Thursday, October 31, 2019

Netherlands Before Johan Cruyff "BC"

1934 World Cup Finals

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

Netherlands All-Time Team
North Holland 
South Holland
Dutch Players' surnames starting with "Van"
Italy after 1982Italy between 1938 and 1982
England After 1966 All-Time Team
Germany All-Time Team After Beckenbauer
Germany All-Time Team before 1972
Brazil All-Time Team After Pele 
Brazil All-Team Under Mari Zagallo
Brazil All-Time Team before 1958

This is my all-time 22-member for Dutch players before Cruyff "BC".  Before 2002, only 22 players went to a World Cup Finals.

During the 1970s, led by the talents of Johan Cruyff, Dutch football invented "Totel Football".  They suddenly made strides, finishing second in two World Cup Finals in the decade.  Their team in the 1974 World Cup Finals is considered to be one of the greatest national team ever.  This blog is about the period before the emerge of Johan Cruyff.  

In the Julian and Gregorian calendars, "BC" usually stands for "Before Christ".  In Dutch football, "BC" sometimes is used to stand for "Before Cruyff" to describe Dutch football in the era before the emerge of Johan Cruyff.   
I heard of the term "BC" (Before Cruyff) many years ago, but I did not really known much about Dutch football before the 1970's.  I really did not think that I have the knowledge to create a blog team about them.  In October, 2019, I did a review on my blog teams North HollandSouth Holland and the Rest of Netherlands.  Suddenly, I realised that I already have created profiles on many players who played before Johan Cruyff.  So I did a quick survey of all of my Dutch blogs and came up with 18 Dutch players who played before the 1970's.  Suddenly, I realised that I might be able to do a blog team.

Some players played with Johan Cruyff.  The eligibility is flexible  but in general, I look for player who retired from playing international football before the year 1970.  That year, Feyenoord won the European Cup, which put Dutch football on the map.  Then, Ajax won three straight European Cup afterward.  Some players continued their club career after the year 1970.
World Cup 1938
GK: Frans de Munck
Frans de Munck was nicknamed Black Panther because of his black hair and overall, de Munck was best remembered for his career with DOS Utrecht.  In 1950, he moved to play in Germany for Koln.  He was the club's first ever foreign player. While playing for the club, he starred in a German movie. He was capped 31 times between 1949 and 1960.

GK: Gerrit Keizer
Keizer started with Ajax Amsterdam before moving to play in England in 1930.  He played briefly with Kent side Margate, a feeder for Arsenal.  On August 30, 1930, he made his debit for Arsenal.  With the Gunners, Keizer went on to win the First Division title of 1930-31. This victory was Arsenal's first ever league title.  After a season, he played for Charlton Athletic and then, QPR.  He was capped once for Netherlands.  He was not picked for the 1934 World Cup.

GK: Eddy Pieters Graafland
Eddy Pieters Graafland started with Ajax in 1952, but was better remembered for playing with Feyenoord between 1958 and 1970.   He was a part of Feyenoord's European Cup victory in 1970. He also won 4 Eredivisie: 1960–61, 1961–62, 1964–65, 1968–69. He earned 47 caps for the Netherlands national football team between 1957 and 1967, but he did not attend any major tournament.

RB: Harry Dénis 
Harry Dénis participated in three consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1920.  He actually delivered the Olympic Oath during the opening ceremony of the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.  Dénis started playing football with local side DVV and joined HBS aged 11. He would stay at the club for the rest of his career, winning the 1925 Netherlands Football League Championship with them. 

RB: Bertus Caldenhove 
Born in Amsterdam in 1913, Bertus Caldenhove was capped 25 times between 1935 and 1940.  He went to the 1938 World Cup Finals in France. He started playing football for SDZ then joined Door Wilskracht Sterk, where he was made captain when he was 18 years old.  He played his entire career there.

CB: Cor Van der Hart
Cor Van der Hart became the third Dutch player in history to play board and one of the first professional player in Netherlands when he joined Lille in 1950.  Before that, he played for Ajax.  Widely considered one of the best Dutch defender in history.  He had 44 caps, but the cap total largely was limited because the KNVB suspended all players that left the country to play professional football. 
Cor Van der Hart (R)
CB: Cor Veldhoen 
Cor Veldhoen spent his entire career with Feyenoord between 1956 and 1970.  He played over 380 games for them.  He was a member of the team that won the European Cup in 1970.  The trophy was the first ever European title won by a Dutch club team.  He earned 27 caps between 1961 and 1967 for the Dutch national team.  

CB: Mauk Weber 
Weber officially played for ADO' Den Haag's second team, when he was invited to join the national team.  In 1931, he made his official debut with national team against Denmark. He was 17 years old and three months. He played in both 1934 and 1938 World Cup Finals.  He earned 27 caps in total.  His club career was mainly spent with ADO Den Haag.   He also played with AGOVV Apeldoorn between 1935 and 1937.

CB: Wim Anderiesen 
Born in Amsterdam, Wim Anderiesen played for Romein and 't Gooi before being joining Ajax, where he would play from 1925 to 1940. With Ajax, he won five national titles.  He also earned 46 caps for the Netherlands national football team, and participated in the 1934 and 1938 World Cups.  His son Wim Anderiesen Jr. also played for Ajax.

LB: Kees Kuijs 
From 1955 to 1963, Kees Kuijs played for NAC Breda.  Cruyff named him as one of the greatest Dutch leftback.  He studied physiotherapy in Breda and tplayed as a semi-professional  with NAC.  He also played with HFC Haarlem. For Netherlands, he earned 43 caps between 1955 and 1962.  He was known with his partnership with rightback Roel Wiersma, whom played for PSV.

CM: Bok de Korver
De Korver played for Sparta Rotterdam between 1902 and 1923. He won the Dutch national title five times. De Korver scored his most notable goal in 1912, in a match against AFC Ajax. His goal won Sparta the national title.  De Korver played 31 caps for the Netherlands between 1905 and 1913, scoring one goal. He won two Olympic bronze medals, in 1908 and 1912. De Korver captained the latter team. He was also a player of the Dutch national team that beat England for the first time ever, in 1913.
Bok de Korver
CM: Mick Clavan 
Mick Clavan played for both ADO De Haag and SHS(Holland Sport) with two stints each for the two clubs, sandwiching each other.  Part of his club career was played as an amateur.  He earned 26 caps between 1948 and 1965.  His international career lasted nearly 17 years and it is the third longest for the Dutch national team.  He participated in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. 

CM/LM: Puck Van Heel  
Puck Van Heel was an inside-left and left wing-half in the 1930's. He spent his entire career with Feyenoord.  He was a cornerstone of the Feyenoord success preceding the World War II, winning five Eredivisie Championships and two KNVB Cups. During his time there, he became the team captain for the club. He was capped 64 times, a record until 1979.  He went to the World Cup finals in 1934 and 1938.

Puck Van Heel

AM: Kees Rijvers 
Kees Rijvers was considered one of the best players in Oranje's history before the emerge of the Golden Generation of the 1970's. He started with NAC Breda before moving to play for St.Etienne in 1950. He would have three different stints with the French club.  he also played for Feyenoord.  from 1946 to 1960, he played 33 times for Netherlands. 

RW/WF: Jan de Natrus
Jan de Natris was voted as the greatest Ajax player of the first half of the 20th Century.  He had three stints for Ajax from 1914 to 1921, 1923 to 1925 and 1928 to 1929, playing alongside with Wim Gupffert.  He also playd for Vitesse. He played for Netherlands in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium and the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.  

LW: Coen Moulijn  
Coen Moulijn was considered the best left winger in Dutch football.  He started his career with Xerxes in 1954.  A season later, he joined Feyenoord. He stayed there until 1972. He won the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup with them in 1970. He had 38 caps at a time when Holland was not considered a major power in football. He scored 4 goals for the Netherlands national football team.
Coen Moulijn  
FW: Wim Lagendaal 
Between 1930 and 1935, Lagendaal played 15 times, scoring 13 goals for Netherlands.  He was a part of Netherlands' World Cup team in 1934, but did not play in Holland's only match of the tournament in Italy. He played for XerxesDZB.  His daytime job was a manager at the Rotterdam police station, where he saved the lives of many Dutch footballers during the war,

FW: Abe Lenstra
Abe Lenstra was a club legend at SC Heerenveen in the 1950's. The club was nicknamed "Abeveen" because of his legendary status with the club.   He also played for SC Enschede and Enschedese Boys. For Oranje, he was capped 47 times, scoring 33 goals.  He was at one point Netherlands' all-time leading scorer.  he was known for his partnership with Faas Wilkes and Kees Rijvers. 

FW:  Faas Wilkes 
Faas Wilkes was one of the first Dutch player to play aboard.  In 1949, he joined Inter Milan, where he had the best of his career.  He also had a great career with Valencia..  He was considered to Holland's best player until the emerge of the Golden Generation of the 1970's. He was capped 38 times scoring 35 goals.  He was banned from the national team between 1949 and 1955 because KNVB did not select professional players. He was Netherlands' all-time leading scorer until 1998.

Faas Wilkes

ST: Kick Smit 
Kick Smit was a member of Netherlands' World Cup team in 1934 and 1938. He scored 26 goals in 29 matches for Netherlands.  He is the first Netherlands football player who scored a goal in a World Cup (27 May 1934 against Switzerland). During his club career, he played for HFC Haarlem.

ST: Coen Dillen 
Coen Dillen spent 12 years with PSV Eindhoven.  He scored 43 goals in the 1956/1957, a goal record for a single season that still remains unbroken today.  He scored twenty goals in a nine-match period between 27 January and 31 March 1957.  He also played for Brabantia. Internationally, he only played 5 times for Netherlands.

ST: Beb Bakhuys 
In his club career, Bakhuys played  for HBS, Zwolsche AC, Zac and VVV.  He alsop had a spell with THOR in his native Dutch East Indies while working for the Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij in Surabaya. He became the second Dutch player to play abroad when he joined FC Metz in 1937, in a move which ended his international career. Bakhuys scored 28 goals in 23 games for Netherlands. He represented them at the 1934 World Cup.
Beb Bakhuys 

Honorable Mention
Jus Goebel, Gejus van der Meulen, Henk Groot, Sjaak Swart, Roel Wiersma, Eddy de Neve, Bennie Muller, Leen Vente,  Daan Schrijvers, Bertus de Harder, Tinus Bosselaar.

Squad Explanation
-- Only 22 players go to the World Cup Finals before 2002.
-- I did not really known much about Dutch football before the 1970's.  Before the 1974 World Cuo Finals, Netherlands only qualified twice for the World Cup Finals, both in the 1930's. From 1908 to 1920, they won three straight bronze medals at the Olympics.
-- As mentioned, some players played with Johan Cruyff.  The eligibility is flexible  but in general, I look for player who retired from playing international football before the year 1970.  That year, Feyenoord won the European Cup, which put Dutch football on the map.  Then, Ajax won three straight European Cup afterward.  Some players continued their club career after the year 1970.
-- Johan Cruyff made his national team debut in 1966.  He was 27 years old at the time of the 1974 World Cup Finals.  So he was an active player with some of the players selected, but I still used 1970 as the cutoff year.  It was before Ajax winning the European Cups in the 1970-1971 season.
-- Feyernood won the European Cup in 1970, which put Dutch football on the map.  I thought whether that moment in history should be a consideration as a part of Cruyff's generation.  In the end, I decided to include players on that team because they achieved that before Johan Cruyff secured his place one of the greatest footballers in the history of the game.
-- I mentioned that I do not know much about Dutch football before Cruyff, but I do know the following players as household names: Kees Rijvers, Puck Van Heel,  Coen Moulijn, Faas Wilkes and Cor Van der Hart.  They are my automatic selections.
--  I do not know if I have the three keepers on the team correctly.  Before I started my research on this Dutch "BC" team, I heard of Eddy Pieters Graafland and Frans de Munck, but I do not claim to be an expert on the subject.  I simply googled the internet for information and clues about football in Netherlands.  Jus Goebel and Gejus van der Meulen are my fourth and fifth goalkeeper, but not necessity in that order.
-- GK Gerrit Keizer made a name outside of Netherlands with Arsenal at a time when Dutch footballers were mainly amateurs. He was not picked for the 1934 World Cup Finals.  I do not know the reason.  Perhaps, it had to do with professional football, but I still rewarded him with a spot.
-- Jus Goebel helped Netherlands to win a bronze medal at the Olynmpics.
-- Both Eddy Pieters Graafland, Cor Veldhoen and Coen Moulijn played with Johan Cruyff on the national team.  Eddy Pieters Graafland and Cor Veldhoen played on Johan Cruyff's 1966 national team debut game against Hungary.  
-- Eddy Pieters Graafland's international career ended in 1967.  However, he was known for Feyenoord's European Cup victory in 1970.
--  Coen Moulijn played with Johan Cruyff on the national team, but he missed out the 1970 generation that defined "Total Football".   His last match for the Netherlands was in 1969.
-- Beb Bakhuys was one of the first Dutch players to play professional football.
-- I do not know Mauk Weber's position, but he is probbaly a defender in a 2-3-5 formation, which is probably a centerback.
-- I might be wrong about my rightbacks. Roel Wiersma is also mentioned among the greatest Dutch right backs.  Meanwhile, Sjaak Swart played international football until 1972.  So he is not eligible.
-- Johan Cruyff named Kees Kuijs as the greatest Dutch left back.
-- Eddy de Neve scored a hatrick against Belgium in Netherlands' first ever international match, but I do not really know much about him.


Friday, October 18, 2019

What if Yugoslavia World Cup 2018

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied this blog team.  His entry was written in November 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2019.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.  His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Ovaj bloger Artur Yanturin iz Rusije kopirao je ovaj blog tim. Njegov unos je napisan u studenom 2020., ali moj je učitan 2019. On je također kopirao mnoge mnoge moje unose na blogu. Njegov unos za momčad Spartak Moskva za sva vremena objavljen je u listopadu 2020., ali moj je učitan 2017. Njegov unos o nizozemsko-njemačkom rivalstvu između Real Madrida i Barcelone napisan je 2020., ali moj je postavljen 2014. On je također kopirao mnogo mnogo mojih unosa na blogu.

Овај блогер Артур Јантурин из Русије копирао је овај блог тим. Његов унос је написан у новембру 2020., али мој је постављен 2019. Он је такође копирао многе моје уносе на блогу. Његов унос за Спартак Москва за сва времена за тим је објављен у октобру 2020, али мој је постављен 2017. Његов унос о холандско-немачком ривалству између Реал Мадрида и Барселоне написан је 2020, али је мој постављен 2014. Он је такође копирао много много мојих уноса на блогу.

Этот блоггер Artur Yanturin of Russia copied этот blog team. Его введение было написано в Ноябрь 2020, но меньше было добавлено в 2019. Он также получил много людей из моих blog entries. Его Спартак Москвы все время команда была запущена в октябре 2020 года, но она была запущена в 2017. много людей из моего blog entries.

Croatia World Cup 2018
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Hungary World Cup 1950
Sweden World Cup1950
Austria-Hungary 1954
Argentina World Cup 1958
Scotland World Cup 1970
United Kingdom World Cup 1970
England World Cup 1974
United Kingdom World Cup1982
Spain without Catalan players World Cup 2010
USA World Cup 2010
If Ronaldo and Messi played for Australia in 2006
Brazil 1982 with Careca,etc
Ireland/Northern Ireland Combined Team 1986 World Cup

Croatia made history in the 2018 World Cup Finals by reaching the Final before losing to France.  Serbia also qualified for the Finals.  It was not the first time ever that more than one former republics of Yugoslavia to have qualify for the World Cup Finals.  In fact, all World Cup Finals after the breakup of Yugoslavia has more than a single team from there. I do believe that the former "Yugoslavia" would have a better combined team in 1998 when two of its former republics did well or in 1994 when some of the key players from the 1990's generation were in their prime (I did a blog team for Yugoslavia in the 1994 World Cup Finals). However, they came closest ever of winning a World Cup in 2018.  So what if Croatia was reinforced with more players from the former Yugoslavia?

Yugoslavia always had the talents in football.  They actually underachieved. It only had two semifinal appearances in the World Cup Finals and two second place finishes in the European Championship. They managed to win a Gold Medal at the 1960 Olympics. Yugoslavia probably would have done something in the 1990's with its talent team (Yugoslavia at USA 1994).  I really do not understand the politics and ethnic issue of the region before the breakup.  So I am not going to say anything further.

Serbia World Cup 2018
GK: Jan Oblak (Slovenia/Atletico Madrid)
Jan Oblak made his debut for Olimpija Ljubljana at hime in the 2009–10 season aged 16 before joining Benfica in 2010.  Starting in 2014, he plays for Atletico Madrid in Spain. At the time of writing, he has won La Liga's Zamora Trophy three times for their best goalkeeper.  At the international level, he became the first-choice goalkeeper of the national team after the international retirement of Samir Handanović at the end of 2015.
Jan Oblak 
GK: Danijel Subašić (Croatia/Monaco) 
Danijel Subašić made his name with Hajduk Split. In 2012, he joined Monaco in France, winning Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year: 2016–17.  Since 2010, he earned 44 caps.  He was the starting keeper at Euro 2016.  He was a hero of the 2018 World Cup team, where he saved 4 penalties in two penalty shootouts in the knockout stage as Croatia reached the Final.

GK: Asmir Begovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Bournemouth)
The Begović family fled the Bosnian War to Germany and moved Canada when Asmir was 10 years old. He grew up in Canada and played for their youth team before switching to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina senior team. He helped Bosnia and Herzegovina to qualify for the WC in 2014.  Professionally, he started with Portsmouth. He spent most of his career with Stoke City in England. He was used as a backup for Chelsea.

RB: Šime Vrsaljko (Croatia/Atletico Madrid)
Šime Vrsaljko played with Dinamo Zagre between 2009 and 2013.  he then played for Genoa and Sassuolo.  In 2016, he joined Atletico Madrid. At the time of writing, he is on loan with Inter Milan.  He earned over 40 caps.  He played UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

RB: Branislav Ivanović (Serbia/Zenit Saint Petersburg)
Ivanović began his career with FK Srem. He later played with OFK Beograd and Lokomotiv Moscow. In January 2008, he joined Chelsea.  He won nine major honours with Chelsea, including the Champions League and the Europa League. He is only five foreign players to appear in over 300 matches for the club. He has the most appearances for the Serbian national team in its history, having played 105 matches. He went to 2010 and 2018 World Cup.

CB: Stefan Savić (Montenegro/Atletico Madrid)
Stefan Savić started his career at Brskovo, before moving to BSK Borča, and then to FK Partizan. He won the double with Partizan, and then joined Manchester City in 2011, winning the Premier League title in his only season there. In 2012, he was transferred to Fiorentina, before signing with Atlético Madrid in 2015, where he won the Europa League in 2018. Since 2010, he has played over 50 times for Montenegro.
Stefan Savić 
CB: Dejan Lovren (Croatia/Liverpool)
Dejan Lovren began his career at Dinamo Zagreb before moving to Olympique Lyonnais in 2010.  He signed for Southampton in 2013. After one season with Southampton, he joined Liverpool, being part of the squad that won the UEFA Champions League in 2019. At the time of writing, he has over 50 caps for Croatia.

CB: Domagoj Vida (Croatia/Dynamo Kyiv)
In 2010, Vida joined Bayer Leverkusen. A season later, he joined Dinamo Zagreb, where he played until 2014.  From 2013 to 2018, he played Dynamo Kyiv.  In 2018, he joined Beşiktaş.  Since 2010, he had over 70 caps. He went to 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals as well as Euro 2016.

CB: Nikola Milenković (Serbia/Fiorentina)
Nikola Milenković played for FK Partizan at home from 2015 to 2017.  Then, he joined Fiorentina in Italy with a loan spell with FK Teleoptik. He made his international debut for the Serbia in a friendly 3–0 loss to Qatar on 29 September 2016. Since then, he has earned over 16 caps.  He played in the 2018 World Cup Finals.

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia/Roma) 
Aleksandar Kolarov began his career at Red Star Belgrade, but he moved onto Čukarički in 2004. Two years later, he joined OFK Beograd before signing for Lazio in Serie A. In 2010, he joined Manchester City, with which he won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup. He now plays for AS Roma in Italy. He has over 70 caps for Serbia. Kolarov was a member of Serbia's squads for the 2010 and 2018 World Cup Finals. He was named Serbian Player of the Year in 2011.
Aleksandar Kolarov 
LB/CB: Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Arsenal)
Born in Germany of Bosniak parents, Sead Kolasinac made his professional debut with Schalke 04 in 2012.  In 2017, he joined Arsenal.  He represented Germany at the youth level.  However, in 2013, he made his senior debut with Bosnia and Herzegovina in a game against Argentina. He went to the 2014 World Cup Finals.

CM: Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/Barcelona)
Born in Switzerland of Croatian background, Rakitic started his career with FC Basel. He played with Schalke 04 from 2007 and 2011.  Then, he moved to Sevilla in 2011.  At Sevilla, he won the Europa Cup in 2014.  He moved to Barcelona.  For Croatia, he earned 100 caps at the time of writing. He played in the midfield with Luka Modric as Croatia reached the Final of the 2018 World Cup Finals.

CM: Miralem Pjanić (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Juventus)
Pjanić started his career at Metz.  He signed for Lyon in 2008 before signing for Roma in 2011. In 2016. Pjanić joined Juventus. , He was named Serie A Team of the Year for 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons.  Pjanić made his senior international debut for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2008, earning 90 caps and scoring 15 goals since. He went to the 2014 World Cup.

DM: Nemanja Matić (Serbia/Manchester United)  
Nemanja Matić began his career at Kolubara, before joining Slovak side Košice in 2007. He moved to Chelsea in 2009. With Benfica, he won the Primeira Liga Player of the Year award.  He returned to Chelsea in 2014. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2014–15 season. In 2017, he joined Manchester United. With Serbia, he has over 48 caps since 2008. He went to 2018 World Cup. He was the Serbian Player of the year twice.
Nemanja Matić
CM: Marcelo Brozović (Croatia/Inter Milan)
Marcelo Brozović played for Hrvatski Dragovoljac at home. After the 2010-2011 season, he joined Lokomotiva. From 2012 to 2015, he played for Dinamo Zagreb.  In 2015, he moved overseas joining Inter Milan, where he became a key player.  Since 2014, he has over 50 caps for Croatia.  He went to the 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals and the European Championship in 2016.

CM: Granit Xhaka (Kosovars with Switzerland/Arsenal)
Xhaka began his career at Basel. He then moved to Bundesliga team Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012. He was made captain of Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2015 at the age of 22. He moved to Arsenal in 2016.  He has considered to play for Albania due to his Kosovan Albanian.  He has represented Switzerland since 2011. He played in Euro 2016, the World Cup 2018 and Euro 2020.
Granit Xhaka
CM: Sergej Milinković-Savić (Serbia/Lazio), 
Born in Spain when his father Nikola played football there,  commonly known mononymously as Sergej,  Milinković-Savić started with Vojvodina at home in 2013.  Later, he played a season with Genk in Belgium before joining Lazio in 2015. Since 2017, he started to represent Serbian national team.  He played in all three matches at the 2018 World Cup.

AM/CM: Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Luka Modric is one of the greatest playmakers of his generation. He earned more 90 caps for Croatia.  He currently plays for Real Madrid and won the Champions' League for the 2013-2014,  2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons.  He also played with Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspurs.  He played in the World Cup Finals of 2006 and 2014, as well as the European Championship of 2008, 2012 and 2016. He was voted the best player of the World Cup Finals in 2018 as Croatia finished second.
Luka Modric
AM: Josip Iličić  (Slovenia/Atalanta)
Josip Iličić played for SC Bonifika and Interblock before joining Maribor.  From 2010 to 2013, he played for Palermo and from 2013 to 2017, with Fiorentina. Then, he joined Atalanta in 2017.  He was on the Serie A Team of the Year: 2018–19.  Since 2010, he played for the Slovenian national team.  At the time of writing, he had over 65 caps.

RW/AM: Xherdan Shaqiri (Kosovars with Switzerland/Stoke City)
Shaqiri was born in Yugoslavia, to Kosovar Albanian parents, but moved to Switzerland.  He started with Basel. He then played for Bayern Munich between 2012 and 2015.  He then played for Inter Milan and Stoke City before moving to Liverpool in 2018.  Since 2010, he has played fro Switzerland.  He went to 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals as well as Euro 2016.  he helped Switzerland to reach the semifinal of UEFA Nations League in 2019.

FW/RW/LW: Ivan Perišić (Croatia/Inter Milan)
Ivan Perisic is a product of the Hajduk Split and Sochaux youth academies, he played for Club Brugge, where was named Belgian Footballer of the Year for 2011. He later played for Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg before joining Inter Milan in 2015.  For Croatia, he had over 70 caps.  He was a part of the team that finished second in the 2018 World Cups.  He also played in Euro 2012 and 2016, and the World Cup Finals of 2014.
Ivan Perišić 
ST: Mario Mandžukić (Croatia/Juventus)
In Croatia, Mandžukić played with Marsonia, NK Zagreb and Dinamo Zagreb.  Then, he played with Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich and Artletico Madrid.  With Juventus, his  bicycle kick goal against Real Madrid in the Champions League Final went on to win the 2016–17 UEFA Goal of the Season award.  From 2007 to 2018, he played 89 times for Croatia. He was a hero at the 2018 World Cup, scoring the winning goal in the semifinal.

STEdin Džeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina/AS Roma)
Edin Dzeko is probably the most famous player for Bosnia and Herzegovina not from the era under Yugoslavia. He has played over 80 times for his country and scored 52 goals since 2007, becoming the highest Bosnia and Herzegovina goalscorer of all time. He led Bosnia and Herzegovina to qualify for the World Cup in 2014.  He had a great career with Wolfsburg and moved to Manchester City in 2011.  At the time of writing, he plays for Roma, helping the club to reach the semifinal of the Champions' League in 2018.
Edin Džeko 
Honorable Mention
Vladimir Stojković (Serbia), Aleksandar Mitrović (Serbia), Matija Nastasić (Serbia), Vedran Ćorluka (Croatia), Andrej Kramarić (Croatia), Ante Rebic (Croatia), Ivan Strinić (Croatia), Bojan Jokić (Slovenia), Goran Pandev (North Macedonia), Dušan Tadić (Serbia), Mateo Kovačić (Croatia), Stevan Jovetić (Montenegro), Adnan Januzaj (Belgium of Kovoso background), Haris Seferović (Switzerland of Bosnian background).

Squad Explanation
-- Because of the Yugoslav War of the 1990's, ethnic issue is a problem in the region. Can the players get along? This is only an imaginary team and it is a beautiful game where people find joy.  So I would not want to go into that issue.  Some players are also teammates at the club level.  The harmony of the team might not be as bad as I might have thought.
-- I do not believe the additional of better players would have changed much.  It takes more than just better players to win a World Cup.  So this is just a fun blog.
-- I tried my best to use the prospectives of the team before the World Cup Finals for my team selection.  
-- Jan Oblak, Luka Modric and Edin Džeko are automatic selections.  I do not need to explain their inclusion. Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Matić, Miralem Pjani,
Mario Mandžukić and Ivan Rakitić were probably obvious choices as well.  
-- The backbone of the team is still the Croatian national team at the 2018 World Cup Finals.  I selected nine players from Croatia.  They are Luka Modric, Mario Mandžukić, Šime Vrsaljko, Danijel Subašić, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Perišić, Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozović and Domagoj Vida.
Ivan Rakitic and Dejan Lovren
-- I have five from Serbia, four from Bosnia and Herzegovina, two from Montenegro and one from Slovenia. I do not have players from North Macedonia and Kosovo, but I selected two Kosovars playing for Switzerland. Four players were born outside of the former Yugoslavia.
-- I did not select any players from the national team of Kosovo, but I have selected Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka of Switzerland. Xherdan Shaqiri was born in the former Yugoslavia, and Xhaka's family fled to Switzerland during the war where he was born. If the war did not happen, they would be living in Yugoslavia just liked Luka Modric or Edin Dzeko.  Ivan Rakitic was also born in Switzerland, but chose to play for Croatia.  If Kosovo grained independent football status earlier, they might be representing Kosovo liked Rakitic for Croatia.  Their backgrounds are similar to players I have chosen.
-- Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka scored against Serbia while playing for Switzerland at the 2018 World Cup.  They made controversial gestures after their goals, but I overlooked that. 
-- Adnan Januzaj represented Belgium in Russia.  He scored a goal against England.  He made honorable mention.
-- Zlatan Ibrahimović's parents left the former Yugoslavia in the 1970's. Their departure had nothing to the breakup of Yugoslavia.  If Yugoslavia remained intact in 2018, Ibrahimović would still be playing for Sweden.  Besides, he has retired from playing internationally.  
-- Jan Oblak (Slovenia) won the Zamora Trophy in Spain in the 2017-2018 season. He is one of the best keepers in the world. Samir Handanovic (Slovenia) has retired from the national team so he was not considered. Vladimir Stojković (Serbia) was Serbia's starting goalkeeper in Russia, but I went with Asmir Begovic as the third goalkeeper who was a much more famous keeper.
-- Branislav Ivanović was 34 at the time of the World Cup Finals, but "Yugoslavia" would probably take him since he was their most experienced fullback.  In real life, he went to the World Cup Finals with Serbia.
-- But I did not do the same for Vedran Ćorluka.  Croatia took him to the actual World Cup Finals. He was one of Croatia's most experienced defender.  As the captain of FC Lokomotiv Moscow as they won the league before the World Cup Finals, he would be playing at "home", but I still could not find space for him.  He was injured throughout the Fall of 2017.  He had returned to the lineup with his club by Spring, 2018, but he did not play regularly.  
-- Instead, I opted for younger and healthy defenders.  Stefan Savić and Dejan Lovren were at their prime.  Savic played many games for Atletico Madrid a team known for its defense as they finished second in the league.  Lovren played a key role as Liverpool reached the Champions' League Final.  Nikola Milenković was an emerging star from the region.  He made 26 appearances for Fiorentina that season.
-- I always noticed Domagoj Vida because of his ponytail.  He stood out in Euro 2016 as well as the World Cup Finals.  He made some controversial comments during the actual World Cup, but I overlooked that. 
Croatia World Cup 2018
-- Matija Nastasić was excluded in Serbia's real World Cup team in Russia. So I did not consider him.
-- Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia/Roma) captained Serbia at the World Cup Finals.  For the backup leftback, I preferred Sead Kolasinac over Bojan Jokić (Slovenia).  Kolasinac is more famous due to playing for Arsenal.
-- Luka Modric won the Champions' League in 2018.  It was Real Madrid's fourth titles in 5 season. After Russia 2018, he is probably considered to be the greatest ever player from the former Yugoslavia.  He won Ballon d'Or in 2018, the first player from there to have won it.
-- Miralem Pjanić was named in Serie A Team of the Year for the 2017-2018 season.  He has been a star with Juventus for a few seasons. Marcelo Brozovic was also an important player playing in Italy with Inter Milan.  Nemanja Matić joined Manchester United in the summer of 2017.  He was a big name player that year.
-- Mateo Kovačić (Croatia) was mainly used as a sub in Real Madrid. So I went for other higher profile players. 
-- Both Josip Iličić and Dušan Tadić were their club's top player in the 2017-2018 season.  While Dušan Tadić's Southampton struggled in the Preimership and the FA Cup, Josip Iličić's Atalanta finished 7th and reached the semifinal of Coppa Italia.  I read a review of Tadic's season from a Southampton fan site.  It did not have a positive review. Atalanta also played in Europa Cup.  Josip Iličić scored 15 goals that season.  So I took him over Tadic.  Coincidently, both players broke out the season after the World Cup Finals.
-- Edin Džeko scored 24 goals for AS Roma in the 2017-2018 season.  He is probably the greatest player for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
-- Ivan Perišić (Croatia) was underrated before the World Cup Finals.  He was one of Croatia's best players at the actual tournament.  
-- Stevan Jovetić moved to AS Monaco in the summer of 2017.  I do not watch many games of him since his days with Fiorentina. At one point, he was considered a future star in Europe.  He scored 7 goals for Montenegro during the actual World Cup qualifiers.  He edged out Andrej Kramarić who contributed to Croatia's World Cup run in 2018. I based my selection on performance and/or reputation before the tournament.  In August, 2020, I did a review and decided to include Kosovar players in exile.  I took Xherdan Shaqiri over Jovetić.
-- I considered taking striker Goran Pandev as a representative from North Macedonia, but he only scored 5 goals that season. 
-- Aleksandar Mitrović (Serbia) was playing fine in the second half of the 2017-2018 season, but he was playing in the lower division with Fulham.  With Newcastle United in the first half of the season, he was not doing well.  I did not take him to Russia.
Croatia World Cup 2018
4-3-3 Diamond
The team is still dominated by Croatian players, but I am able to add 6 players to the starting lineup.  Two of my defenders Stefan Savić (Montenegro) and Šime Vrsaljko (Croatia) played with goalkeeper Jan Oblak (Slovenia) at Atletico Madrid. Pjanic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) has played with Mario Mandžukić (Croatia) at the Juventus. Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia) and Edin Džeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina) played with AS Roma.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ireland/Nortrhern Ireland combined team World Cup1986

Northern Ireland 1986 World Cup
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Ireland/Northern Ireland Combined Team
IrelandNorthern Ireland
Sweden World Cup1950
Hungary World Cup 1950
Austria-Hungary 1954
Angels with Dirty Faces with Di Stefano in the WC 1958
Scotland World Cup 1970
United Kingdom World Cup 1970
England World Cup 1974
United Kingdom World Cup1982
Spain without Catalan players World Cup 2010
USA World Cup 2010
If Ronaldo and Messi played for Australia in 2006
Brazil 1982 with Careca,etc

The idea of an imaginary combined or unified team for the Island of Ireland in the given tournament came while I was re-working on my Ireland/Northern Ireland combined All-Time Team.  It would be similar to what I did with what I did with United Kingdom 1970I do not know enough about Irish politics and its relations with the football world to see if it is possible to have a combined team for the Island of Ireland.  George Best famously called for an unified team throughout his career.  Meanwhile, Irish Rugby Football Union and Hockey Ireland has created combined national teams for their sports without any problem. So it is not a far fetched idea.

Ideally, I wanted to team up the best players from both sides.  However, the Republic did not have a good team until Jack Charlton took over the national team in 1986.  They did not produce result until the European Championship in 1988.  Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's best teams are in the 1980's and George Best's peak was in the early 1970's.  So the greatest players from each side did not overlap. In the 1970's, Johnny Giles, Billy Bingham, George Best, Pat Rice and Pat Jennings could have formed a strong squad, but I decided to go with the 1986 World Cup Finals when Northern Ireland qualified for the Finals while Jack Charlton took over the Republic that year. Pat Jennings, Norman Whiteside, Sammy McIlroy, Liam Brady, Paul McGrath, Mark Lawrenson, David O'Leary, Ronnie Whelan, Frank Stapleton, Kevin Sheedy and John Aldridge would make a strong All-Ireland team.  I might work on a combined team for the 1970 or 1974 World Cup Finals later.

Ireland Euro 1988

Team(Only 22 players taken in the 1986 WC Finals)
GK: Pat Jennings (N.Ireland/Everton)
Pat Jennings is considered among the greatest goalkeeper of all-time.  The prime of his career was spent with both Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal.  In 1973 the Football Writers' Association named him as its footballer of the year. Three years later he won PFA's version of the award – he was the first goalkeeper to receive this accolade, and to this date remains only one of two, along with Peter Shilton. He earned 119 caps for Northern Ireland and went to two World Cup Finals.

GK: Packie Bonner (Republic/Celtic)
Packie Bonner played 80 times for Ireland.  He played every tournaments from the European Championship of 1988 to the edition in 1996 as Ireland qualified for 5 straight tournaments. He was best remembered for winning the penalty shootout against Romania at 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy.  He spent 20 years playing for Celtics in Scotland. He signed for Celtic on 14 May 1978, becoming Jock Stein's last signing for the Parkhead club.

GK: Jim Platt (N.Ireland/Coleraine)
Platt played for the majority of his career at Middlesbrough between 1971 and 1983. He also played for Hartlepool United, Cardiff City and Ballymena United. Platt had 23 caps, largely because of playing at the same time as Pat Jennings.  He was also in the Irish team that won the Home Championship the last time it was played.

RB: Jimmy Nicholl (N.Ireland/West Bromwich Albion )
Born in Canada, Nicholl started with Manchester United in 1974, where he played until 1982. He helped the club win the 1977 FA Cup Final and collected a runners-up medal in 1979.  After that, he played with many cliubs, including stints Toronto Blizzard, Rangers, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, etc. He earned 74 caps for Northern Ireland.  He went to 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals.
 Jimmy Nicholl 
CB: Mark Lawrenson (Republic/Liverpool)
Mark Lawrenson was a key defender for Liverpool in the 1980's.  He won one European Cup and 5 league titles. He played for Ireland between 1977 and 1987.  He helped Ireland to qualify for its first ever major tournament in 1988, but an injury prevented him from going to the Finals of the European Championship in 1988. Ireland went on to qualify for the next four tournaments, but he already retired by then.

CB/DM: Paul McGrath (Republic/Manchester United)
Paul McGrath is one of Ireland's greatest ever players.  He played 83 times for Ireland. He appeared at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals, as well as the Euro 1988.  He played for St Patrick's Athletic and then, joined Manchester United in 1982.  He had a run-in with Sir Alex who was the new manager at Manchester United and moved to Aston Villa in 1989 where he won the PFA Player of the Year in 1993. He later played for Derby County and Sheffield United.
Paul McGrath 
CB: David O’Leary (Republic/Arsenal)
O'Leary made a record of 722 appearance for Arsenal.  For Arsenal, he won the English League, FA Cup and the League Cup, two of each.  He also played briefly with Leeds United at the end of his career. With 68 caps, he represented Ireland at the World Cup Finals in 1990, scoring the winning penalty against Romania in the penalty shootout.

CB: Kevin Moran (Republic/Manchester United)
From 1978 to 1988, Kevin Moran spent over a decade playing for Manchester United, winning two FA Cups.  He joined Sporting de Gijon in 1988. He moved to Blackburn Rovers in 1990 and helped to secure a promotion to the top division.  He was capped 71 times between 1980 and 1994, and he went to Euro 1988 , and the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals.  

CB: Alan McDonald (N.Ireland/QPR)
Alan McDonald was capped 52 times for Northern Ireland between 1986 and 1996. He was a part of the team that went to the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico. He spent most of his career with Queens Park Ranger, reaching the League Cup Final in 1986. He also had short spells with Charlton Athletic while on loan in 1983and Swindon Town at the end of his career in the 1990's.
Alan McDonald 
LB: Jim Beglin (Republic/Liverpool)
Beglin played for Shamrock Rovers before playimng for Liverpool between 1983 and 1989. He won the Double in 1986.  A serious injury forced him out of the club.  He later played for Leeds United with loan spells on loan with both Plymouth Argyle and Blackburn Rovers.  He only played 15 times for Ireland between 1984 and 1987.

LB: Chris Houghton (Republic/Tottenham Hotspurs)
After making his professional debut aged 20, Hughton spent most of his playing career with Tottenham Hotspur, leaving in 1990 after 13 years.  He later played with West Ham United and Brentford. Born in England, he represented Ireland.  He was the first mixed race player to represent the nation. He earned 53 caps and played in the Euro 1988. 

LM/CM: Ronnie Whelan (Republic/Liverpool)
Ronnie Whelan played for Liverpool during the 1980's, where he won the 1983-1984 European Cup and 6 league titles. He was ranked the 30th greatest player for Liverpool.  Whelan finished his career at Southend United, where he was also player-manager.  He was capped 53 times.  He played at Euro 1988 and the World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994 for the Republic of Ireland.
Ronnie Whelan
DM/CM: David McCreery (N.Ireland/Newcastle United)
McCreery played in every position bar goalkeeper. He made 67 appearances for Northern Ireland, and played in boith 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals.  He was named in the All Star team at the World Cup 1982.  He started his career with Manchester United.  His longest stint was with Newcastle United.

DM/CM: Nigel Worthington (N.Ireland/Sheffield Wednesday)
Worthington started his career with Ballymena United in 1979, where he was Ulster Football Writers Young Player of the Year in 1981. He moved into English football with Notts County in 1981. 
He had a long career with Sheffield Wednesday.  He had 66 caps and went to the 1986 World Cup Finals. 

CM: Sammy McIlroy (N.Ireland/Manchester City)
Sammy McIlroy joined Manchester United in 1969, becoming Matt Busby's last signing at the club.  He stayed there until 1982.  At one point, Manchester United dropped to the 2nd division, where he helped them to grain promotion. He joined Stoke as their record signing.  He also played for Manchester City, Bury, etc. He played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals. He was the captain of the 1986 World Cup side in Mexico.
Sammy McIlroy 
RW/CM: Ray Houghton  (Republic/Oxford United)
Born in Scotland, Ray Houghton was capped 73 times for the Republic.  He was best remembered for scoring the winning goal against England at Euro 1988 and against Italy at the World Cup Finals in 1994.  He was also remembered for his career at Liverpool between 1987 and 1992, where he played with John Aldridge, Peter Beardsley and John Barnes.

LW/AM: Liam Brady (Republic/Inter Milan)
Liam Brady played over 200 times for Arsenal in the 1980's.  He was the PWA Player of the Year in 1979.  He was one of the few successful Irish players playing outside the UK.  In 1980, he moved to Juventus, where he won two Series A titles in two seasons.  He was replaced by Michel Platini, but he went on to play for Inter Milan and Ascoli in Italy. He made 72 caps for Ireland, but he never went to a major tournament.

LW: Kevin Sheedy (Republic/Everton)
Sheedy spent the largest portion of his playing career with Everton – with whom he won the FA Cup, European Cup Winners' Cup and two Football League titles – and also played for Hereford United, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Blackpool. Born in Wales, he played 46 times for the Republic of Ireland and scored the country's first ever goal in a World Cup finals during Italian 1990.  He also played in Euro 1988. 
Kevin Sheedy 
FW/CM Norman Whiteside (N.Ireland/Manchester United)
In 1982, Norman Whiteside  became the youngest player ever played in a World Cup Finals.  He also played in the 1986 World Cup Finals.  For his club career, he made his debut with Manchester United as a 16 years old in 1982.  He became a starter in the 1982-1983 season as a teenager.  However, his career was marked with injury problems. He moved to Everton in 1989, which was then a more successful club than Manchester United at the time.  He retired in 1991.

ST: Billy Hamilton (N.Ireland/Oxford United)
Hamilton is best remembered as the man who crossed the ball for Gerry Armstrong to score for Northern Ireland in their win against the hosts Spain at the 1982 World Cup. He also played in the 1986 World Cup Finals. At club level, Hamilton played for Linfield, QPR, Burnley, Oxford United, Limerick, Sligo Rovers, Coleraine and Distillery. 

ST:  John Aldridge (Republic/Oxford United)
John Aldridge is still the 6th highest goal scorer in the history of English football.  He was best remembered with his career at Liverpool from 1987 to 1989. He joined the club as a replacement for Ian Rush.  He linked up with Peter Beardsley and John Barnes to form one of the most exciting attacking lines in the club's history. He had 69 caps for the Republic of Ireland.  He played in Euro 1988, and with 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals.

ST: Frank Stapleton (Republic/Manchester United)
Frank Stapleton was Ireland's all-time leading scorer for a decade.  He had 71 caps. He captained Ireland at the European Championship in 1988.  It was Ireland's first major tournament. At the club level, he is best remembered for his time at Arsenal and Manchester United, where he won a single FA Cup for both clubs. He also played in Holland, Belgium and France after he left Manchester United.
Frank Stapleton 
Honorable Mention
Mick McCarthy (Republic), Tony Cascarino (Republic), Niall Quinn (Republic), Dave Langan (Republic), Gerry Peyton (Republic), Gerry Armstrong (N.Ireland), Steve Penney (N.Ireland), John Byrne (Republic), Mal Donaghy (N.Ireland).

Squad Explanation
-- To reduce confusion, all players from the Republic of Ireland are listed as "Republic".  Ireland meant this combined team.
-- I was deciding whether to do a combined Irish team for the 1982 or 1986 World Cup Finals.  Northern Ireland had better results in 1982 than in 1986.  Pat Jennings and Liam Brady were in their prime.  George Best was still an active player in 1982, but was no longer playing for Northern Ireland. In 1982, I could have fielded the three of the greatest ever Irish player.  However, the Republic had not figure much internationally in 1982.  I decided the 1986 team might be more interesting because the Republic was already under Jack Charlton's revolution in 1986. Northern Ireland qualified for the 1986 World Cup. Basically, I am combining Jack Charlton's Euro 1988 team with Northern Ireland's 1986 World Cup team.
-- The FAI approached Jack Charlton to be their manager in December, 1985. The list of candidates narrowed down to Bob Paisley, Jack Charlton, John Giles or Liam Tuohy.  Paisley who turned down the same job previously was the favorite for the job. However, Charlton was appointed the manager of Republic's team in February, 1986. He was the first non-Irishman to be appointed to the position. Moreover, he was an Englishman. His first game in charge was on 26 March 1986 against Wales at Lansdowne Road which ended in a 1–0 defeat.
-- Northern Ireland was managed by Billy Bingham, his second spell as their manager.  His second spell made him the most successful ever manager for Northern Ireland. He led the nation to victory in the British Home Championship in 1980, only the nation's second outright victory in 96 years.  Northern Ireland also qualified twice for the World Cup Finals. B
-- In 1986, both team was coached by their greatest ever manager, but I was not building a team managed by either of them.  I was only using their selections and teams as part of my resource for my research.
-- Adidas sponsored both national teams in 1986.
-- Northern Ireland qualified for the World Cup Finals, but the combined team is stocked with players from the Republic.  I selected 13 players from the Republic and only 9 from Northern Ireland. I did drop eligible Republic's players for Northern Irish players to balance the team.
-- Pat Jennings and Paddy Bonner easily made the first two goalkeeper spots.  I took Jim Platt who was Northern Ireland's goalkeeper in Mexico for the third keeper. Gerry Peyton (Republic), Jim McDonagh (Republic) and Phil Hughes (N.Ireland) were in the pool.
-- Mark Lawrenson and Paul McGarth were on the PFA Team of the Season in the 1985-1986 season.  
-- David O'Leary (Republic) was dropped by manager Jack Charlton in May, 1986 for a tournament in Iceland because of a feud over O'Leary's family vacation.  He would not play for Ireland until 1988.  In this imaginary team, Jack Charlton was not the manager.  I do not place a real manager on the team.  Furthermore, in this alternative world, the Republic would not be playing in the tournament before the World Cup Finals. I doubt O'Leary would be complaining about his family vacation if it was the World Cup Finals. The feud would not have happened.  O'Leary would have gone to Mexico.
-- I was choosing between Kevin Moran, Alan McDonald and John O'Neil for the last and 4th central defender.  Kevin Moran had an injury filled year in the 1985/86 season.  Alan McDonald led the QPR to the League Cup Final while John O'Neil was playing for Leicester Town. In the end, I decided to bring five centerbacks.  Moran was too famous to be dropped.  I added McDonald because of the League Cup.
-- Jim Beglin (Republic) took over the leftback position from the departing Alan Kennedy at Liverpool that season.  Chris Houghton was an established leftback with Tottenham Hotspur. So Mal Donaghy (N.Ireland) lost his spot to them even through he was a top leftback at the time.
-- In 1986, Denis Irwin transferred from Leeds United to Oldham.  He had not made his senior debut with the Republic until 1990.  He was playing in the Under-21 level.
-- In 1985-1986 season, Liam Brady was still playing regularly for Inter Milan.  He would transfer out of the club that summer.  In real life, he never played in a major tournament.  He received a suspension and then, an injury that kept him out the 1988 European Championship.  He also had some issues with Jack Charlton. Again, this team was not managed by Charlton.  The feud issue did not exist in this imaginary setting.
--  Ronnie Whelan won the Double for Liverpool that season. Across the Mersey, Kevin Speedy's team Everton finished second in both FA Cup and the League.  In the 1985-1986, Speedy seemed to be injury-riddled, but he did play at the end of the season, including 90 minutes at the 1986 FA Cup Final.
-- Ray Houghton had a great season that year.  He was eligible for Scotland, but Scotland did not select him for the actual 1986 World Cup Finals.  Then, he made his debut for Ireland in January of 1986, which making him officially a player for Ireland by the time of the World Cup Finals. 
-- In 1986, Ray Houghton, Billy Hamilton and John Aldridge were playing together at Oxford United.  They won the League Cup that year (Hamilton missed the Final through an injury).  Billy Hamilton and John Aldridge were known for their partnership.  So I am bringing both. Northern Ireland never lost a game when Billy Hamilton scored. He played all three games in Mexico.
-- Frank Stapleton struggled in the 1985-1986 season, but he was the captain of the Republic before and after the appointment of Jack Charlton.  John Aldridge scored 23 goals in the English league that season.  He was tied for third top scorer with Ian Rush. Norman Whiteside played all three matches in Mexico.
-- At the time of the World Cup Finals, John Byrne only played three times for the Republic. He scored a stunning solo goal against Chelsea in March, 1986. But i did not want to gamble a newer player.  I went with the bigger names.
-- Frank Stapleton, Norman Whiteside, Paul McGrath and Kevin Moran played for Manchester United.  Mark Lawrenson, Ronnie Whelan and Jim Beglin played for Liverpool FC. 
-- Gerry Armstrong was the hero of Spain 1982.  In real life, he went to Mexico, but he only played a handful of games that season for West Bromwich Albion and Chesterfield.  His form was in question. The addition of players from the Republic kept him out of this team.
-- Niall Quinn was 19 years at the time of the World Cup Finals.  He made his senior debut on May, 1985.  He still played on the Under-21 team that year.
-- The addition of David McCreery, Nigel Worthington, Jimmy Nicholl and Jim Platt was to balance the team with players from both sides of the Island. 

I am not certain if I have the best lineup for the year 1986.