonyan (Armenia)
Nikita Simonyan is the top scorer in the history of the club Spartak Moscow at 160 goals, and is also the top scorer in the Soviet Top League at 133 goals.  He was the Soviet captain at the WC 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

ST/RW:  Slava Metreveli (Georgia)
Slava Metreveli played for Soviet Union for 48 times, and was a participant at the 1962 FIFA World Cup, 1966 FIFA World Cup, 1970 FIFA World Cup and at the 1960 UEFA European Football Championship, where the Soviet Union won the gold medal. In the latter, he scored in the final against Yugoslavia as they won 2-1.  Metreveli played most of his career for Torpedo Moscow (1956–1962) and Dinamo Tbilisi (1963–1971).

ST/RW: Ramaz Shengelia (Georgia)
Ramaz Shengelia was capped 26 times by USSR between 1979 and 1983.  He went to play in the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain, where he scored a goal against Scotland.  He was named Soviet Footballer of the Year in 1981. He was a part of the great Dinamo Tbilisi side that won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1981. He started his career with Torpedo Kutaisi.  He then played Dinamo Tbilisi from 1977 to 1988.
Ramaz Shengelia

Honorable Mention
Konstantin Krizhevsky (Jewish from Russia), Arkady Andreasyan (Armenia), Sergei Gurenko (Belarus), Eduard Markarov (Armenia), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia), Konstantin Krizhevsky (Jewish from Russia), Arkady Andreasyan (Armenia), Sergei Gurenko (Belarus), Eduard Markarov (Armenia). Vitaly Daraselia (Geogria), Vladimir Gutsaev (Georgia)

Squad Explanation
  • 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 tried to spread the team around.  Matt Broom was selected because of his national background. Anatoliy Banishevskiy (Azerbaijan), Alexander Hleb (Belarus), Khoren Oganesian (Armenia) and Nikita Simonyan (Armenia) were selected for their own merits, but I did look at their nationality as a factor.
  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan has established himself at Borussia Dortmund.  At the time of writing, he is making a name with Manchester United.  He would one day make this team, I believed.
  • Vagiz Khidiyatullin is listed in the all-time team for Russia.  He was born in Russia of Tartar origin.  He should be on this team, but somehow I forgot about him.
  • Kakha Kaladze's club career is among the most decorated for any player from the former Soviet Union. 
  • Vitaly Daraselia scored the winning goal at the 1981 the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final that gave Dinamo Tobilisi its greatest victory.  He played in the 1982 WC Finals for the USSR.  He died shorty after the Finals.
  • Georgia is the best Soviet republic after Ukraine and Russia in the former Soviet Union.
  • I selected a lot of players from the Dinamo Tobilisi side that won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1981. I believe that side put Georgia on the football map and introduce the world of football to the Soviet Union outside of Russia and Ukraine. 
  •  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.  They remained the only team outside of Ukraine and Russia to have qualify for the WC Finals.
  •  I also considered Konstantin Krizhevsky (Jewish from Russia), Arkady Andreasyan (Armenia), Sergei Gurenko (Belarus) and Eduard Markarov (Armenia).
  • Vasyl Rats is an ethic Hungarian while Volodymyr Muntyan is Romanian.
  • Maksim Shatskikh played for Uzbekistan, which is a part of AFC. He is on this Central Asian all-time team.  That team is not the all-time team for the former Soviet Central Asia, but every players selected came from those countries.  In reality, it is the Soviet Central Asian all-time team.  
  • Yuri Pshenichnikov who was born in Uzbekistan would have made this team although I might have study his case carefully since he is an ethnic Russian, which made him eligible for the All-Time Russian team.  Uzbekistan-born Vassilis Hatzipanagis who is not my Central Asia team would have made this team, but I put him as a part of Greek all-time national team.
Starting Lineup
Formation: 4-3-3
Only two of the starters are not from Georgria.  Leonid Buryak probably could start ahead of David Kipiani.



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

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