Sunday, October 18, 2020

What if USSR went to the World Cup 2018

Russia World Cup 2018

The Soviet Union had the best record in European Championships until the emerge of West Germany in the 1970's. 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.  However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the independent republics did not do well.  Ukraine reached the quarterfinal in 2006, but Russia who inherited the Soviet football records never advanced out of the group stage until the 2018 World Cup Finals.  

So what if the Soviet Union still exists, Russia was reinforced with more players from the other republics? As the host, Russia started the World Cup Finals with two easy wins before losing to Uruguay.  They then pulled an upset victory against Spain in the round of 16 before losing to the eventual World Cup Finalist Croatia.   Cna the Soviets do better?

GK: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow/Russia)
Akinfeev started his career in 2004.  He has spent his entire career with CSKA Moscow. He has won six Russian Premier League titles and six Russian Cups, as well as the UEFA Cup in 2005.  From 2004 to 2018, he played 111 times for Russia.  He captained the Russian team at the 2018 World Cup Finals.  He also went to 2014 World Cup Finals and four European Championships.
Igor Akinfeev
GK: Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk/Ukraine)
Pyatov was bought by Shakhtar Donetsk from Vorskla in 2006, helping the club to win the 2008-2009 UEFA Cup.  For the national team, he has played 96 times since 2007.  He was the backup keeper at the 2006 World Cup Finals.  He also went to the 2012 and 2016 European Championship.

GK: Andrey Lunyov (Zenit Saint Petersburg/Russia) 
Lunyou started with Torpedo Moscow in 2009.  In 2015, he played for FC Ufa.  Since 2017, Lunyov has been playing for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg.  At the time of writing, he earned 7 caps for the Russian national team.  He was the backup goalkeeper at the 2018 World Cup Finals.

RB: Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moscow/Russia)
Mario Fernandes made his name with Gremio in Brazil, where he played from 2009 to 2012.  In 2012, he joined CSKA Moscow. In 2014, he played a single game for Brazil against Japan in a friendly match.  After receiving his Russia citizenship in 2016, he opted to play for Russia.  In 2017, he made his debut for Russia. During the World Cup Finals in 2018, he scored an important goal against Croatia in the quarterfinal.

RB: Igor Smolnikov (Zenit Saint Petersburg/Russia) 
Smolnikov played for many clubs in Russia before joining Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2013.  He played there until 2020 when he rejoined Krasnodar, where he played from 2012 to 2013.  He made his debut for the national team in 2013.  He played in the 2018 World Cup Finals. At the time of writing, he has 29 caps.

CB: Ragnar Klavan (Liverpool/Estonia) 
Klavan played for clubs in Estonia, Norway and Netherlands before making a name with AZ and Augsburg.  In 2016, he joined Liverpool FC in a deal that made him the most expensive Estonian player ever.  In 2018, he moved to Cagliari.  Since 2003, he has played over 127 times for Estonia.  He was their captain since 2012.  He was named  Estonian Footballer of the Year a record seven times, in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Ragnar Klavan
CB: Yaroslav Rakitskiy  (FC Shakhtar Donetsk/Ukraine)
Rakitskiy played for Shakhtar Donetsk between 2009 and 2018.  In 2019, he made a controversial move to Zenit Saint Petersburg. Zenit are based in Russia and the War in Donbass was ongoing.  Since his move, he has not been called up by the national team.  Before that, he played 54 times for Ukraine.

CB: Alexandru Epureanu (Istanbul Başakşehir/Moldova) 
Epureanu joined FC Sheriff Tiraspol in summer 2004. Since playing for FC Sheriff Tiraspol, he has gone on to play for Dinamo Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala.  From 2014 to now, he played for İstanbul Başakşehir, winning the league title in 2020. He has won Moldovan Footballer of the Year in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2018.  Since 2006, he has 93 caps.

CB: Guram Kashia (Vitesse/Georgia) 
In 2006, Kashia started playing for Dinamo Tbilisi.  In 2010, Kashia moved to Vitesse, where he became their captain.  He won the KNVB Cup in 2017.  In June, 2018, he joined San Jose Earthquake.  For Georgia, he has played 79 times since 2009.  He was named Georgian Footballer of the Year twice, in 2012 and in 2013. In August 2018, he became the inaugural recipient of UEFA's #EqualGame award for his pro-LGBT rights stand in 2017 with Vitesse.
Guram Kashia
LB: Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit St. Petersburg/Russia)
Zhirkov began his career at local club Spartak Tambov before joining CSKA Moscow in 2004.  In 2009 he moved to Chelsea. After two seasons, he joined Anzhi Makhachkala, who sold him to Dynamo Moscow in 2013.  He then signed for Zenit St.Petersburg in 2016.  Since 2005, he earned over 94 caps for Russia.  He was a star at Euro 2008.  He also went to Euro 2012,  and the 2018 and 2014 World Cup Finals.

LW/LB/AM: Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City/Ukraine)
Zinchenko made his Russian Premier League debut for Ufa in 2015.  In 2016, he signed for Manchester City, but he started with a loan spell with PSV.  He returned to Manchester City in 2017.  At the time of writing, he had 33 caps.  He also became Ukraine's youngest player to score an international goal at the age of 19 years and 165 days, beating a record held since 1996 by Andriy Shevchenko

DM: Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk/Ukraine)
Taras Stepanenko began his career with Metalurh Zaporizhya, where he played for 4 seasons.  Since 2010, he plays for Shakhtar Donetsk.  In 2010, he made his debut with the national team against Switzerland.  Since then, he had 57 caps.  He was a part of their team at 2016 European Championship, where he played all three games.

CM: Artur Ionita (Cagliari/Moldova) 
Artur Ioniță played for Zimbru Chișinău and FC Iskra-Stal Rîbniţa in Moldova before he played for Swiss team FC Aarau between 2009 and 2014.  Then, he played for Hellas Verona in Italy between 2014 and 2016.  In 2016, he joined Cagliari.  After 4 seasons, he joined Benevento in 2020.  Since 2009, he has played 45 times for Moldova.  He was Moldovan Footballer of the Year: 2014 and 2019.
Artur Ioniță 
CM: Viktor Kovalenko (Shakhtar Donetsk/Ukraine) 
Viktor Kovalenko is a product of youth team systems of FC Shakhtar Donetsk.  Since 2014, he is a member of the club's senior team.  He won the Golden Boot of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup with 5 goals.  In 2016, he made his debut for the senior national team.  At the time of writing, he has 22 caps.

AM/CM/LM: Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow/Russia)
From 2006 to 2007, Dzagoev played for Akademiya Tolyatti(Krylia Sovetov-SOK) of the Russian Second Division.  Since 2008, he plays for CSKA Moscow.  He was a star at the European Championship in 2012, where he was a joint top scorer with 3 goals.   He also represented Russia at both 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals.  At the time of writing, he has 59 caps.

AM/CM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal/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
RW/AM: Viktor Tsyhankov (Dynamo Kyiv/Ukraine) 
Born in Nahariya, Israel, where his father Vitaliy Tsyhankov played as footballer.  In 2016, Viktor Tsyhankov made his professional debut for Dynamo Kyiv.  He was Ukrainian Premier League best player of season: 2018–19.  He was also Ukrainian Player of the Year in 2018.  For the national team, he made his debut in 2016 against Turkey in a World Cup Qualifier.

RW: Marlos (Shakhtar Donetsk/Ukraine)
Marlos began his career in Brazil with Coritiba. Then, he spent two years with Sao Paulo before moving to FC Metalist Kharkiv in Ukraine.  Since 2014, he played for  Shakhtar Donetsk.  He was the Ukrainian Premier League Player of the Year: 2016, 2017, 2018.  In 2017, he decided to play for Ukraine.  He is the second Brazilian to play for Ukraine. At the time of writing, he has 17 caps.

RW/FW: Andriy Yarmolenko (Borussia Dortmund/Ukraine) 
Yarmolenko was an ethnic Ukrainian born in St Petersburg under the Soviet Union.  He joined the Dynamo Kyiv Youth Academy at age of 13.   From 2008 to 2017, he played for their senior side. After spending a season with Borussia Dortmund, he joined West Ham in 2018.  From 2009 onward, he has played 90 times for the national team.  He was the Ukrainian Footballer of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and Ukrainian Premier League Footballer of the Year : 2011 and  2014.
Andriy Yarmolenko
LW: Yevhen Konoplyanka (Ukraine/Schalke 04)
Konoplyyanka started with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 2007.  He took the club to the Europa Cup Final in 2015.  From 2015 to 2017, he played for Sevilla and then, from 2017 to 2019, he played for Schalke 04.  He joined Shakhtar Donetsk in 2019.  Since 2010, he has 85 caps for Ukraine.  He was the Ukrainian Footballer of the Year: 2010, 2012, 2013 (jointly shared with Andriy Yarmolenko).  

AM:Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow/Russia)
Golovin debuted playing for  CSKA Moscow in  2014 .  In 2016, his club won the Russian Premier League.  For the national team, he helped Russia to win the UEFA under-17 Championship in 2013.  In 2015, he made his debut for the senior team.  He was a member of the 2018 World Cup team.  After the WC Finals, he joined AS Monaco.

ST: Artem Dzubya (FC Arsenal Tula/Russia) 
Dzubya began his career with Spartak Moscow, debuting in 2006.  In 2015, he moved to Zenit St.Petersburg.  He spent a loan spell with Arsenal Tula in 2018.  He was the Futbol Footballer of the Year in 2018,  RFU Footballer of the Year: 2018–19 and Sport-Express Footballer of the Year:2018-2019.  Since 2011, he has 47 caps.  After the 2018 WC Finals, he became the captain of the national team.

ST: Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar/Russia)
From 2007 to 2015, Smolov played for Dynamo Moscow.  He played on loan with Feyenoord, o Anzhi Makhachkala, etc.  He moved to Krasnodar in 2015, where he played until 2018 when he joined Lokomotiv Moscow.  He is Russian Premier League top goalscorer: 2015–16, 2016–17 and Footballer of the Year in Russia (Sport-Express): 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18.  He participated in the Euro 2018 and the 2018 World Cup Finals for Russia.
Fyodor Smolov

Honorable Mention
Guilherme Marinato (Russia), Sergei Ignashevich (Russia), Valeri Qazaishvili (Georgia), Jaba Kankava (Georgia), Ilya Kutepov (Russia), Yury Gazinsky (Russia), Vasili Berezutski (Russia), Roman Neustädter (Russia), Konstantin Rausch (Russia), Odil Ahmedov (Uzbekistan), Yevhen Khacheridi (Ukraine), Artem Fedetskyi (Ukraine), Artem Kravets (Ukraine), Artem Fedetskyi (Ukraine), Yevhen Khacheridi (Ukraine), Ruslan Rotan (Ukraine), Ruslan Malinovskyi (Ukraine), Vasili Berezutski (Russia), Roman Neustädter (Russia), Konstantin Rausch (Russia), Alexandr Kokorin (Russia), Aleksandr Samedov (Russia), Roman Zobnin (Russia), Ilya Kutepov (Russia), Denis Cheryshev (Russia), Alexandru Gatcan (Moldova), Fyodor Kudryashov (Russia).

Squad Explanation
-- I also did a Yugoslavia 2018 World Cup team.  I based the team upon the Croatian team at the World Cup. I was able to reinforce "Croatia" with Jan Oblak, Edin Džeko, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Matić, Miralem Pjani, etc.  However, this Soviet team is still relatively weak. None of the players were household names. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Igor Akinfeev and Yuri Zhirkov are the only well-known players outside of their own countries.
-- Unlike Yugoslavia 2018, I am not reinforcing the Russian team with players from the former Soviet Union, but I did use Russia as a reference since they are the only team at the World Cup Finals.  All of the former republics of USSR did poorly during the World Cup Qualifiers. Russia also did not have an impressive record leading up to the World Cup Finals.
-- I tried to base my team selection with the perspective of the situation before the World Cup Finals. 
-- The political disputes between different countries of the former Soviet Union were overlooked.  In this alternative world, Soviet Union is still a single country.  Politics of the post-Soviet Union will not be an issue.  
-- The Ukrainian players dominated the last three World Cup Finals participated by the Soviet Union (1982, 1986 and 1990). This team featured 9 Ukrainians, which is 39% of the team.  However, it is still lower percentage than the last three Soviet's World Cup team.
-- Russia also has 9 players, which is higher percentage than the Soviet teams in the World Cup Finals of 1982, 1986 and 1990.  Their percentage of the team is the highest since 1966.
-- Georgia contributed 21% of all Soviet players in all World Cup Finals, but Guram Kashia is the only Georgian on this team.
-- No player from Moldova ever played for the USSR in a World Cup Finals.  I have two players from there, Artur Ionita and Alexandru Epureanu.  No Estonian player ever played in a World Cup Finals.  I have Ragnar Klavan.
-- Two players were born in Brazil, Mario Fernandes (Russia) and Marlo (Ukraine).
-- The real Russian World Cup team has only two players based outside of Russia.  This team consisted of 8 players playing outside the "Soviet Union".  
-- In the history of the USSR, Dynamo Kyiv sent the most players to the World Cup Finals.  They are followed by Spartak Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, Dinamo Tbilisi and Torpedo Moscow.  The five clubs consisted  81% of all Soviet players in the World Cup Finals.  On this team, however, only one player (Viktor Tsyhankov of Dynamo Kyiv) played for any of the top 5 teams.
-- CSKA Moscow produced 13 players in total for the USSR in history.  They were the 6th club.  On this team, I have 4 players from CSKA.  Zenit Petersburg sent 3 players to the World Cup under the USSR.  I have 3 on this team.  Shakhtar Donetsk never sent anyone to the World Cup under the USSR.  I have 4 on this team.
-- Igor Akinfeev and Andriy Pyatov are the obvious choices for goalkeepers.
--  Both Russian centre-back Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya were injured and missed the World Cup Finals.  Sergei Ignashevich came out of retirement to replace them on May, 2018.  He turned out to be a key player for Russia at the World Cup Finals.  But if the team was still the Soviet Union, he would not come out of retirement because the team have plenty of alternatives. I took Alexandru Epureanu (Moldova) who was playing well in Turkey and Guram Kashia (Georgia) who was the captain of Dutch Eredivisie club Vitesse that season.  Ragnar Klavan (Estonia) is the most famous defender of the Soviet Union because he played for Liverpool.
-- Guram Kashia won the UEFA #EqualGame award in 2018. Whilst playing for Vitesse that year, he wore a rainbow armband, in support of LGBT rights, leading to a backlash in his own country.  He was awarded for his political stand.
-- CB Yaroslav Rakitskiy transferred to Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2019.  It was controversial move because of the "War in Donbass".  However, the World Cup Finals took place in 2018 before his transfer.  Furthermore, in this alternative world, the war did not happen.
-- The other Russian starting center back at the World Cup Finals was Ilya Kutepov, but his club career was not remarkable the season before. Vasili Berezutski (Russia), Roman Neustädter (Russia) and Konstantin Rausch (Russia) did not go to the WC Finals. I took them out of consideration.
-- Left wingback Oleksandr Zinchenko did not play much for Manchester City that season, but he is one of the more famous Soviet players.  I also took veteran Yuri Zhirkov who is one of the more experienced and famous players.  I left out Fyodor Kudryashov who was not as well-known outside Russia.
-- Taras Stepanenko had an on field incident with Andriy Yarmolenko during the Shakhtar-Dynamo derby in April 2016.  The pair played together at Euro 2016.  Their rivalry won't be an issue.
-- Henrikh Mkhitaryan transfered to Arsenal from Manchester United in January, 2018.  He had been inconsistent with both Arsenal and Manchester United, but I would still take him since he is probably "Soviet Union's" best player.
-- The 2017-2018 season would be Andriy Yarmolenko's first and only season with Borussia Dortmund.  He only had 3 goals and 2 assists in 18 Bundesliga appearances, but he was one of Soviet Union's best players.
-- I seriously considered Odil Ahmedov (Uzbekistan) who played in the Chinese Super League.  
-- Alan Dzagoev became one of Europe's young stars after Euro 2012.  By 2018, however, his career was derailed by injuries, but I hoped that he might finally live up expectation.  This would have been my prospective at the time of selection. * In the real Finals, he was injured on the first game.
-- Marlos was voted the best player in the Ukrainian league.
-- Roman Zobnin played every minute of World Cup Finals, but I have no spot for him. I also dropped Aleksandr Samedov who was a starter at WC Finals.
-- Denis Cheryshev did not play for the Russian national team between 2015 and 2018.  He barely made the Russian team at the World Cup Finals.  He won't get into this team because of Yevhen Konoplyanka and Oleksandr Zinchenko.  
-- I already have two right-side attackers in Marlo and Andriy Yarmolenko, but I still took Viktor Tsyhankov.  In 2018, Viktor Tsyhankov was only 20 years old.  He only played a handful of games for Ukraine, but he emerged as a new star in the Ukrainian league that season.   I also took two other youngsters from Ukraine, Viktor Kovalenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko.  The trio are considered to be the future of the "Soviet Union".
-- In 2018, Ruslan Malinovskyi was featuring regularly for Ukraine, but I prefer Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aleksandr Golovin and Alan Dzagoev.  I did not want to drop Viktor Tsyhankov for him.  At the summer of 2018, I would consider Tsyhankov's potential.  Of course, Ruslan Malinovskyi's career also improved after 2018, but I would not know that in June, 2018.  So I took Tsyhankov over him.
-- I only selected two strikers.  I studied Artem Kravets (Ukraine), but he seldom used by the Ukrainian national team that year.  So I only took Artem Dzubya (Russia)  and Fyodor Smolov (Russia).  Dzubya was the Futbol Footballer of the Year in 2018.   Smolov was the Footballer of the Year in Russia (Sport-Express) in the 2017–18 season.

Andriy Yarmolenko is one of the stars of the team, but I field Marlo instead.  He would have a role in this World Cup.  I do not have preference for either Igor Akinfeev or Andriy Pyatov.  Yaroslav Rakitskiy should also start over Guram Kashia.  I start Yuri Zhirkov now, but Oleksandr Zinchenko deserves the starting position as much.  He is probably the better player at the time of the WC Finals.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Armenia or Armenian diaspora

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

* Due to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the issue of ethnicity is very sensitive.  I am also including Armenians born outside of Armenia including Azerbaijan.  If I made a mistake in ethnicity, I apologize in advance.

Armenia became an independent state in 1991, the Armenian SSR having previously played for the Soviet Union national football team. The Football Federation of Armenia was founded on 18 January 1992 and established relations with FIFA in 1992 and with UEFA in 1993.

The first professional club in Armenia was established in 1935 as Spartak and was later renamed Ararat. FC Ararat Yerevan is notable for its wins in the Soviet Championship and the Cup in 1973. FC Ararat also reached the quarter-finals of the 1974–75 European Cup, losing to the eventual champions, Franz Beckenbauer's FC Bayern Munich. The first stadium in Armenia was named Spartak as well, built in the late 1920s in front of what is now the Yerevan Circus.  A number of Armenian players played for the USSR national team, including Khoren Oganesian at the 1982 FIFA World Cup and Eduard Markarov in the 1960s.
If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

GK: Roman Berezovsky (Armenia) 
Roman Berezovsky began his professional career in 1991 with Koshkagorts in the Soviet Top League. He later played in the Armenian Premier League. In 1994, he moved to Zenit St. Petersburg, where he stayed until 2000.  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.
Roman Berezovsky
GK: Alyosha Abramyan (Soviet Union)
In 1966-1978, Alyosha Abramyan played for FC Ararat Yerevan in the highest group of the USSR championship, He played 276 games for them.  In 1973 he became the USSR champion.  Then, he also won the Soviet Cup in 1973 and 1975.  In 2013, he won the Medal of Merit for Services to the Motherland (Armenia).

GK: Sergey Zatikyan (Armenia)
Sergey Zatikyan was considered as the best goalkeeper of Armenia in the twentieth century.  Zatikyan in 1947 defended the colors of Yerevan "Dynamo", then the team became "Spartak". The club was later renamed "Ararat".  He played for the team until 1963. In the USSR championship, Zatikyan played 59 games. 

RB: Grigory Hambardzumyan (Soviet Union)
Hambardzumyan played in the "Lernagorts" (now "Gandzasar" ) club in his hometown. In 1953 he was invited to the "Spartak" club in Yerevan. He is the first football player from Armenia to be included in the list of the 33 best football players of the  season. In 1961 he was the second in that list (as a right-back).  He was invited to preliminary team of the Soviet national team for the 1962 World Cup, but he did not make the team due to an injury.

RB: Sargis Hovsepyan (Armenia) 
Hovsepyan started his career with FC Malatia when the club was still in the Soviet league.  He was a star with Pyunik Yerevan under an independent Armenia. In 1992, he became the first player to be named Armenian Footballer of the Year.  He also played for  Zenit Saint Petersburg.  From 1992 to 2012, he was capped 132 times for Armenia, a record.  He was the last member of the original Armenian national team to retire.
Sargis Hovsepyan
CB: Marcelo Djian (Ethnic Armenian from Brazil)
Marcelo is of Armenian descent.  In his club career, he played centre-back for S.C. Corinthians, Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, Clube Atlético Mineiro and Olympique Lyonnais.  Marcelo received the "Brazilian Silver Ball" in 1990 and named to Bola de Ouro Best XI in 1998.  He was one of the first Brazilian to play for Lyons.  For Brazil, he was capped once in 1989 against Peru.

CB/FB: Alexander Kovalenko  (Soviet Union)
Alexander Kovalenko was considered a legend in Armenia. From 1960 to 1975, he played for Ararat Yerevan. In the top league of the USSR championship, he played 281 games and scored 19 goals. In European competition played 4 matches.  He led his club to the league champion in 1973.

CB: Michel Der Zakarian (Armenia)
Der Zakarian moved to France with his family as a child.  He spent his entire professional career in France, with Nantes and Montpellier. He was a member of the Armenia national team, participated in five international matches since his debut in home 1998 World Cup qualifying match against Portugal.

CB: Alexander Mirzoyan (Soviet Union)
Born in Azerbaijan of an Armenian descent, Mirzoyan played for Neftchi Baku PFC, Ararat Yerevan and Spartak Moscow in his club career.  With Araray Yerevan, he won the Soviet Cup in 1975. He played twice for the USSR. He made his debut in 1979 against West Germany.

RB/LB/CB: Andranik Eskandarian (Iranian Armenian)
Andranik Eskandarian is probably the most famous Iranian player in the world during the 1970's because he played with Pele in NY Cosmos.  He was a sweeper, but played both rightback and leftback for NY Cosmos.  For the Iranian national team, he had 29 caps.  He won the Asian Cup in 1976 and went to the 1976 Olympics and the 1978 World Cup Finals.  His son played for the USA.  
Andranik Eskandaryan
LB: Norik Mesropyan (Soviet Union)
Norik Mesropyan played his entire career for Ararat Yerevan between 1964 and 1978, winning the Soviet Top League in 1973, and Soviet Cups in 1973 and 1975.  He played 87 straight league games for his club between 1970 to 1973, a record.  He also onlt received one yellow card in his entire career. He made the lists of the 33 best footballers of the USSR twice: 1971 and 1973.  In 1971, he also played 3 matches for the Soviet Olympic team.

DM: Alain Boghossian (French Armenian)
Alain Boghossian began his career with Olympique de Marseille in 1988.  Later, he played in Italy with Napoli and Sampdoria, but his best stint was with Parma, where he won the 1989 UEFA Cup.  For France, he had 26 caps.  He appeared as a substitute against Brazil in the 1998 World Cup Final.  He also was on the 2002 World Cup team. He is of Armenian descent.

LW/LM: Khoren Oganesian (Soviet Union)
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: Hovhannes Zanazanyan (Armenian born in Greece) 
Hovhannes Zanazanyan aka Oganes Zanazanyan was born in Greece, where his father played for Apollo.  For his club career, he was known as the captain of Ararat Yerevan when they won the Soviet Top league in 1973.  He also played for Lernagots and Spartak Moscow.  He was capped 12 times for the Soviet Union Olympic team as well as 6 other senior caps.  

CM: Arkady Andreasyan (Soviet Union) 
Arkady Andreasyan was Baku, Azerbaijan SSR to an Armenian family, but his club career was all in Armenia.  His club career highlight included Ararat Yerevan won the 1973 Soviet Top League and the Soviet Cup in 1973 and 1975.   In 1975, he scored the winning goal against Bayern Munich in the European Cup.   He had 9 Olympic caps, winning the bronze medal in 1972 in addition his 12 senior caps.

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
CM/FW: Nazar Petrosyan (Armenian born in Turkmenistan) 
Born in Turkmenistan, Nazar Petrosyan started his career with Ararat Yerevan in Armenia, where he won the Soviet Top League in 1973.  Between 1978 and 1980, he played for Moscow CSKA Moscow.  He later played for Kuban Krasnodar and FC Kotayk.  He played 3 times for the Soviet Union between 1976 and 1977.  His debut was against Argentina.

AM/CM: Youri Djorkaeff (French with an Armenian mother)
Youri Djorkaeff is the son of French international Jean Djorkaeff. He played for many clubs in Europe, including Monaco, PSG, Inter Milan, Kaiserslautern, etc.  With OSG, he won the 1996 Cup Winners' Cup. He won another UEFA Cup a year later with Inter Milan. Internationally, he was a part of the great French team that won the World Cup in 1998 and then European Championship in 2000. He is considered one of the best French offensive players in that era.
Youri Djorkaeff 
FW/RM: Arutyan Kegeyan (Soviet Union)
In 1960, Arutyan Kegeyan was the first Armenian football player to receive the title of Honored Master of Sports and for a long time remained the only Honored Master of Sports in football in Armenia. In his club career, he mainly played for Spartak Yerevan (now Ararat Yerevan), helping them to reach the 1954 USSR Cup Final.  He also played for Spartak Moscow in 1955.  He had represented the national team.

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).
Vakeriy Porkuyan 
ST: Levon Ishtoyan  (Soviet Union)
Ishtoyan started with FC Shirak, but he played mainly for Ararat Yerevan between 1968 and 1975.  He was a part of the team that won the Soviet Top League in 1973.  He had 8 caps.  He played in UEFA Euro 1972 qualifiers, but was not selected for the final tournament squad. He also played in a 1974 FIFA World Cup qualifier against France.

ST: Eduard Markarov (Soviet Union)
Born in Azerbaijan,  Markarov made his name with Neftchi Baku, where he played between 1961 and 1970.  From 1971 to 1975, he played for Ararat Yerevan.  He was the star on the team that won the 1973 Soviet league.  He played three matches for the Soviet Union national football team and was a member of the Soviet national squad that competed at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. 

ST Nikita Simonyan (Soviet Union)
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
Sanasar Gevorgyan (Soviet Union), Eduard Eranosyan (Bulgaria), Arsen Avetisyan (Armenia), Hamlet Mkhitaryan (Armenia), Sarkis Ovivyan (Soviet Union), Sergei Bondarenko (Soviet Union), Gevorg Ghazaryan (Armenia), Yura Movsisyan (Armenia), Andranik Teymourian (Iran), Éric Assadourian (Armenia),  Ara Hakobyan (Armenia), Karlen Mkrtchyan (Armenia), Artur Petrosyan (Armenia), Marcos Pizzelli (Armenia),  Karem Dokhoyan (Armenia), Robert Arzumanyan (Armenia), Vyacheslav Ambartsumyan (Soviet Union),

Squad Explanation
-- The idea of the blog born out of Youri Djorkaeff and Alain Boghossian winning the World Cup for France in 1998.  Wouldn't it be nice to team them up with Nikita Simonyan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan? Thus, the blog team becomes Armenia or Armenian diaspora all-time team.  I am using the "one drop" rule for ethnicity.
-- Eligibility is based on ethnicity and birthplace.  The players from the post-Soviet Union are also based on the national team.  However, the "cap-tied" rule does not apply here since  this is also an Armenian diaspora team.
-- According to the statistics, about 500,000 Armenians lived in Soviet Azerbaijan prior to the outbreak of Nagorno Karabakh War in 1988.  I did my best to avoid any political issue on the team.  All ethnic Armenians from Azerbaijan are eligible, but I would not select any ethnic Azerbaijani born in Armenia.  It would be controversial to force an Azerbaijani to wear the jersey of the Armenian national team.
-- Eduard Markarov is probably the most famous Armenian born in Azerbaijan.  He was a hero of Ararat Yerevan that won the 1973 Soviet Top League and the Soviet Cup in 1973 and 1975.  He also went to the 1966 World Cup.
-- Youri Djorkaeff, Alain Boghossian, Khoren Oganesian, Eduard Markarov, Nikita Simonyan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are automatic selections.  They are the best ever from Armenia.
-- Before the 1970's, most of the good footballers in the Soviet Union came from Russia.  After the 1970's, many Ukrainian and Georgian footballers emerged, but it was rare to see national team players from outside the three republics.  In 1958,  Nikita Simonyan (Armenia) was one of two non-Russian and non-Ukrainian on the World Cup team.  Simonyan was an Armenian born in Ukraine.  
-- Only five players selected here played for Armenian national team. Artur Petrosyan and Marcos Pizzelli made honorable mention.
-- 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.  Khoren Oganesian is the only Armenia-born player to have played in the World Cup Finals.
-- I have 4 players who represented national team other than Armenia or the USSR. In addition to Eskandaryan, Boghossian and Djorkaeff, I also have Marcelo (Brazil). 
-- Sargis Amirkhanyan and Sahak Achemyan were Armenians from Turkey, who returned to Armenia in 1920's.  I do not know much about them.
-- Ararat Yerevan won the Soviet Top League and the Soviet Cup tin 1973 coached by legendary former player Nikita Simonyan, one of Soviet Union's most prominent football figures.  The team is known as "Ararat-73".  I selected 9 players from that team.  They are Levon Ishtoyan, Eduard Markarov, Hovhannes Zanazanyan, Alyosha Abramyan, Alexander Kovalenko, Norik Mesropyan, Hovhannes Zanazanyan, Nazar Petrosyan and Arkady Andreasyan.  
-- Alexander Mirzoyan joined the club in 1975 after the league championship.
-- I selected righbacks, Sargis Hovsepyan and Grigory Hambardzumyan over Sanasar Gevorgyan.  Hovesepyan is one of Armenia's cap record holders.  Sanasar Gevorgyan was from Ararat-73. He was known for his battle with Oleg Blokhin in the Soviet league, but I took Hambardzumyan who was a pioneer of Armenian footballers in the USSR over him.
-- For centerback position, I took Marcelo who was named to Brazil's Bola de Ouro twice in his career.  He is an ethnic Armenian who was capped twice by Brazil. 
-- Michel Der Zakarian who moved to France as a child was included on many all-time list I found on the internet.
--  Karem Dokhoyan (Armenia) was also mentioned frequently, but I only put him on honorable mention.
-- Andranik Eskandarian was the most famous Iranian player before the 1990's, but it was largely due to the fact that he was playing with Pele in NY Cosmos.  His ethnicity is Armenian.  
-- Henrikh Mkhitaryan established himself at Borussia Dortmund. At the time of writing, he is making a name with Manchester United. He is probably the most accomplished Armenian footballer eligible playing club football in the Western Europe since the breakup of Soviet Union.
-- Hamlet Mkhitaryan was probably the best player not selected.
-- Yura Movsisyan (Armenia) grew up in the United States.  Sometimes, he was listed among the greatest Armenians, but I only put him on honorable mention.
-- Sergey Bondarenko was also mentioned, but I thought that he was an Russian born in the Far East. I have question marks about him.
-- The football fans in Levon Ishtoya's hometown painted the number 8 of on the back of the most important city monument - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  That was how much he was loved.
-- Vyacheslav Ambartsumyan only made honorable mention.
The idea of the blog was actually born out of Youri Djorkaeff and Alain Boghossian winning the World Cup for France in 1998.  The two Frenchmen brought World Cup experiences to the team.  The rest of the starting lineup is a mixture of Soviet players and Armenian players.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Georgia All-Time Greatest Team

2018-2019 UEFA Nations League

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

The history of the Georgia national football team began in 1990, when the team played their first international match against Lithuania, the first country to accept an invitation. The match was held on 27 May 1990 at national stadium. Georgia were coached by Givi Nodia. The friendly match ended in a 2–2 draw. This was the only match prior to the declaration of independence on 9 April 1991. Soon afterwards the team played another friendly match against Moldova. The Georgian Football Federation became a member of both UEFA and FIFA in 1992.

During the Soviet era, Georgia contributed the third largest number of players to the national team. The leading club of the Georgian SSR was Dinamo Tbilisi. They were one of a handful of teams in the Soviet Top League (along with Dynamo Kyiv and Dynamo Moscow) that were never relegated.  Alongside Ukrainian Dynamo Kyiv, they were the only club in Soviet era to win European competition.  They won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1981.  Twenty-one players from Georgia had gone to the World Cup Finals. Three Georgian players Mikheil Meskhi, Slava Metreveli and Givi Chokheli were on the Soviet team that won the 1960 European Championship. 
 If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.
The  USSR 1982 World Cup team featured 4 Georgians 

GK:Anzor Kavazashvili (Soviet Union)
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 his career with clubs in Moscow. He played for Torpedo Moscow (1960-1968) and Spartak Moscow (1969-1971).
Anzor Kavazashvili 
GK: Otar Gabelia (Soviet Union)
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: Sergo Kotrikadze (Soviet Union)
Sergo Kotrikadze played for FC Dinamo Tbilisi (1955 to 1968) and FC Torpedo Kutaisi (1968-1969).  He was voted Best goalkeeper in the USSR in 1962.  For the national team, he earned 2 caps. In 1962, as part of the USSR national team, he went to the World Cup in Chile , where he did not play a single match, and the national team reached the quarterfinals.

RB: Revaz Dzodzuashvili (Soviet Union)
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.

RB: Givi Chokheli (Soviet Union) 
Chokheli started his career with FC Kakheti Telavi, but played most of his career for Dinamo Tbilisi. He had 20 caps with the national team during the 1960's where The Soviet back line was anchored by the famous trio of Chokheli, Anatoli Maslyonkin, and Anatoly Krutikov. in the early 1960s.  He was a participant at the 1962 FIFA World Cup and at the 1960 European Championship, where the Soviet Union won.

CB: Aleksandre Chivadze (Soviet Union)
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: Kakhaber Tskhadadze (Soviet Union Youth/CIS/Georgia)
Tskhadadze's club career started in 1986 in Dinamo Tbilisi. He became known in Western Europe with Eintracht Frankfurt, who he joined in 1992. He also played for many clubs such as Spartek Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, Manchester City, Lokomotiv Tbilisi and Anzhi Makhachkala.  In 1992, he earned 6 caps for CIS, including one appearance at Euro 92. He played 25 times for Georgia, captaining the side.

Khizanishvili started his career at Dinamo Tbilisi where he remained for just one season in 1998, before joining FC Tbilisi.  He later played in Scotland for Dundee, in England for Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and Reading and in Turkey for Kayserispor.  He played 93 matches for Georgia between 1999 and 2015, the second highest record.

CB: Murtaz Khurtsilava (Soviet Union)
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. He was selected as tGeorgia's UEFA's Jubilee player in 2003 as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.  At the club level he played for FC Dynamo Tbilisi between 1961 and 1975.
Murtaz Khurtsilava
LB: Levan Kobiashvili (Georgia)
During his career, Levan played for Gorda Rustavi, Dinamo Tbilisi, Alania Vladikavkaz and three German clubs: SC Freiburg (1998 to 2003), Schalke 04 (2003 to 2010) and Hertha BSC (2010 to 2014).  Kobiashvili earned 100 caps.  He also captained the national team for 16 times and has scored 12 goals during his international career.  He was named twice Georgian Footballer of the Year, in 2000 and 2005.

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 
DM/SW: Tengiz Sulakvelidze (Soviet Union)
Sulakvelidze started his career in FC Kutaisi Torpedo. In 1978 he moved to Dinamo Tbilisi , in which he became the champion of the USSR in 1978 , the winner of the USSR Cup in 1979, the winner of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1980/81.  He made his debut for USSR in 1980 in a friendly against Bulgaria. He went on to play in the 1982  World Cup and Euro 1988. He scored a goal in a UEFA Euro 1988 qualifier against Iceland.

CM: Vitaly Daraselia (Geogria) 
From 1975 to 1982, Daraselia played for FC Dinamo Tbilisi.  He scored a winning goal for FC Dinamo Tbilisi in 1981, in the final game of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, rushing into the penalty area past two defenders, just 3 minutes before the full-time whistle. Between 1978 and1982, he was capped 22 times.  He went to the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.  His son Vitaly Junior played 10 times for Georgia.

CM: Manuchar Machaidze (Soviet Union)
From 1967 to 1980, Machaidze played for FC Dinamo Tbilisi.  He is the only player in the Georgian football history, who lifted the Soviet Crystal Cup as captain twice.  He also played for Pakhtakor Tashkent, Spartak Moscow and Torpedo Kutaisi.  He was capped 4 times for the Soviet Union between 1974 and 1979.

AM: David Kipiani (Soviet Union)
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
AM/RW/RM: Temuri Ketsbaia (Georgia)
Ketsbaia started his career with Dinamo Tbilisi in 1987.  He later played for Anorthosis, AEK Athens, Newcastle United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Dundee.  He was considered to be a cult hero with Newcastle. From 1990 to 2003, he played 52 times for Georgia.

LW:  Mikheil Meskhi (Soviet Union)
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).

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.

SS/FW: Boris Paichadze (Soviet Union)
Boris Paihadze is considered to be the greatest ever player from Georgia.  He played his entire career with Dinamo Tbilisi between 1936 and 1951, but part of it was interrupted by the Great War.  He made his debut in Soviet Top League in 1936, being able to score 13 goals in 12 games.  He was top scorer of Soviet Top League in 1937 season.The largest stadium in Georgia, the Boris Paichadze Stadium in Tbilisi, is named after him.  
Boris Paichadze 
ST: Givi Nodia (Soviet Union)
Nodia played 21 times for USSR.  He was selected for the Euro 1968 squad, but did not play in any games at the tournament. He played at the 1970 World Cup, making history as the first player in World Cup history to receive a yellow card. He also played at Euro 1972, where USSR were the runners-up.  For his club career, he started with Torpedo Kutaisi.  Then, he played for  Dinamo Tbilisi between 1967 and 1975, and Lokomotiv Moscow between 1976 and 1978.

ST: Shota Arveladze (Georgia)
Shota Arveladze played at Dinamo Tbilisi, Trabzonspor, and Ajax, and finished at least one season as the top goal scorer at all three. He also played for Ranger, AZ and Levante.  His 27 goals scored in the UEFA Cup competition ranks him 5th in the tournament's history. He is also Georgian Footballer of the Year: 1994, 1998, 2007, and Turkish Footballer of the Year: 1994. From 1992 to 2007, he played 61 times for Georgia.  He is their all-time leading scorer.
Shota Arveladze
ST/RW:  Slava Metreveli (Soviet Union)
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 (Soviet Union)
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
Vladimir Gutsaev, David Gogia, Ramaz Urushadze, Vladimer Margania, Gaioz Jejelava, Shota Yamanidze, Giorgi Sichinava, Vladimer Barkaia, Tamaz Kostava, Shota Khinchagashvili, Giorgi Antadze, Zaur Kaloev, Georgi Tavadze, Nodar Khizanishvili, Avtandil Chkuaseli, Viktor Getmanov, Vakhtang Koridze, Levan Mchedlidze, Avtandil Gogoberidze, Vladimir Gutsaev, Kakhi Asatiani.

Squad Explanation
-- The Soviet-era players are based on ethnicity and birthplace.  The post-Soviet Union players are based on the national team.  
-- Georgia is the best footballing Soviet republic after Ukraine and Russia in the former Soviet Union.  However, it has not qualified for any major tournament since gaining independence. At the time of writing, they have just qualified for the playoff for the European Championship in 2021.
-- In 1956, Soviet Union entered its first World Cup Finals without a single Georgian.  Four years later, Georgians consisted 18% of the team in Chile.   By the end of Soviet Union, twenty-one players from Georgia had gone to the World Cup Finals.  Georgians are the third largest ethnic group behind the Russians and Ukrainians in the history of the national team.
-- In 1982, Alexander Chivadze went to the World Cup as the Soviet captain alongside Vitaly Daraselia, Tengiz Sulakvelidze and Ramaz Shengelia.  David Kipiani who was a star in the USSR was controversially left off the team.
-- David Kipiani, Revaz Dzodzuashvili, Aleksandre Chivadze and Murtaz Khurtsilava are on my All-Time Soviet Union team.
-- Three Georgian players Mikheil Meskhi, Slava Metreveli and Givi Chokheli were on the Soviet team that won the 1960 European Championship.  Slava Metreveli equalized the score at the beginning of the second half, and Mikheil Meskhi assisted on Viktor Ponedelnik's winning goal. 
-- Murtaz Khurtsilava and Revaz Dzodzuashvili played on the 1972 team that finished second. Khurtsilava was the team captain.
-- Only seven players on this team have played for Georgia, including Kakhaber Tskhadadze who played for the Soviet Union, CIS and Georgia. The rest of them are from the Soviet era.
-- 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. Aleksandre Chivadze, Tengiz Sulakvelidze, Otar Gabelia, Vitaly Daraselia, Vladimir Gutsaev and Ramaz Shengelia came from the 1981 team.  
-- In the 1990's, Manchester City featured Mikheil Kavelashvili, Kakhaber Tskhadadze, Murtaz Shelia and Georgi Kinkladze on their team. They were among the first group of Georgians to play outside the Warsaw Pact.
--Anzor Kavazashvili is the obvious choice for goalkeeper.  He was the starting goalkeeper for Dinamo Tbilisi before Ramaz Urushadze and Sergio Kotrikadze.  All three goalkeepers played in the 1960's when Lev Yashin was in his prime.  Urushadze replaced Kotrikadze on the lineup as Dinamo Tbilisi's starting goalkeeper, but Kotrikadze seemed to be more famous.   So I took him. Meanwhile, Otar Gabelia made the team for his contribution to Dinamo Tobilisi winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1981. 
-- I came upon a goalkeeper named David Gogia on my research, but I found nothing on him in English.  I put him as honorable mention for now.  I also researched on Vladimer Margania.  
-- For centerbacks, both Aleksandre Chivadze and Murtaz Khurtsilava were the only Georgians ever to captain the Soviet national team.  They were the obvious choices.  Then, I took Zurab Khizanishvili who is second in Georgia's appearance record.  Then, I went for  Kakhaber Tskhadadze who played well in the Bundesliga for a few seasons.  I have no more space for CB/RB Viktor Getmanov from the 1966 World Cup.
-- Nodar Khizanishvili and Zurab Khizanishvili are father and son. Nodar made honorable mention.
-- Akhrik Tsveiba chose to play for Ukraine and Russia.  I rule him ineligible.
-- Kakha Kaladze is one of the best footballers who had emerged from the former Soviet Union.  His club career is among the most decorated for any player from the former Soviet Union. With AC Milan, he won the Champions' League. He has served as a Mayor of Tbilisi since November 2017.  Then, I took Levan Kobiashvili who is the current Georgia all-time cap holder.  They edged out leftback Georgi Tavadze.
-- Manuchar Machaidze is Dinamo Tbilisi's most decorated captain. He is the only player in the Georgian football history, who lifted the Soviet Crystal Cup as captain twice.
-- Temuri Ketsbaia was a cult hero with Newcastle United.  I took him over Kakhi Asatiani.  He is the last player selected.  Asantiani went to the 1970 World Cup Finals. I only put him on honorable mention only.
-- Instead, I took Vitaly Daraselia. He scored the winning goal at the 1981 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final that gave Dinamo Tobilisi its greatest victory.  He beat two defenders before scoring that goal. He also played in the 1982 WC Finals for the USSR.  He died shortly after the World Cup Finals.
-- Tengiz Sulakvelidze went to the 1982 World Cup Finals as well as the European championship in 1988.
-- The largest stadium in Georgia, the Boris Paichadze Stadium in Tbilisi, is named after him.  That said how much respect he had in Georgia.  He was uncapped as far as I know.
-- Shota Arveladze is the all-time leading scorer for Georgia. He played briefly with his childhood friend Georgi Kinkladze at Ajax.  I decided to take a modern player from independent Georgia over Avtandil Gogoberidze from the 1950's.  The other strikers considered included Revaz Chelebadze and Zaur Kaloev.
-- I also left out ST/RW: Vladimir Gutsaev who was the hero of the 1981 Cup Winners Cup team.  Instead, I selected Givi Nodia who played on the 1972 European championship team.

Starting Lineup
Formation: 4-3-3 
The starting lineup still mainly consisted of ex-Soviet players.  Kakha Kaladze is the only non-Soviet starter.