Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Soviet Union All-Time Team

1960 European Champions

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index

Former Soviet Union except Russia and Ukraine

The Soviet Union had the best record in European Championships until the emerge of West Germany in the 1970's. They reached at least the semifinal of tournament 5 times out of a possible(only 7 tournaments were held before the collapse of the Soviet Union), winning the inaugural competition in 1960 when they beat Yugoslavia in the final, 2–1. They finished second three times (1964, 1972, 1988), and fourth once (1968), when, having drawn with Italy in the semi-final, they were sent to the third place playoff match by the loss of a coin toss.  For the World Cup finals, the Soviet Union failed to qualify for the World Cup only twice, in 1974 and 1978, and attended seven finals tournaments in total. Their best finish was fourth in 1966, when they lost to West Germany in the semifinals, 2–1. The Soviet Union national team also participated in number of Olympic tournaments earning the gold medal in the 1956 and 1988.

This is my all-time team for the former Soviet Union. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  All players played for the Soviet Union. I have create other blogs for individual republics that included players who played after the collapse of the USSR.
Euro 1988
GK: Lev Yashin 
He is considered the greatest keeper in the history of the game. With the national team he won the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 1960 European Championship. He also played in three World Cups, in 1958, 1962 and 1966. He took the USSR to 4th place in 1966.  He spent his entire career with Dynamo Moscow.
Lev Yashin

GK: Rinat Dasaev 
He was considered one of the best keepers in the world during the 1980's.  He was capped 91 times from 1979 to 1990, being the second-most capped player ever for the Soviet Union. He appeared in the 1982, 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cups, as well as the Euro 1988, where the Soviets finished second.

GK: Yevhen Rudakov
He was an ethnic Russian born in Moscow.  His career was associated with Dynamo Kyiv where he is regarded as their greatest keeper.  He became the first foreigner to win Ukraine's Player of the Year in 1971. He also represented the USSR  42 times and helped them reach the Euro 1972 finals.

RB: Vladimir Bessonov
Bezsonov's career began in 1976 with Dynamo Kyiv. Here he spent most of his career, except for a short one-season stint in Israeli club Maccabi Haifa F.C.  He won 79 caps and scored 4 goals for the Soviet Union from 1977 to 1990.  He went to the WC Finals in 1982, 1986 and 1990. He was one of the best fullbacks in Soviet football history.

RB: Revaz Dzodzuashvili 
He earned 49 caps for the USSR, and participated in the 1970 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 1972. He also earned a bronze medal in football at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

CB: Aleksandre Chivadze 
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.  He earned 46 caps for the USSR  and was included in the squads of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.
Aleksandre Chivadze

CB: Murtaz Khurtsilava 
He 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.

CB: Vagiz Khidiyatullin 
He 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.

CB: Albert Shesternyov 
He was the most famous defender from the former Soviet Union. Nicknamed "Ivan the Terrible", he was the captain of the great Soviet team of the 1960s, he earned 90 caps an appearance record only broken subsequently by Oleg Blokhin and Rinat Dasaev in the late 1980s.  He played for CSKA Moscow for his entire career.
Albert Shesternyov 
The Soviet player of the Year in 1972. He played 52 for the USSR.  He was one of the best fullback of his time.  In 1970 he became the first player to be booked on a World Cup match, in the opening game of the tournament against Mexico.  He played mainly for Spartak Moscow.

LB: Anatoliy Demyanenko
He was a longtime Dynamo Kyiv captain and a prolific left wingback for the Soviet Union.  He played in three WC Finals(1982, 1986 and 1990) and reached the Final of Euro 1988. In 2000,  he was voted the 3rd best player in the Ukrainian 'Team of the Century".
Anatoliy Demyanenko

DM: Valery Voronin
He was Soviet Footballer of the Year in 1964 and 1965. Between 1960 and 1968 Voronin earned 63 caps and scored 5 goals for the USSR, and represented the country in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups.  During his club career he played for FC Torpedo Moscow, winning the championship twice.

CM: Igor Netto 
He was regarded among the best midfielders in Soviet history.  He played most of his career for Spartak Moscow.  He was the captain of the USSR from 1954 to 1963. He led the country to the gold medal in the 1956 Summer Olympics, and victory at the first ever European Championship in 1960. He missed all but one match in the 1958 FIFA World Cup due to injury, and also played all four matches in the 1962 FIFA World Cup when the Soviet Union reached the quarterfinals. In total he collected 54 international caps and four goals. 
Igor Netto

CM:  Volodymyr Muntyan 
He 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.

He was capped 36 for the USSR and 5 times for CIS. He was a part of the Soviet squad that finished second at Euro 88.  He became the Soviet Player of the Year in 1988 after the tournament.  He was also capped twice by Ukraine.  He became one of the first Soviet player to play successfully aboard when he joined Sampdoria and then, Rangers in the 1990's.

AM: David Kipiani 
He 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 Georgia on the football map.  However, injuries kept him from playing more for the Soviet Union.  He was only capped 19 times.

David Kipiani

RW: Igor Chislenko 
He was a legendary winger for Dinamo Moscow.  He also played for the USSR national football team, appearing 54 times for the Soviet Union and scored 21 goals. He played in the 1962 and 1966 World Cup, was a runner up in Euro 1964 and was one of the stars of the 1966 World Cup. 

LW: Sergey Ilyin
He was probably the best left winger in Soviet football history. He was best known for his stint with Dinamo Moscow, where he was the captain from 1935 to 1941.

FW: Valentin Ivanov
He appeared 59 times for the Soviet Union, scoring 26 goals.  He is the co-leading scorer at the 1962 World Cup and co-1960 European Nations' Cup top scorer.  He spent his entire career with Torpedo Moscow.

SS: Igor Belanov 
He made a name for himself at Dynamo Kyiv, winning five major titles and being named European Footballer of the Year in 1986.  He played for the Soviet Union at the WC Finals in 1986, where he was one of the star players.  He is considered one of the greatest Ukrainian player in history.
Igor Belanov 

SS: Oleg Blokhin
He was probably the greatest outfielder in Soviet history. He was the European Player of the Year in 1975.  He holds the all-time top goalscorer record for both Dynamo Kyiv (266 goals) and the Soviet Union national team (42 goals), as well as being the overall top goalscorer in the history of the Soviet Top League (211 goals). He is also the only player to have been capped over 100 times for the Soviet Union and holds Dynamo's appearance record with 582 appearances during his 18 year spell at the club.\
Oleg Blokhin
FW: Viktor Ponedelnik
Ponedelnik first started playing for a local team, Rostselmash, in 1956. In 1958 he switched to SKA Rostov-on-Don and was invited to join the Soviet national team. In the 1960 European Championship, the only major Championship ever won by the Soviet Union, Ponedelnik headed home the winning goal in extra time in the final game against Yugoslavia.

ST:  Eduard Streltsov 
He was one of the greatest strikers in Soviet history.  He first won an Olympic Gold medal in 1956. He was the Soviet Footballer of the Year in 1967 and 1968.  In 1996, Torpedo renamed their home ground "Eduard Streltsov Stadium" in his honour.  He was part of the squad that won the gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and came seventh in the 1957 Ballon d'Or. 
Eduard Streltsov 

Honorable Mention
Mikheil Meskh, Oleh Protasov, Oleksandr Zavarov, Hennadiy Lytovchenko, Oleg Kuznetsov, Yuriy Voynov, Anatoli Bashashkin.

Squad Explanation
-- Only players from the Soviet Union's era were considered.
-- If I took players played after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Andriy Shevchenko would be the only player who could make the team.  I would drop Viktor Ponedelnik for him. Andrey Arshavin and Kakha Kaladze have decent chance as well.


Valeriy Lobanovskyi was one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game.  He normally played a 4-4-2 formation. I do not know the type of players I chose fit his system. Lobanovskyi was known for his usage of space and quick counter attacks.  I started a wide player Chislenko on the right.

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