Saturday, December 30, 2017

Slovakia Greatest All-Time Team

World Cup 2010
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Czech Republic

Czechoslovakia had two runner-up finishes in World Cups, in 1934 and 1962, and won the European Championship in the 1976 tournament before breaking into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  Found in 1993, Slovakia qualified for the World Cup Finals in 2010 and the European Championship in 2016.  They reached the round of 16 on both occasions. In South Africa 2014, they knocked out Italy in a famous win.

This is the all-time team for Slovakia. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.

GK: Viliam Schrojf
At the international level, Viliam Schrojf went to three consecutive World Cup Finals: 1954, 1958 and 1962.  His performance helped his country to reach the final in 1962.  However, with Czechoslovakia leading 1-0 in the Final, Schrojf's two mistakes led to two Brazilian goals.  Brazil won with scoreline of 2-1.  At the club level, Schrojf played mostly for Slovan Bratislava and then for Lokomotiva Košice. From 1969 to 1973, he played in Austria with First Vienna.
Viliam Schrojf
GK: Imrich Stacho
Imrich Stacho played mostly for Spartak Trnava. During his military service in Prague, he played for ATK Praha.  H had 23 caps and went to the World Cup Finals in 1954 and 1958. He was also a participant at the European Championship of 1960. He scored one goal from a penalty in a match against Ireland

GK: Alexander Vencel 
Alexander Vencel played mostly for Slovan Bratislava.  He was considered as one of Czechoslovakia's greatest goalkeepers.  He only had 25 caps, largely because of playing in the same era as Ivo Viktor.  He went to  the 1970 World Cup Finals and the 1976 European Championship, where Czechoslovakia won the gold medal.

RB:  Karol Dobias 
Karol Dobias was capped 67 times for Czechoslovakia, scoring 6 goals between 1967 and 1980. He was a participant at the 1970 FIFA World Cup.  He was also a member of Czechoslovak winning team at 1976 European Championship.  In the 1976 Final game, Dobiaš scored a goal that gave Czechoslovakia a 2-0 lead against West Germany.  In 1970 and 1971, he was named Czechoslovak Footballer of the Year.  He played for Spartak Trnava, KSC Lokeren and Racing Gand.
Karol Dobias 
RB: Ján Pivarník 
Ján Pivarník was in 1947.  He played for many clubs, but played mostly for Slovan Bratislava.  Late in his career, he played in Austria and Spain. For Czechoslovakia, he was a part of the team that won the European Championship in 1976. He also went to the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico. He was capped 39 times between 1968 and 1977.

CB: Anton Ondrus 
Anton Ondrus played 58 matches for Czechoslovakia and scored 9 goals. He was the captain of the national team that won the UEFA European Championship in 1976, beating West Germany in the Final.  At the club level, he played for Slovan Bratislava from 1970 to 1980, and he served as the captain.  In the West, he played for Club Brugge K.V. in Belgium, CS Thonon-les-Bains in France and FC Biel-Bienne in Switzerland. 
Anton Ondrus 
CB: Martin Škrtel
Martin Škrtel was probably most famous Slovak defender after the breakup of Czechoslovakia.  He was named Slovak Footballer of the Year four times. He played for Trenčín and Zenit Saint Petersburg, before joining Liverpool in 2008 where he spent 8 and half years.  He joined Fenerbahçe in 2016. Capped over 90 times.  He went to both World Cup Finals in 2010 and Euro 2016. 

CB: Ladislav Jurkemik  
Ladislav Jurkemik  was a part of the team that won the 1976 European Championship. He also went to the European Championship 1980 in Italy, where Czechoslovakia won the bronze medal, and at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain.  At the club level, he played for FK Inter Bratislava at home and St Gallen in Switzerland between 1984 and 1989.

CB: Jan Popluhar 
Jan Popluhar was one of the greatest defender from the Warsaw Pact countries. He was best remembered for taking Czechoslovakia to the Final of the World Cup in 1962.  He earned 62 caps.  He played 15 seasons for ŠK Slovan Bratislava. In 1968, he moved to French league side Olympique Lyonnais. Two seasons there were enough, but subsequently he spent five years with Austrian amateur club SK Slovan Vienna as player/coach.
Jan Popluhar 

LB: Koloman Gogh
Koloman Gogh played  Dukla Holešov during his military service.  After his military service, Gögh played for Š.K. Slovan Bratislava between 1970 and 1980. He was capped 55 times at the international level.  He was a part that Golden Generation that won the 1976 European Championship and finished 3rd at the 1980 European Championship four years later. He is believed to be an Hungarian minority.

LB: Marek Čech 
Čech has previously played for Inter Bratislava, Sparta Prague and Porto, West Bromwich Albion, Trabzonspor, Bologna, Boavista and Como. While at Sparta, Čech was part of a no-nonsense defence.  He has 52 caps for Slovakia fromm 2004 to 2013.  He went to the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa.

DM: Miroslav Karhan
Karhan made 107 appearances for Slovakia and is the most capped Slovak footballer of all time. He was a key player side during the country's qualification for the 2010 World Cup for the first time in its history, but missed the Finals through an injury. He began his career with local club Spartak Trnava. Via Betis and Beşiktaş he moved to VfL Wolfsburg in 2001. He joined relegated Mainz 05 on a free transfer from VfL Wolfsburg in the middle of 2007. He returned to Spartak Trnava in the middle of 2011 from Mainz 05.

Miroslav Karhan
CM: Ladislav Kuna
In 1969, Ladislav Kuna was named Czechoslovak Footballer of the Year. He went to the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico. He had 47 caps. For club football, he played for FC Spartak Trnava and Admira Wacker in Austria. With Spartak Trnava, he reached the semifinal of the European Cup in 1969, before losing to Johan Cruyff's Ajax.

CM: Ján Kozák 
Ján Kozák had 55 caps for Czechoslovakia between 1976 and 1984.  He participated at European Championship in1980 and the World Cup Finals in 1982.  He was the Footballer of the Year in Czechoslovakia in 1981.  He played 254 matches in Czechoslovak First League and scored 57 goals, mainly for Lokomotíva Košice. He also played in Belgium and France.

RW: Marian Masny 
Marian Masny won  the 1976 UEFA European Championship with Czechoslovakia. He also played at the 1980 UEFA European Championship where they came third and at the 1982 FIFA World Cup Finals.  He played most of his career for Slovan Bratislava from 1968 to 1989. His brother Vojtech was also capped by Czechoslovakia.

AM: Ľubomír Moravčík
Ľubomír Moravčík played for Nitra at home before playing for Saint-Étienne, Bastia and MSV Duisburg. In 1998, he moved to Celtic.  He was known for his partnership with Henrik Larsson there. Later, he played for JEF United in Japan.  He had 42 caps for Czechoslovakia and another 38 for Slovakia. He played in World Cup Finals in 1990.

AM: Marek Hamšík 
At the time of writing, Marek Hamšík earned over 100 caps for Slovakia.  He made a name at the World Cup in 2010, where Slovakia qualified for their first ever Finals and beat Italy in the First Round.   He also helped Slovakia to qualify for their first ever European Championship in 2016. At the club level, he played for Slovan Bratislava and Brescia before joining Napoli in 2007.  At Napoli, he established as one of the best midfielders in Serie A.
Marek Hamšík 

AM/FW: Karol Jokl
Jokl was best remembered with his career at ŠK Slovan Bratislava. He won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1969, which was a big achievement for club football in Czechoslovakia.  He spent a season with Prievidza before his retirement. He had 27 caps for Czechoslovakia and went to the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico.

AM/FW: Andrej Kvašňák
Andrej Kvašňák played for Sparta Prague between 1959 and 1969.  In 1969, he moved to play in Belgium with Racing Mechelen.  He had 47 caps between 1960 and 1970.  He was known for his partnership with Josef Masopust at the international level.  He helped Czechoslovakia to finish 2nd the 1962 World Cup Finals.

FW: Jozef Adamec 
Jozef Adamec played mostly for Spartak Trnava (1959–61, 1963–64, 1966–76). During his military service, he was member of Dukla Prague (1961–63), he spent one year with Slovan Bratislava (1964–65) and at the end of career played for lower-division Austrian club Slovan Wien (1977–80).  He was capped 44 times for Czechoslovakia, scoring 14 goals. He was a participant at the 1962 FIFA World Cup and 1970 FIFA World Cup. He was remembered for his hat trick against Brazil in 1968.

FW: Laszlo Kubala 
Born in Hungary of a multi-cultural background, Laszlo Kubala  was known as one of the greatest Barcelona players ever.  He still managed to win 4 Li Liga titles in the 1950's in an era dominated by Real Madrid.  In 1961, Barcelona eliminated Real Madrid from the European Cup, the first ever loss by Real Madrid at the tournament. He was capped by Hungry, Spain and Czechoslovakia. He was a guest player for Catalonia national football team.
Laszlo Kubala

ST: Adolf Scherer
Scherer represented Czechoslovakia at the 1960 European Nations' Cup and 1958 FIFA World Cup, where he did not play any match. In the 1962 FIFA World Cup Scherer scored 3 goals, Czechoslovakia finished second.  In 1973 Scherer defected from communist Czechoslovakia to France, where he finished his club career.

ST: Peter Dubovský
Peter Dubovský started his career with Slovan Bratislava.  He was named Slovak Footballer of the Year: 1993 after leading the league in scoring.  In 1993, he moved to Real Madrid, but stayed for 2 seasons.  His second season was limited by the emerge of Raul. Then, he played for Real Oviedo from 1995 to 2000.  He died of an accident in 2000. He was capped 14 times for Czechoslovakia and then, another 33 times for Slovakia. 
Peter Dubovský

Honorable Mention
Theodor Reimann, Marek Mintál, Ladislav Pavlovič, Ladislav Petráš, Titus Buberník, Szilárd Németh, Róbert Vittek, Jozef Barmoš, Vladimír Kinder.

Squad Explanation
-- For players who were capped by Czechoslovakia, I only selected ethnic Slovakian players, but I made a special case for Koloman Gögh.  This team is opened to all players who were capped by modern day Slovakia.
-- The majority of the squad is still from the days of Czechoslovakia. They have won a European Championship in 1976, and the 1934 and 1962 World Cup Finals. They have a record that is much better than most countries in the world.  My squad is a mixture of all of those great teams. 
-- Adolf Scherer, Viliam Schrojf, Jan Popluhar, Jozef Adamec and Andrej Kvašňák were on the 1962 World Cup team that finished 2nd.  They lost to Brazil on the Final.
-- Many of them won the 1976 UEFA European Championship.  Six of my defenders (Karol Dobias, Ján Pivarník, Anton Ondrus, Ladislav Jurkemik, Koloman Gögh) and Marian Masny were on the team.  
-- The World Cup Finals in 2010 is Slovakia's greatest achievement since the breakup of Czechoslovakia. However, Martin Škrtel, Marek Čech and Marek Hamsik are the only players selected from that team.  Miroslav Karhan would have been a key player at the World Cup Finals in 2010, but he missed the Finals through an injury.  I still rewarded him with a spot on the squad. He was the most capped Slovak footballer of all time until  Marek Hamšík broke it.
-- I almost took Theodor Reimann as the third keeper. I don't know much aboit him.
-- CB: Ladislav Jurkemik was known for his power shot.  He scored over 50 league goals in his career.
-- Koloman Gögh was born in modern day Czech Republic. According to various source, he was identified as a Hungarian minority in Slovakia or a Slovakian. He began playing football in Kolárovo (Slovakia), where it is 80% Hungarian.  His career was associated with ŠK Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia. So I put him on this team rather than the all-time team for the Czech Republic.
-- László Kubala was one of the greatest footballer who played for Barcelona FC.  Both of his parents had Slovakian blood and he himself played for Czechoslovakia. He was capped first with them before laying for Hungry and Spain.  He fit the criteria of this all-time team.
-- Slovakia has many similar players.  I do not have space for Marek Mintál. 
-- Marek Hamšík is underrated.  He took Slovakia to major tournaments, but his exposure is still limited due to playing club football with Napoli.  


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Czech Republic Greatest All-Time Team

The Czech Republic 1996

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

Czechoslovakia had two runner-up finishes in World Cups, in 1934 and 1962, and won the European Championship in the 1976 tournament before breaking into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Czech Republic immediatelyfound successes by finishing second at Euro 1996.  

This is the all-time team for the Czech Republic. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.

GK: Frantisek Planicka 
Frantisek Planicka was considered one of the greatest of his generation.  He went to play in two World Cup Finals in 1934 and 1938, where he finished second in 1934.  He was their captain.  He played all his career for Slavia Prague, during which time the club won the Czech league eight times and the Mitropa Cup once.

GK: Petr Cech  
Petr Cech is best remembered for being Chelsea's undisputred starting keeper from 2004 to 2014.  He won almost everything in club football.  He is considered among the greatest of his era.  He also played for Sparta Prague, Rennes and Arsenal. For Czech Republic, he is the most capped player in the history of the Czech team, with 124 caps, and represented the country at the 2006 World Cup, as well as the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 European Championships.

GK: Ivo Viktor 
Ivo Viktor placed third in the 1976 Ballon d'Or, and was a five-time winner of the Czechoslovak Footballer of the Year award, and a two-time winner of the European Goalkeeper of the Year award.  He was the hero of Euro 1976, where Czechoslovakia won the championship.  He played for Czechoslovakia for 63 times between 1966 and 1977. The majority of his senior club career was with Dukla Prague.
Ivo Viktor 
RB: Jan Lála
Jan Lála played 37 times for Czechoslovakia between 1962 and 1967. He went to the 1962 FIFA World Cup, where Czechoslovakia came second. His club career is associated with SK Slavia Praha. In 1969, he moved to play in Switzerland with FC Lausanne-Sport.  He also played for FK Ústí and Labem.

RB/RW/CB/LB: Zdeněk Grygera
Known for his all round abilities, Zdeněk Grygera played with Petra Drnovice and Sparta Prague at home before heading to play in Netherlands with Ajax in 2003. In 2007, he moved to Juventus. After highly successful years in Turin, he moved to play for Fulham in 2011.  At the international level, Grygera played for the Czech Republic at UEFA Euro 2004, the 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008.  He was capped 65 times between 2001 and 2009.
Zdeněk Grygera
CB: Jaroslav Burgr 
Jaroslav Burgr was a participant in two World Cup Finals, in 1934 and 1938. He played 57 matches for the national team between 1929 and 1938, while captaining the national team on several occasions.  He also played for Bohemia under the German occupation. He played domestic club football mostly for AC Sparta Prague, where he collected 7 league titles. He played for SK Most.

CB: Antonín Hojer 
Antonín Hojer played for Sparta Prague at home.  He was a member of the so-called "Iron Sparta", the famous Sparta Prague team from the first half of the 20th century.  For Czechosloslovaka, he earned 35 caps and scored 3 goals. Hojer represented Czechoslovakia at the 1920 Olympics and 1924 Olympics. His younger brother František was also a Czechoslovak footballer.

CB: Miroslav Kadlec
During his career, Miroslav Kadlec played for four Czech clubs, and also had an eight-year stint with Bundesliga's 1. FC Kaiserslautern, where he was crowned league champion in 1991 and 1998. At the international level, he was capped 64 times for Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic. He took part in the 1990 FIFA World Cup and the 1996 European Championship, where his team finished second behind Germany.
Miroslav Kadlec 
CB: Tomas Ujfalusi 
Tomas Ujfalusi played 78 times for the Czech Republic, representing the nation at the 2006 World Cup and two European Championships.  He was a key player for the 2000s Golden Generation.   He played for Hamburg, Atlético Madrid, Galatasaray, Sigma Olomouc and Sparta Prague. He won the Europa League in 2010 with Atletico Madrid.

LB:  Marek Jankulovski 
Marek Jankulovski's most notable achievements include winning the UEFA Champions League with A.C. Milan and being voted the 2007 Czech Footballer of the Year. He earned 77 caps for the Czech Republic, and represented them at three European Championships, the 2000 Olympics and the 2006 World Cup.

LB: Ladislav Novak 
Ladislav Novak played 75 matches for Czechoslovakia, 71 of them as its team captain.  He went to three World Cup Finals: 1954, 1958 and 1962, where Czechoslavia finished second in 1962.  At the club level, Novák played mainly for Dukla Prague and won 8 championship titles with them.  He also played for FK Jablonec at the end of his career.

CM:  Josef Masopust 
Josef Masopust  is regarded as the greatest player coming from Czechoslovakia. He led the Czechoslovakia team that reached the 1962 FIFA World Cup final, losing to Brazil.   In Europe, he took Czechoslovakia to third place at the 1960 UEFA European Football Championship.  He was capped 63 times. He was named European Footballer of the Year in 1962. For domestic football, Masopust won eight league championships and three national cups with Dukla.
Josef Masopust
CM: Karel Pesek
Karel Pesek played for Sparta Prague at hime.  He played from 1913 to 1933, scoring 149 goals in his club career. He played 44 matches for the national team and scored one goal. Pešek was a participant in the 1920 Olympic Games and 1924 Olympic Games. At the 1920 Olympic Games he also participated in ice hockey, winning the bronze medal with the Czechoslovak team.

CM: Svatopluk Pluskal 
Svatopluk Pluskal was capped 58 times.  He played in three World Cup Finals from 1954, 1958 and 1962.  In 1962, he formed a partnership in the midfield with Josef Masopust and led his country to second place at the World Cup Finaks behind Garrincha's  Brazil. The best years of his club career were spent at Dukla Prague, the army club, where he played for almost 16 years.

RW: Karel Poborský 
Karel Poborský is the all-time leader in appearances for the Czech national team, with 118 between 1994 and 2006. He also played in three European Championships, being named in the Team of the Tournament at Euro 96 after helping the Czechs to reach the final.  His most famous career in club football were spent with Manchester United and Benfica.  He also played with Lazio, České Budějovice, FK Viktoria Žižkov and SK Slavia Prague.
Karel Poborský 

LW/AM: Pavel Nedved 
Pavel Nedved was probably the best player from the region after the breakup of Czechoslovakia.  He was a key player as the Czech Republic finished second at Euro 1996, and reached the semi-final at Euro 2004.  At Lazio, he won the Scudetti in 1999-2000, only the second league title in Lazio's history.  With Juventus, he led the team to the Final of the Champions' League final in 2013, but he sat out ofthe game due to suspension.  He won the European Footballer of the that year.
Pavel Nedved 
AM: Tomas Rosicky 
Tomas Rosicky was the star playmaker for the Czech Republic throughout the 2000s.  He has taken part in four UEFA European Championships as well as the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He was Czech Footballer of the Year in 2001, 2002 and 2006.  He started his career with Sparta Prague, and he had notable stints with Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal.

AM: Antonin Panenka 
Antonin Panenka played most of his career for Bohemians Prague. Panenka won the 1976 European Championship with Czechoslovakia. In the final against West Germany he scored the winning penalty in the shootout with a softly chipped ball up the middle as the goalie dived away; this style of penalty is called the "Panenka penalty". In 1980, he won Czechoslovak Footballer of the Year and his team finished third at Euro 1980.
 Antonin Panenka's famous penalty 

AM/FW: Oldrich Nejedly 
Oldrich Nejedly spent his entire career at Sparta Prague as an inside-forward and he is considered one of Czechoslovakia's greatest players. He was top goalscorer of the 1934 World Cup.  He was awarded the Bronze Ball in the 1934 World Cup as the third most outstanding player of the tournament and was voted into the All Star Team of the tournament. 

ST/RW: Zdeněk Nehoda
Zdeněk Nehoda was Czechoslovak Footballer of the Year Winner: 1978, 1979.  He earned 92 caps between 1971 and 1987.  He was a part of the Golden Generation that won the European Championshop in 1976 and finished 3rd in the European Championship of 1980.  At club football level, he played for Dukla Prague. In 1982, he headed to play club football in the West where he played in West Germany, France and Belgium.

Zdeněk Nehoda
ST: Milan Baroš 
At home, Milan Baroš  played for Baník Ostrava before joining Liverpool in 2002.  He was a part of the team that won the 2005 Champions League. He later played for Lyon, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Galatasaray, etc.  He earned 90 caps and was a key player for Czech Republic's Golden Generation in 2000's.  He was the top scorer at UEFA Euro 2004.
Antonin Puc  played 61 matches for Czechoslovakia, scoring 35 goals. He played for Czechoslovakia in the 1934 FIFA World Cup scoring two goals, including one in the final, a 2-1 loss against Italy, and also played in the 1938 edition. He spent most of his club career with Slavia Prague. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Czechoslovak national team.

ST: Jan Koller 
Jan Koller is best remembered for being the huge striker playing for the Czech Republic and Borussia Dortmund in the 2000s.  He began his career at Sparta Prague, then moved to Belgium with Lokeren and Anderlecht.  Between 2001 and 2006, he played for Borussia Dortmund. He also played for Monaco.  At the international level, he is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Czech Republic, with 55 goals in 91 appearances. He played in 2006 World Cup Finals and two other European Championship.
Jan Koller 

Honorable Mention
Vladimír Šmicer, Tomáš Skuhravý, Patrik Berger, Zdeněk Nehoda, Josef Čtyřoký, Jan Suchopárek, Tomáš Galásek.

Squad Explanation
-- For players who were capped by Czechoslovakia, I only selected ethnic Czech players.  I am opened to all players who were capped by Czech Republic.
-- Czechoslovakia had many Golden teams.  They have won a European Championship in 1976 and finished second at Euro 1996,  and the 1934 and 1962 World Cup Finals. They have a record that is much better than most countries in the world.  My squad is a mixture of all of those great teams. 
-- Oldřich Nejedlý, Frantisek Planicka, Antonin Puc and Jaroslav Burgr also played in the 1934 World Cup Finals, where Czechoslovakia placed second.  
--  The modern generation has more exposure than the previous generation.  They played in the bigger European leagues. They earned better name recoginzation. Pavel Nedved, Petr Cech, Tomas Ujfalus, Marek Jankulovski, Jan Koller, Karel Poborský, Tomas Rosicky, Zdeněk Grygera and Milan Baros are all household names.  However, I only selected two members of the Czech Republic's tam that finished second at Euro 1996.  They are Nedved and Karel Poborský.  
-- The three keepers are almost automatic selection.  Petr Cech is probably the greatest ever from the region. Ivo Viktor placed third in the 1976 Ballon d'Or.  Frantisek Planicka is very well-known in the Pre-War generations.
-- Koloman Gögh was born in modern day Czech Republic. According to various source, he was identified as a Hungarian minority in Slovakia or a Slovakian. He began playing football in Kolárovo (Slovakia), where it is 80% Hungarian.  His career was associated with ŠK Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia. So I put him on on the all-time team for Slovakia. On my all-time team for Czechoslovakia, I put Marek Jankulovski ahead of him, but I do believe that it might be a mistake.  Anyway, Koloman Gögh is now on the Slovakia all-time team.
-- Josef Bican is an Austrian playing for Czechoslovakia when he played for Slavia Prague, a club located in the Czech Republic, but I do not think he should be included here.  He is already on my all-time teams for Austria and Czechoslovakia
-- In 1962, Svatopluk Pluskal and Josef Masopust formed a midfield that led his country to second place in the World Cup Finals.
-- Antonin Panenka had a type of penalty named after him after he scored one of the greatest penalty in the Final of Euro 1976.
-- Pavel Nedved is probably the greatest player from the region.  He won the European Footballer of the in 2013.   If he won the Champions' League that year, he would become a bigger name in the history of the game. He could have been a bigger name if he played in a World Cup Finals during his prime.
-- Karel Poborský's career with Manchester United was limited by the emerge of David Beckham.  Patrik Berger actually had a better club career with Liverpool at the same time, but this team already had Neved playing on the left.  Berger only managed to be on honourable mention while I needed Poborský on the right.
-- Vladimír Šmicer seldom got mention on any all-time list for Czech Republic.  Svatopluk Pluskal, Josef Masopust Antonin Panenka and Tomas Rosicky are ahead of him.
-- Oldřich Nejedlý was the top goalscorer of the 1934 World Cup, where Czechoslovakia finished second behind Italy. He won the bronze ball as the third best player of the Finals, but he is largely forgotten outside of Czechoslovakia.  
-- Jan Koller's size stood out on the field.  His partnership with the smaller Rosicky at both club and country was also interesting, I found.
-- Milan Baros won the Gold Boot at Euro 2004.
-- Tomáš Skuhravý was a star in the World Cup Finals in 1990, but his career was relatively quiet after the World Cup Finals. I chose other players who had a better career with the national team.  Milan Baros, Jan Koller Antonin Puc and Oldřich Nejedlý are ahead of him.

Czech can start in goal too.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Norway Greatest All-Time Team

Norway 1998

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

Norway's performances in international football have usually been weaker than those of their Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Denmark, but they did have a golden age in the late 1930s. An Olympic team achieved third place in the 1936 Olympics, after beating the hosts Germany earlier in the tournament. Norway also qualified for the 1938 FIFA World Cup, where they lost 2–1 after extra time against eventual champions Italy. This turned out to be Norway's last World Cup finals appearance in 56 years.

Norway has always made headlines by making upset wins. They beat England in 1981, which led to the famous rant by commentator Bjørge Lillelien. They qualified for the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998.  In 1998, they beat Brazil 2-1 in the final group game and advanced to the second round.  

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.
Olympic 1936 Bronze medalist

GK: Erik Thorstvedt 
Erik Thorstvedt has played for Viking, Eik-Tønsberg, Borussia Mönchengladbach,  IFK Göteborg and Tottenham Hotspur.  He was one of the top goalkeepers in the Premiership during the 1990's.   He spent 6 seasons with Tottenham Hotspurs, where he was the first Norwegian to win the FA Cup. He was capped 97 times and went to the World Cup in 1998.

GK: Frode Grodas 
Grodas was capped 50 times.  He was the starting keeper at the 1998 WC Finals.  After his ten-year spell at Lillestrøm he spent six years abroad, in England, Germany and Spain. He won the English FA Cup in 1997 with Chelsea, keeping a clean sheet in a 2–0 win in the final. He rounded off his career with Norwegian Division One team Hønefoss.

GK: Henry Johnsen
Johansen made his debut for the national team in 1926 and played his last match in 1938. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, where Norway won a surprising bronze medal. He was also the Norwegian goalkeeper at the 1938 FIFA World Cup.  At club level, he played for Vålerenga from 1923–46.

CB/RB:  Henning Berg 
Henning Berg earned 100 caps, playing in 1994 and 1998 World Cup Finals.  He spent 12 seasons in England, playing for Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, winning the Premiership three times for both clubs.  He was a part of Manchester United that won the Champions' League in 1999, but missed the Final through an injury.

RB/LB: André Bergdølmo 
Bergdølmo began his senior career at Lillestrøm in 1991, before transferring to Rosenborg for a fee of 700,000 kr ahead of the 1997 season. From there, he went on to play for clubs in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, over a period of seven years from 2000 to 2007. He then returned to Norway, spending the final two years of his career at Strømsgodset. 

SW: Rune Bratseth
Rune Bratseth is one of the best defenders in Norway's football history.  He went to the World Cup in 1994.  Bratseth started his career at local club Rosenborg BK. He was best remembered for his career with Werder Bremen.  Bratseth was named Norway's Golden Player – the best Norwegian footballer of the past 50 years by the Norwegian Football Association, in November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's jubilee.
Rune Bratseth
CB: Ronny Johnsen 
In 1996, Ronny Johnsen became the most expensive Norwegian defender when he signed for Manchester United.  He also played for Sem, Stokke, Eik-Tønsberg, Lyn, Lillestrøm, Beşiktaş, Manchester United, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Vålerenga. With the Red Devils, he won the 1999 Champions' League. He was capped 62 times for Norway. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1998.

CB: Thorbjørn Svenssen
Svenssen played a then record 104 international games for Norway, and captained the side 93 times between 1947 and 1966. He was one of the first footballers who played 100 international games for their country.  At the time, Svenssen was only the second player in the history of football to reach 100 international appearances. At club level, Svenssen played 22 seasons for Sandefjord, but never won any major trophies
Thorbjørn Svenssen and Roald Jensen
Stig Inge Bjørnebye was capped 76 times between 1989 to 2000.  He represented the Norwegian national team in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2000 and was capped 75 times, scoring once. For his club career, he played in England from 1992 to 2003, with both Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers.  He also played for clubs in Denmark and Norway. 

LB: John Arne Riise 
John Arne Riise was one of the top fullback in the Premiership during his years with Liverpool.  He spent 7 seasons with Liverpool, winning the Champions' League in 2005.  He also had stints with Roma in Italy and Monaco in France.  For Norway, he was their all-time cap leader.  He ony went one major tournament, namely Euro 2000, but he made no appearance. He won Kniksen Award in 2006 for the best Norwegian player of the year.
John Arne Riise 
CM: Erik Mykland 
Erik Mykland played professionally in six different countries, mainly representing IK Start, and earned 78 caps for the Norwegian national team, having appeared in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups as well as Euro 2000. . He was nicknamed Myggen (mosquito) during his career, as he used to flap his arms and hands like one when celebrating his goals. He was also known for his Bohemian lifestyle

RW/LW/CM: Morten Gamst Pedersen
He began his career with Tromsø, then played for English side Blackburn Rovers between 2004 and 2013. He then played for the Turkish side Karabükspor. Gamst Pedersen signed with Rosenborg in March 2014. In February 2016, Gamst Pedersen signed for Tromsø on a 1-year contract.  Since he made his debut in 2004, Pedersen has been capped more than 80 times, and scored 17 goals, for Norway. Against Hungary in 2006, he scored a stunning goal.

CM/ST/RB:  Jorgen Juve 
Jorgen Juve is considered Norway's greatest footballer.  He scored 33 goals in 45 games for Norway.  With 33 goals, he is still the all-time top scorer for Norway. He was captain of the Norwegian team which won the Olympic bronze medals in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.  He played as a striker, center-half and a rightback.  For his club career, he played for Lyn at home and Basel in Switzerland.
Jorgen Juve 
AM: Hallvar Thoresen
Thoresen started his career in Larvik Turn, but at the age of seventeen, he joined FC Twente. Thoresen was bought by PSV Eindhoven, where he formed a dynamic tandem with Jurrie Koolhof in the 1980s. He was a key player for seven years, serving as captain from 1983–1986. He played 50 matches for the Norway national football team, and scored 9 goals, one of which secured the historic victory over England in 1981.

RW: Roald Jensen
He made his Brann senior-team debut in 1960, while still only 17. He made his debut on the national team the same year. After Brann's relegation in 1964, Jensen transferred to professional football in Scotland as Heart of Midlothian's first non-British player. While he was in Scotland, Jensen was unable to play for Norway, as the national team did not allow professional players at that time.  Capped 31 times.

LW: Arne Brustad 
He is regarded as one of Norway's greatest players.  He made his international debut in 1935 and was one of the star players of the Berlin Olympics, where he scored five goals in four matches, including all three goals in Norway's 3-2 win against Poland in the third-place match.  Norway won the Bronze medal. He also went to the 1938 World Cup Finals.

FW: Tom Lund 
Tom Lund is regarded as one of Norway's greatest players. He spent his entire career with Lillestrom.  Ajax tried to sign him as a replacement for Johan Cruyff in 1973, but he stayed at home.  He was capped 47 times between 1972 and 1982. Lund has aviophobia, fear of flying, and traveled by car to away games in Norway and Europe. It has been speculated that this is one of the reasons why he turned down offers from abroad.

Tom Lund
FW: Per Bredesen
Bredesen began his career at his hometown team Ørn-Horten in 1947 – only 16 years old. In 1952, Bredesen became a professional when he was signed by Italian side Lazio. Bredesen played three years at Lazio, and later played for Udinese, AC Milan, Bari and Messina. In 1957, as a member of Milan, he became the first – and to this date, the only – Norwegian to win the Scudetto. He was only capped 18 times because Norwegian FA did not select professional players.

ST: Ole Gunnar Solskjær 
Nicknamed "The Baby-faced Assassin".  He played 12 seasons for Sir Alex at Manchester United.  He is known to be "super sub" on the team.  He often scored important goals coming off the bench.  He was probably best remembered for scoring the winning goal against Bayern Munich at the 1999 Champions' league Final. He was capped 67 times for Norway. He played in both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000 for Norway.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær 

ST: Odd Iversen
Iversen began his career in Rosenborg in 1964, where he played 12 seasons. He is often regarded as one of the greatest Norwegian footballers ever, and was the top goalscorer four times in the Norwegian top division (1967, 1968, 1969 and 1979). He scored 158 goals in the top division, a record that stood for more than 20 years.  He also played for Vålerenga and Racing Mechelen in Belgium. He also got 45 caps and 19 goals for the Norway.

ST: Tore Andre Flo 
He came from the Flo football family in Norway. During his professional career, he played for Sogndal, Tromsø and Brann in Tippeligaen, before he moved abroad and played for Chelsea. After a successful spell with the English club, he was sold to Rangers for £12 million and became the most expensive Norwegian player. Flo later had spells at Sunderland, Siena, Vålerenga and Leeds United before he announced his retirement in March 2008. He went to the WC in 1998 and Euro 2000.  

Tore Andre Flo

ST: Einar Gundersen
Einar Gundersen is regarded as one of Norwegian football's first star players. He played 33 internationals for Norway, and his 26 international goals puts him second on the national team's all-time scoring list. He was also a member of the Norwegian team that played in the 1920 Olympics, and scored twice in the 3-1 win against England's amateur side. It was a monumental win for Norway at the time.

ST: Reidar Kvammen

Reider Kvammen was the first Norwegian footballer to reach 50 caps. Overall, he played 51 internationals and scored 17 goals for Norway. Kvammen was a prominent member of the Norwegian bronze-medal winning team in the 1936 Olympics, and also played in the World Cup two years later. At club level, he scored 202 goals,  which to this date is still a Viking club record. During the Second World War,  Kvammen was sent to a concentration camp in German-occupied Poland.

Reidar Kvammen

Honorable Mention
Havard Flo, Gunnar Halle, Brede Hangeland, Kjetil Rekdal, Øyvind Leonhardsen, John Carew, Asbjorn Halvorsen, Steffen Iversen, Harald Hennum, Harald Berg, Gunnar Andersen, Per Skou and Asbjørn Halvorsen, Magnar Isaksen.

Squad Explanation

-- Before I started my research, I thought this team would consist of mainly players from the Golden Generation from the 1990's. Instead, I discovered many greats from the early generation. I actually never heard of Reidar Kvammen and others before researching on the team.
-- Einar Gundersen is also the 2nd all-time leading scorer for Norway.  He scored two goals in the upset win over England in the 1920 Olympics.  The victory is sometimes considered Norway's greatest win. Over the passage of time, the victory might not seem a great deal as it happened nearly 100 years ago against an English amateur side.  England in football 100 years was liked Americans in basketball today.  They rarely lost to a side outside the United Kingdom.  It is still a historical milestone for Norway.  Gunnar Andersen, Per Skou and Asbjørn Halvorsen are also stars of that team. They made honorable mention.
-- Erik Thorstvedt and Frode Grodas were obviously choices for the top two goalkeeper position. The third keeper spot went to Henry Johnsen who helped Norway to win an Olympic medal in 1936.
-- The defense consisted mainly of players from the 1990's generation. Asbjorn Halvorsen was a star in the 1920's, but I do not know about his playing career.  So I only put him on honorable mention.
-- In 1936, Norway won the Bronze medal at the Olympics.  They knocked out the host Germany in front of Adolf Hitler. Arne Brustad  Reidar Kvammen and Jorgen Juve made my all-time team. Brustad scored five goals in four matches in Berlin, including a hat trick in the Bronze medal match against Poland. Two years later, Norway went to the World Cup Finals.  They forced the eventual champion Italy to extra time. 
-- In opinion, John Arne Riise is Norway's greatest defender.  However, many experts conisdered Rune Bratseth as the greatest defenders in Norway's football history. He did not have the same exposure as Henning Berg, Ronny Johnsen and John Arne Riise who played for bigger clubs in Europe.   
-- Hallvar Thoresen did well with PSV. He also had a historical role in beating England in the 1981 World Cup Qualifier. Tom Lund scored the other goal in the match.  The game was considered Norway's greatest victory in the modern era.  It was made famous by the Norwegian commentary
-- Norway has too many good strikers.  John Carew, Havard Flo and Steffen Iversen deserved a spot, but I selected a few old-timers.  They got selected as pioneers of Norwegian football. Odd Iverson who was actually Steffen's father took away his spot. However, I left out Harald Hennum and Harald Berg.
-- Ole Gunnar Solskjær might not be the best player of his generation, but he was the most famous due to his career with Manchester United.  I ranked John Carew almost on the same level as him, but I took Solskjær because of his contributions to Norwegian football, putting Norway on the map by scoring important goals in the club football.
-- The Flo family is the biggest football family in the region.  Tore Andre Flo is the only player selected from that family.  His cousin Havard Flo, as mentioned, is selected as the honourable mention. Tore Andre's older brother Jostein Flo represented Norway in two World Cup Finals.
-- Per Bredesen is the first Norwegian to play in Italy.
-- Jorgen Juve is considered by many to be Norway's greatest footballer.  He is their all-time leading scorer.