Monday, October 30, 2017

Italy Greatest All-Time Team between 1938 and 1982

European Championship 1968
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Italy All Time Team
Italian diaspora
Southern ItalyCentral Italy,
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy
Italy after 1982

Italy won back-to-back World Cups in the 1930's, but waited another 44 years to win it again in 1982.  Between those years, Italy has ups and downs.  Before 1968, Italy failed to advance further than the first round in the World Cup Finals. In 1968, Italy won the European Championship and two years later, they reached the Final before losing to Brazil at Mexico 1970.

This is my selection of Italy All-Time Team between their World Cup glories in 1939 and 1982.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.
World Cup 1970

Team GK:
 Enrico Albertosi 
Enrico Albertosi was one of the best keepers in his generations.  He played with Fiorentina that won Cup Winners' Cup in 1961.  Then, he moved to Calgary in 1968, where he played with Luigi Riva and won a scudetti with Caligari in 1970.  He later transferred to A.C. Milan in 1974, where he won yet another Serie A title and Coppa Italia.  For Azzurri, he was a part of Italy's European Championship team in 1968.  He went to the both 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals.
Enrico Albertosi 
GK: Lorenzo Buffon 
Buffon was one of the best keepers in the 1950's and early 1960's.  He helped AC Milan to reach the Final of the 1958 European Cup Final.  He also played for Genoa C.F.C. (1959–60), F.C. Internazionale Milano (1960–63), and ACF Fiorentina (1963–64). His cousin is Gianluigi Buffon's Grandfather.  He had 15 caps and went to the 1962 World Cup Finals.

GK: Giuliano Sarti 
Giuliano Sarti had done well in European football.  In 1960-61, he helped Fiorentina to win the Cup Winners' Cup.  In 1963, he joined Inter Milan and became the starting keeper of La Grande Inter under Helenio Herrera.  He won back-to-back European Cup with them in 1964 and 1965. He only had 8 caps with the Italian national team.

RB: Tarcisio Burgnich 
Throughout his career, Burgnich played for Udinese, Juventus, Palermo, Internazionale, and Napoli; although he won titles with both Juventus and Napoli, he is best known for his time with Inter Milan, where he was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's Grande Inter side.  He also participated and won the Euro 1968 with Italy. 

RB/CBArdico Magnini 
Ardico Magnini startd his career with Pistoiese.  He was a great defender for Fiorentina during the 1950's.  Later, he played for Genoa. He won the scudetto in 1956.  He was a main player for Italy as well. He was capped 20 times between 1953 and 1957, a recovery period after the Superga Disaster.  He went to the 1954 World Cup Finals.
Ardico Magnini 

RB/SW: Cesare Maldini 
Cesare Maldini began his career with Italian side Triestina, before transferring to Milan in 1954, with whom he won four Serie A league titles and one European Cup during his twelve seasons with the club.  He was the captain of the 1963 European Cup winning team, the first ever European Cup for AC Milan.  He picked up 14 caps for Italy.  After retirement, he became a successful coach.  His son is Paolo Maldini.

CB: Roberto Rosato  
Rosato played for 15 seasons in the Serie A for A.C. Torino, A.C. Milan, Genoa and Aosta before officially retiring in 1979. He is mostly remembered for his highly successful period with Milan, where he won 1 Serie A A title, 3 Coppa Italia titles, 1969 European Cup, 2 European Super Cups, and 1 Intercontinental Cup.  He played 37 times for Italy.  He went to both 1966 and 1970 World Cup, and was a member of the Euro 1968 winning team.

SW: Armando Picchi 
He was the captain of La Garnde Inter.  The team was transformed when Helenio Herrera moved him to the libero position during the 1961-1962 season and a legendary team was born.  He was often credited of changing how the position was played. He was capped 12 times by the Azzurri, but he was left out of the 1966 World Cup team and an injury prevented him from playing at the European Championship of 1968, in which Italy won.

CB: Aristide Guarneri 
Guarneri made his professional debut for Como in 1957, also playing for Internazionale, Bologna, Napoli, and ending his career with Cremonese 1973. He most notably player for the Inter Milan team known as La Grande Inter, between 1958 and 1967. He was part of Inter's European Cup victories in 1964 and 1965. Capped 21 times.  He went to England 1966 and was a part of Euro 1968 winning team.

LB: Giacinto Facchetti
Until the emerge of Paolo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti was considered to be Italy's greatest left back. He spent his entire career with Inter Milan from 1960 to 1978.  He was the star wingback of La Grande Inter where they won back-to-back European Cups in the 1960's.  He was capped 94 times for Italy and also won the Euro 1968 with Italy. He played in 1966, 1970 and 1974 World Cup Finals.
Giacinto Facchetti
LB: Sergio Cervato 
Cervato started with F.C. Bolzano, but known for his career with Fiorentina. He won the scudetti with Fiorentina in 1955-56 as their captain where they only lost one match.  The club finished as runners-up for the next four consecutive years in 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960. They reached the 1957 European Cup Final the following season.  He joined Juventus and spent two seasons there, winning two more scudetti.  He played 28 times for Italy.  He participated at the 1954 World Cup Finals.

DM:  Romeo Benetti
At international level, Romeo Benetti represented the Italy national football team on 55 occasions between 1971 and 1980, and took part at the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA Euro 1980, achieving fourth-place finishes in the latter two tournaments. He is best remembered for his 5 seasons with AC Milan between 1070 and 1976, winning a Cup Winners' Cup. He also won the 1976–77 UEFA Cup with Juventus.
Romeo Benetti
DM: Giancarlo Di Sisti 
Di Sisti was known for his two stints with Roma and 9 seasons with Fiorentina in between.  He helped Fiorentina winning the 1968-69 scudetto. At international level, De Sisti earned 29 caps and scored 4 goals for the Italy national football team between 1967 and 1972 He later played in the European championship-winning team at Euro 1968 on home soil.

CM/DM: Aldo Campatelli
Born in Milan, Aldo Campatelli made his debut with Inter Milan at the age of 17 in 1939.  He played with them until 1950.  He won two Serie A titles with Inter Milan before the war as their captain.  From 1950 to 1953, he played with Bologna.    He was capped 7 times between 1939 and 1950, and a member of the 1950 World Cup team.

RW: Angelo Domenghini  
Domenghini began his professional career with Atalanta in 1960. He then moved to Inter Milan in 1964, and was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's highly successful "Grande Inter" squad.  He was capped on 33 times for Italy between 1963 and 1972. He notably scored the equalizer in the 80th minute against Yugoslavia in the Final of Euro1968. Italy then went on to win the replay 2–0. He later went on to take part in the 1970 World Cup. 

LW: Mario Corso 
Mario Corso was one of the greatest Italian wingers.  Nicknamed "God's Left Foot", he was a part of La Grande Inter of the 1960's. Except for two seasons with Genoa at the end of his career, he played his entire career with Inter Milan. He earned 23 caps for Italy , but never selected for any major tournament.

CM/AM: Gianni Rivera
Gianni Rivera was Italy's "Golden Boy"of the 1960's and perhaps their best player of his generation.  He won the Ballon d'Or in 1969.  He led AC Milan to win two European Cups in 1963 and 1969. He was capped 63 times, scoring 15 goals, at four World Cup Finals (1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974). Rivera is remembered for scoring the decisive goal in Italy's extra-time win over West Germany in the semi-final of Mexico 1970.  Italy reached the Final of that World Cup Final before losing Pele's Brazil.

Gianni Rivera

CM/AM: Sandro Mazzola
Sandro Mazzola was a part of Inter Milan's "La Grande Inter".  He won four Serie A titles (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971), two European Cups (1964 and 1965) and two Intercontinental Cups (1964 and 1965).  He won the Euro 1968 with the Azzurri and led them to the WC Finals in 1970.  During his career, he was known for sharing the starting position with AC Milan's Gianni Rivera on the national team. His father was Valentino Mazzola who died when Sandro was 7 years old.
Sandro Mazzola
Valentino Mazzola was the best player in the world during the 1940's.  He was the captain and symbol of the "Grande Torino", the team recognised as one of the strongest in the world during the second half of the 1940s, with whom Mazzola won five Serie A championships.  His career, however, was limited by the War.  He never played in the World Cup.  His life was cut short by the Superga Air Disaster in 1949.  He was Sandro's father.

RW/FW: Giampiero Boniperti
Giampiero Boniperti played his entire career with Juventus and is considered one of their greatest ever player.  He was the highest goalscorer in Juventus' history for more than 40 years, until his record was broken by Alessandro Del Piero. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1950 and 1954.  He was capped 38 times and served as captain 24 times.  
Giampiero Boniperti
Gabetto began his career with Juventus in 1934, scoring 102 goals for the club in seven seasons.  ln 1941 he was acquired by local rivals Torino, for a notable sum of 330,000 Lit. Aside from goalkeeper Alfredo Bodoira, he is the only player to win the Italian championship with both Torino F.C. and cross-city rivals Juventus F.C.

Roberto Boninsegna was a key player as Italy reached the World Cup Final in 1970, scoring Italy's lone goal at the Final against Brazil.  He also played in the World Cup Finals in 1974, but was overlooked for the Euro 1968. For his club career, his best years were with Inter Milan, where he won a single scudetto.  In 1976, he joined Juventus, winning two more scudetto, an Italian Cup and an UEFA Cup.

ST: Luigi Riva   
With 35 goals in 42 appearances between 1965 and 1974 , Luigi Riva was the all-time leading scorer for the Italy.  Riva won the 1968  European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.  He also took part at the 1974 World Cup. At the club level, he was Serie A top scorer for three seasons. He was probably the best ever player at Cagliari, leading them to win their only scudetti in 1969-1970. 
Luigi Riva

Honorable Mention
Fabio Cudicini, Giorgio Ghezzi, Carlo Annovazzi, Virgílio Maroso, Giuseppe Wilson, Aldo Ballarin, Giacomo Bulgarelli, Giorgio Chinaglia, Gigi Meroni, Antonio Juliano, Claudio Sala.

Squad Explanation
-- Giacinto Facchetti, Romeo Benetti, Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Valentino Mazzola and Luigi Riva are also on my Italy All Time Team.  They are obvious choices here.
-- Valentino Mazzola and Guglielmo Gabetto died on the Superga air disaster in 1949. Some critics blamed the failure of Italy in the 1950's on the accident, but both players were over 30 at the time of it. However, Virgílio Maroso was 23 at the time of his death.
-- Most of the players came from the Euro 1968 winning team. Luigi Riva, Sandro Mazzola, Gianni Rivera , Angelo Domenghini, Giancarlo Di Sisti, Giacinto Facchetti, Aristide Guarneri, Roberto Rosato,Tarcisio Burgnich and Enrico Albertos. Armando Picchi Mario Corso and Roberto Boninsegna also belongd to that generation.  The core group of the team also reached the 1970 World Cup Finals.
-- Mario Corso was overlooked by Italy for 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals as well as the 1968 European Championship, but he was widely considered among the greatest Italian wingers of all-time.
-- Armando Picchi only played 12 times for Italy.  He was overlooked for the 1966 World Cup Finals.  Corso and he were club mates with Inter Milan's La Grande Inter. Sandro Mazola, Giacinto Facchetti, Aristide Guarneri, Tarcisio Burgnich and Giuliano Sarti are also members of La Grande Inter.
-- Italy had poor performance at the World Cup Finals from the end of the World War Two until the 1970 World Cup Finals.  They even failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup Finals. In 1966, they were eliminated by North Korea.
-- Giampiero Boniperti's career was during the dark age of Italian football in the 1950's. I also took Sergio Cervato and Aldo Campatelli. Cesare Maldini also played in the 1950's.
--  Aldo Campatelli began his club career in 1936.  He earned his first cap in 1939.
-- Roberto Bettega belonged to the generation of the 1982 World Cup, despite not playing in it. The same applied to Paolo Pulici. Romeo Benetti retired from the national team in 1980.
-- Dino Zoff is actually older than Gianni Rivera, Luigi Riva, Sandro Mazzola, Giacinto Facchetti, Roberto Rosato, etc, but he was the captain of the 1982 World Cup team.  I could not include the captain of the 1982 team for this blog, can I?
-- Omar Sivori, Humberto Maschio and Antonio Angelillo only played a handful matches for Italy. They were not seriously considered.  
-- Giorgio Chinaglia and Fabio Cudicini only made honorable mention, despite having great club careers.  The latter actually never played for Italy.
Except Benetti and Boniperti, every starter came from the late 1960's and early 1970's generation. In real life, Italy did not play Rivera and Sandro Mazzola on the same field.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Germany Greatest All-Time Team before 1972

World Cup 1954

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Germany All-Time Team
North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria
Eastern German regional team
East German Players after 1990
German Americans/American Germans
German Turks 
German-born Players Capped by Other National Teams
Germany All-Time Team After Beckenbauer
Germany All-Time Team Without Bayern Munich Players

The rise of German football was credited with West Germany's victory at the European Championship in 1972.  However, West Germany actually won a World Cup in 1954.  A number of great players emerged during in the eras before 1972.  This is my selection of a 23 member all-time German team before West Germany won the European Championship in 1972.  All players ended their national team career before the European Championship of 1972, where it marked the beginning of German's rise in football. The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

World Cup Final 1966 against England
GK: Bert Trautmann 
Trautmann was a former POW who decided to remain in England after the war.  He signed for Manchester City in 1949, where he replaced the popular Frank Swift.  He turned from the most hated player in England to a fan favourite.  He was the hero of 1956 FA Cup winning team. In his prime, he was known as one of the best keeper in the world.  He was credited for healing the German-British relations after the War.

GK: Toni Turek
Between 1950 and 1954, Toni Turek played 20 games for the German national team.  He was the starting keeper for West Germany at World Cup Finals in 1954, where the Germans won their first World Cup.  The Final was an upset against Hungary and the match was known as the "Miracle of Bern".  His longest club stint was with Fortuna Düsseldorf.

GK: Hans Tilkowski 
Hans Tilkowski  played mainly for Westfalia Herne and Borussia Dortmund. With Borussia Dortmund, he won the Cup Winners' Cup.  For West Germany, he was a member of the World Cup teams of 1962 and 1966.  In 1966, Tilkowski was the No. 1 goalkeeper of the West German team which lost the World Cup Final against England. He was the German Player of the Year in 1965.

RB: Paul Janes
The DFB listed Paul Janes in the top 20 best German footballers of all time.  He is known as one of the best fullback in the world before the War. He went to two World Cup Finals in 1934 and 1938. He was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8:0 in Breslau in 1937. Janes played 71 times for Germany. He held Germany's all-time cap record until it was broken in 1970. His longest club stint was with Fortuna Düsseldorf.  He broke his foot after the restart of football after the War and had to retire.
Paul Janes
RB: Hans Nowak 
While playing for FC Bayern Munich, he won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1967. Nowak became notable for being the first attacking Fullback in German football. Between September 1961 and November 1964, Nowak was the standard right back of West Germany, starting in 15 out of 20 international games during that period.

CB: Willi Schulz 
Willi Schulz was one of the best center-backs in the world during the 1960's.  He played 66 times for West Germany. He was the starting sweeper in the 1966 World Cup Finals, where Franz Beckenbauer played in the midfield.  He also went to the World Cup Finals 4 years later in Mexico, but was injured.  He started Schalke 04 in 1960.  From 1965 to 1973, he played for Hamburger SV.

DM/CB: Ludwig Goldbrunner 
Ludwig Goldbrunner went to the World Cup Finals in 1938 for Germany.  He became known in 1937 as one of the "Breslau-Elf" (Breslau Eleven) players, after they thrashed Denmark with an 8:0 score.  He spent his entire career with Bayern Munich, winning the German title in 1932.  He was considered to be one of Bayern's greatest players. 

CB/LB: Karl-Heinz Schnellinger
In his prime, Karl-Heinz Schnellingerwas considered one of the best leftbacks in the world.  He participated in 4 World Cup Finals, unfortunaitely sandwiched between West Germany's two World Cup winning tournaments.  He was remembered one of the first German footballer to star in Italy.  He had a remarkable stint with AC Milan and As Roma.  He won the European Cup in 1969 with AC Milan. He was awarded the (German Footballer of the Year) in 1962. 
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger
CB: Herbert Erhardt
Herbert Erhardt was one of Bayern Munich's greatest defenders.  He earned 50 caps for the West Germany and was a member of the German team which won the 1954 World Cup, but did not play. He also participated in two other World Cups in 1958 and 1962. He served as the German captain 16 times.

CB/LB: Reihold Munzenberg 
Münzenberg spent most of his career with Alemannia Aachen (1927–1951) but also had spells with SV Werder Bremen and LSV Hamburg as a Wartime Guest Player. On the national level he played for Germany (41 matches, no goals), and was a participant at the 1934 and 1938 FIFA World Cups. Münzenberg was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8–0 in Breslau in 1937 and went on to win 10 out 11 games played during that year. He was considered one of the greatest left backs.

RB/LB:  Erich Juskowiak 
Erich Juskowiak made his national team debut in 1951, but did not go to Swizterland for the World Cup Finals in 1954. He was the starting left back four years later for the West German national team at the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden.  He became the first German player to be sent off in a World Cup Finals match over there.

DM: Andreas Kupfer
Andreas Kupfer was one of two FC Schweinfurt 05 players featured in the Breslau Elf that beat Denmark 8:0 in 1937. Kupfer was one of the best half backs in the history of German football and is the only player to have played Germany’s last international game before the end of World War II (played in 1942) and the first one after the war in 1950. 

CM: Helmut Haller
Haller was one of the best midfielders in the world in the 1960's.  In 1966, he helped West Germany to reach the World Cup Final in 1966, forming one of the best midfield of the tournament.  He also went to the 1962 World Cup in Chile and the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico.  He started with Augsburg in 1957.  He was also known for his spells in Italy, playing for Bologna and Juventus.

DM/CM: Horst Szymaniak 
Horst Szymaniak was one of West Germany's greatest midfielders.  He played 43 times for the national team. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1958 and 1962, but was omitted by Helmut Schön from his 1966 squad.  He played for SpVgg Erkenschwick, Wuppertaler SV, Karlsruher SC, Calcio Catania, F.C. Internazionale Milano, A.S. Varese 1910, and Tasmania 1900 Berlin. He joined Inter Milan in 1962 at a time when Serie A clubs seldom signed German players.
Horst Szymaniak 
CM: Fritz Szepan
Szepan is one of Germany's greatest midfielder.  He played in both 1934 and 1938 World Cup Finals.  In 1938, Szepan was named captain of the "Unified Germany" team shortly after the Anschluss at the 1936 World Cup Finals. He was also the captain of the 1934 team. He played his entire career with Schalke 04 from 1925 and 1950.  He was voted as the club's greatest ever player.  He formed a famous a partnership with Ernst Kuzorra at the club.

RW: Ernest Lehner  '
He played for the Germany in the 1934 and the 1938 World Cup. He was capped 65 times and scored 31 goals.  He was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8–0 in Breslau in 1937.  He was considered to have been one of the best outside rights of the 1934 World Cup. Others touted him as "the best non-professional player in Europe" (professionalism was not allowed in Germany in the 1930s). He was one of the players selected to represent Western Europe against Central Europe in 1937.

RW:  Helmut Rahn
Rahn was known as "Der Boss" (English: "The Boss") because of his on-field leadership and occasionally also as "The Cannon from Essen".  He was considered one of the best ever German winger.  His club career was associated with Rot-Weiss Essen. He was capped 40 times.  He was a star of the 1954 World Cup team.  He scored the winning goal in the final vs Hungary. This match is known in Germany as The Miracle of Bern (Das Wunder von Bern). He also went to the World Cup Finals in 1958.
Helmut Rahn

LW:  Hans Schafer  
He played for 1. FC Köln between 1948 and 1965. He also played for the West Germany, earning 39 caps and scoring 15 goals. He played in three World Cups, in 1954, 1958, and 1962, earning a winner's medal in 1954 and scoring a total of seven goals. Between 1957 and 1962, Schäfer captained Germany 16 times. He was German Player of the Year in 1963. He spent all of his career with Koln.

AM/FW: Fritz Walter
Fritz Walter was the captain of the 1954 World Cup winning team.  His brother Ottar Walter was also on that team. He had over 60 caps and also went to the 1958 World Cup Finals. He was selected as the UEFA Golden Player for Germany at the 50th anniversary of UEFA in 2004. During the War, he captured as a POW and his life was spared because the guards recognised him as a famous footballer. He played his entire career with Kaiserslautern between 1937 and 1959.
Fritz Walter
FW: Max Morlock 
Morlock started with Eintracht Nürnberg. In 1940 he joined 1. FC Nürnberg, debuting in the first team on 30 November 1941. He appeared more than 900 times in the first team  and scored about 700 goals. In 1948 and 1961 he led the team to German championships. He earned 26 caps and scored 21 goals. He was a member of the West German team that won their first World Cup in 1954. In the final match against Hungary Morlock scored West Germany's first goal to start the comeback. 

ST: Edmund Conen 
Conen played with FV 03 Saarbrücken, Stuttgarter Kickers,[2] Mülhausen 93, HSV Groß Born (Pommern) and a couple of smaller clubs. He played from 1934 to 1942 in 28 international matches for Germany and scored 27 goals. With four goals in the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy, Conen was the joint second top scorer with Angelo Schiavio of Italy, behind Oldřich Nejedlý of Czechoslovakia who had five goals.

ST: Ernst Kuzorra  
During his entire career, Ernst Kuzorra played for Schalke 04, whom he led to six national championships and one national cup. He is commonly regarded as the greatest Schalke player of all time alongside Fritz Szepan. A highly athletic, technical and prolific forward, Kuzorra is also commonly regarded as one of the greatest German forwards.  He was capped 12 times between 1927 and 1938.

ST: Uwe Seeler 
Seeler was captain of both his club team and the national team for many years. He played in 4 WC Finals(1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970), but sandwiched between Germany's two World Cup winning years(1954 and 1974).  West Germany came second in 1966 and reached the semifinal in 1970 while playing next to Gerd Muller. However, he is still regarded one of Germany's greatest players.  He spent his entire career with SV Hamburger.
Uwe Seeler
Honorable Mention
Hans Jakob, Heinrich Stuhlfauth, Friedrich Herkenrath, Horst Eckel, Ottmar Walter, Eugen Kipp, Richard Hofmann, Josef Posipal.

Squad Explanation  

-- Only three players are on my Germany All-Time Team: Helmut Rahn, Hans Schafer and Fritz Walter.
-- The blog team consisted of players whose career with the national team ended before the European Championship of 1972, where it marked the beginning of German's rise in football.  Some players played with Beckenbauer and members of the 1974 World Cup team.
-- On April, 1972, West Germany beat England 3-1 in Wembley during the first leg of the quarter final of the 1972 European Championship. The match often was considered a shift in power between the two countries.  West Germany began to dominate European football while England declined after the match.  The average age of the German team that day was 23 years old.
-- In the Final, West Germany beat the Soviet Union 3-0.  It was the fourth ever European Champion.  Up until 1972, the Soviets dominated the tournament, winning it in 1960 and finishing in 1964.  In 1968, they were stopped at the semifinal because of losing a coin toss to Italy.  After 1972, West Germany won two more European Champions (1980, 1996) while finsihing second in 1976 and 1992.  The balance of power shifted.
-- Bert Trautmann was not considered in other German-related all-time team because he never played for Germany.  However, I made an exception for this team. As a result, Hans Jakob missed out.  I am not familiar with Heinrich Stuhlfauth. 
-- I do not know much about Eugen Kipp.
-- All Austrian players who played for Germany in 1938 because of Anschluss were not considered due to sensitivity of the political situation.
-- East German players were considered, but none were selected.  
-- Saarland played as a national team between 1950 and 1956.  All players were eligible, but none made the team.
-- The greatest achievement for Germany in that period was obviously winning the World Cup in 1954.  The upset win over Hungary is known as "Miracle of Bern".  From that team, I included Fritz Walter, Toni Turek, Herbert Erhardt, Erich Juskowiak, Hans Schafer, Helmut Rahn and Max Morlock.
-- West Germany reached the Final of the 1966 World Cup Finals and the semifinal of the 1970 World Cup Finals.  Some of the players played with Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, etc on the national team.
-- Karl-Heinz Schnellinger and Uwe Seeler played in four World Cup Finals. Unfortunately, the four World Cup Finals were between  West Germany's two World Cup titles in 1954 and 1970.  They played with members of the Euro 1972 team, but had retired from international football before 1972.  


Monday, October 23, 2017

Germany Greatest All-Time Team after Beckenbauer

World Cup 2014

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Germany All-Time Team
North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria.
East German Players after 1990
German Americans/American Germans
German Turks 
Germany All-Time Team before 1972
Germany All-Time Team Without Bayern Munich Players
German-born Players Capped by Other National Teams
East Germany

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time German team after Franz Beckenbauer's retirement from international football in 1974. The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

West Germany won its World Cup in 1954.  However, West Germany or Germany did not earn respect from the world until the emerge of Franz Beckenbauer and the Golden Generation.  After the World Cup 1974, they are finally considered one of the best footballing nations in the world.  

Euro 1980

GK: Oliver Kahn
Kahn is one of the most successful German players in recent history.  For Bayern Munich, he won eight Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, both achieved in 2001. For Germany, his heroic performance helped Germany to finish 2nd at Korea/Japan 2002.  He was the Gold Ball winner in that World Cup Finals.  

GK: Toni Schumacher
Toni Schumacher won the 1980 European Championship in Italy and came second at the World Cup finals, in 1982 and 1986.  He was best remembered for a highly controversial incident in the 1982 World Cup semifinal against France when he collided with and seriously injured French defender Patrick Battiston.  At the club level, he spent the prime of his career with Koln.  He also played in Turkey at the end of his career.
Toni Schumacher
GK: Manuel Neuer
Neuer established as Germany's number 1 before the World Cup Finals in 2010.  Since then, he has been considered one of the best keeper in the world. He helped Germany winning their 4th World Cup in 2014. In 2014, Neuer finished third in the voting, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award.  He started with Schalke 04, but moved to rival Bayern Munich in 2010. He is the second most expensive keeper of all-time.

RB/LB/DM: Philipp Lahm
Philipp Lahm was the captain of the 2014 World Cup winning team. He had 113 capos for Germany from 2004 to 2014.  For club football, he played his entire career with Bayern Munich, except for a loan spell with VfB Stuttgart. He also won the treble in 2013 when Bayern Munich won the Champions' League, the German Cup and the Bundesliga on the same year.  He was included in the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006 and 2010.  
Philipp Lahm
RB: Manfred Kaltz 
Manfred Kaltz was one of the finest crosser of the ball in the history of the game. He was famous with his partnership with striker Horst Hrubesch at Hamburger SV.  They won the European Cup in 1984. He was capped 69 times.  He was a key player for West Germany (sometimes as their captain) in the 1980's and was considered one of Germany's greatest fullbacks. He won the European Championship in 1980.

CB: Jurgen Kohler
Jurgen Kohler was regarded one of the best defenders in the 1990's.   He earned 105 caps for West Germany/Germany between 1986 and 1998.  He won the World Cup in 1990 and the European Championship in 1996.  For his club career, he played with Koln, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.  He won the Champions' League in 1997 with Borussia Dortmund.  He was Footballer of the Year in Germany in 1997.

CB: Karl-Heinz Forster

With West Germany, Forster earned 81 caps. He won the European Championship in 1980, and came 2nd at the World Cup in both 1982 and 1986.  His brother Bernd also played in the 1982 World Cup Finals. He was regarded one of the best defenders in the 1980's.  He played with VFB Stuttgart and Marseille.  With Stuttgart, he won a Bundesliga in the 1983–84 season.  He won two league titles in France with Bernard Tapie's Marseille.

SW: Matthias Sammer
With Borussia Dortmund, Sammer won the Bundesliga and DFL-Supercup in 1995, the Bundesliga, DFL-Supercup, and the Champions League and Intercontinental Cup in 1997. He also played for Inter Milan and Dynamo Dresden. With Germany, Sammer won the Euro 1996, where he was named the tournament's best player, and was subsequently awarded the Ballon d'Or later that year. Sammer retired with 74 total caps, 23 for East Germany and 51 for the unified side.  

CB/SW: Ulrich Stielike 
Ulrich Stielike is one of a small handful of players to have played in all 3 European club finals, the World Cup Final and the European Championship Final.  He was part of the Mönchengladbach team that won three Bundesliga titles, the UEFA Cup in 1975 and gained a runner-up medal in the European Cup in 1977.  He joined Real Madrid in 1977, where he won the UEFA Cup.  He was capped 42 times, winning Euro 1980.  He also played in the 1982 World Cup Finals.
Ulrich Stielike 
LB: Andreas Brehme
Andreas Brehme is best remembered for his career with Kaiserslautern and Inter Milan.  He was the Serie A Foreign Player of the Year in 1989, in an era where the best players played in Italy.  He had 86 caps.  He was an important player for West Germany in the 1990 WC Finals, where he scored the winning goal in the Final. He also played in 1986 and 1994 World Cup Finals, and three European Championship.

LB/CB/DM: Hans Peter Briegel 
Briegel's original sport was Decathlon.  From 1975 to 1984, he played with FC Kaiserslautern before he moved on to Hellas Verona in Italy, capturing the Serie A title in 1985. The same year Briegel was named German Footballer of the Year, being the first foreign-based winner.  With West Germany, he won the European Championship in 1980.  He played in the WC Finals of both 1982 and 1986.

CB/CM: Guido Buchwald 
The best game of Buchwald's career was probably the final of the 1990 FIFA World Cup where he effectively marked the skilled footballer Diego Maradona, earning him the nickname "Diego". He was also part of Germany's disappointing 1994 FIFA World Cup squad and collected in his career 76 caps. he spent most of his career with Stuttgart, winning two league titles.  At the end of his career, he played in Japan.

CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger
He was an important player for both club and country.  He was capped 121 times. He went to three European Championships and as many World Cups, including their victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Schweinsteiger is the youth product of Bayern Munich.  He won the 2013 Champions' league title with Bayern Munich. Late in his career, he played for Manchester United and Chicago Fire.

CM:  Lothar Matthaus
Lothar Matthaus was best remember for captaining the West German team in winning the World Cup in 1990.  He was the European Player of the Year and the first ever World Player of the year in 1990. He played in five FIFA World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998), a record for an outfield player, and holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player (25 games). He also won the Euro 1980 in Italy, and played in the 1984, 1988, and 2000 European Championships.
Lothar Matthaus
CM: Toni Kroos 
Toni Kroos became a member of Bayern Munich's first team at the age of 17, Kroos won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the 2012–13 Champions League. After winning the World Cup in 2014, he joined Real Madrid . In Madrid, he won the three UEFA Champions League titles. He was a key player for Germany since 2010.  He played over 90 times for Germany.  He won the World Cup in 2014 as one of Germany's star players.
Toni Kroos
AM/CM: Michael Ballack
Born in East Germany, Michael Ballack was the best German player of his generation. first made his name with Bayer Leverkusen, helping them to the Final of the Champions' League in 2002. On the same summer, he helped Germany reaching the Final of Japan/Korea 2002.  He moved to Bayern Munich after the WC Finals.  he also played for Chelsea before his retirement.

AM: Thomas Hassler 
Hassler was a star player in the 1990's.  He played for Koln, Juventus, Roma, Karlsruher, 1860 Munich and SV Salzburg. He appeared over 100 times for the German natinal team. He was a member of the teams which won the 1990 FIFA World Cup (as West Germany) and UEFA Euro 1996. He also appeared at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 1992 and 2000 UEFA European Championships, and the 1988 Olympic Games.

RW/AM: Pierre Littbarski  
Littibarski was a major star in the 1980's.  He had over 70 caps and played in three WC Finals with Germany reaching the Final all 3 times, winning his final World Cup in 1990. He spent most of his career with Koln. Littbarski spent most of his playing career at 1. FC Köln, winning the DFB-Pokal once, in 1983, and was three times runner up in the Bundesliga (1982, 1989 and 1990).  He also played in France and Japan.

FW: Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller made his professional debut the season before South Africa 2010 with Bayern Munich.   In South Africa, he won the Golden Boot as the top scorer.  Between the two World Cup Finals, Bayern Munich won one Champions' league and went to the Final two other times.  At Brazil 2014, he won Silver Boot by scoring 5 goals after helping Germany to win their first World Cup since 1990.

FW: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was one of the best players in the world during the 1980's.  He was the European Player of the Year in 1980 and 1981.  He won the European Championship in 1980 and was part of the squad that finished runner-up at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He was a young star in Argentina 1978.  He spent the best parts of his club career with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
ST: Rudi Völler 
Völler started his career with TSV 1860 Hanau, before joining Werder Bremen in 1982. After becoming Bundesliga's top scorer, he was transferred to A.S. Roma.  In 1992, Völler moved to Olympique Marseille, where he won the Champions League in 1993. He joined Bayer Leverkusen in 1994.  He was capped 90 times.  He was a key player as West Germany won the World Cup in 1990. He was known for his partnership with Jurgen Klinsmann.

ST: Miroslav Klose 
Miroslav Klose is best known for his performances with the German national team. He was part of the German squad that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  He is the top goalscorer in the history of the FIFA World Cup, having scored 16 goals. Klose is also the top scorer of all time for Germany. He spent most of his career playing in Germany, but played in Italy at the end of his career. He was born in Poland of German ethnicity. His father was capped by Poland.
Miroslav Klose 
ST: Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann won the World Cup in 1990 and then, captained the 1996 European Championship winning team.  He played in all major international tournaments from 1988 until his retirement in 1998.  He had successful club spells with Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspurs. He was a popular player while in England, despite a lot of negative press at the time of his signing.  He won both the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Player of the Year in 1995.  He also played for Bayern Munich and AS Monaco.
Jurgen Klinsmann

Honorable Mention
Jens Lehmann, Eike Immel, Oliver Bierhoff, Bodo Illgner, Thomas Berthold, Klaus Augenthaler, Sami Khedira, Bernd Schuster, Stefan Effenberg, Thomas Hassler, Horst Hrubesch, Felix Magath, Andy Moller, Karl-Heinze Riedle, Stefan Reuter, Mehmet Scholl, Mats Hummels, Jérôme Boateng.

West Germany 1990
Squad Explanation
-- West Germany won the European Championship in 1980.  They came second in the World Cup twice in the 1980's.  From the 1980's, I selected Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Karl-Heinz Forster, Toni Schumacher, Pierre Littbarski, Lother Matthaus, Hans Peter Briegel, Ulrich Stielike and Manfred Kaltz.  Ruud Voller played a significant role at the1986 World Cup Finals.
-- From the 1990 World Cup winning team, I selected Lother Matthaus, Rudi Voller, Jurgen Klinsmann, Guido Buchwald, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Kohler.  
-- The Euro 1996 team was very different from the 1990 team.  Mathaus Sammer and Jurgen Klinsmann were the main players.  Jurgen Kohler was also on that team.  Oliver Kahn was a backup goalkeeper.
-- From the 2014 World Cup winning team,  I selected the following players Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
-- Michael Ballack did not belong to any great generations, but he did play with Lahm and Klose for Germany.
-- Toni Kroos was sensational as Germany won the World Cup in 2014.  He was also a key player for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
-- Rummenigge played with Beckenbauer, but not in a World Cup Finals. I considered him as a player after Beckenbauer,
-- Michael Ballack and Thomas Hassler were selected over Bernd Schuster and Stefan Effenberg because they had played more games for Germany.  Both Schuster and Effenberg did not want to represent Germany. Loyalty was considered when I have to choose between the four players. 
-- Toni Kroos was probably the best German player at the 2014 World Cup Finals.  He also won four Champions' League titles with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
-- Ballack carried Germany during a period when German football was having its lowest point since Beckenbauer's retirement. Ballack still managed to reach the Final of Euro 2008 and the World Cup Finals of 2002 while finishing 3rd at the 2006 World Cup Finals.
-- Miroslav Klose is the all-time leading scorer in the World Cup Finals.  Despite that, he seemed to be underrated.  Thomas Muller also scored a lot of goals in the World Cup Finals.  Both players are rewarded a spot for their performance at the World Cup Finals because the World Cup Finals is the most important tournament in the international football.