Saturday, October 31, 2020

Baden-Württemberg All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   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

 Jurgen Klinsmann and Oliver Bierhoff

In 2015, I created all-time teams for North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria respectively.   At the time, I did not know enough about German football to create other all-time teams for the rest of Germany. In 2018, did an All-Time Team for East Germany (GDR/DDR).  Finally, in late, 2020, I decided to look into the regions again and I came up with the following projects.  

-- Northern Germany/Norddeutschland (Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony and the two city-states Hamburg and Bremen).  Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is also covered in Eastern German regional All-Time Team.
-- Western Germany/Westdeutschland without North Rhine-Westphalia (Hesse, the Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate).
-- Eastern Germany (not only GDR players): Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and city of Berlin).  
-- I am not creating a team for Central Germany/Mitteldeutschland since the players from Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia are well-covered on my Eastern German regional team, and I put Hesse on my Western Germany team.  For Southern Germany,  I have done an all-time team for Bavaria.  And now, this is the all-time team for Baden-Württemberg.

Baden-Württemberg forms the southern sector of Germany's western border with France. It is the German state with the third-largest area, at of 35,751 km2 (13,804 sq mi), and the state with the third-largest population, at 11 million inhabitants.  The is also the home of VfB Stuttgart.  The largest city in Baden-Württemberg is the state capital of Stuttgart and is followed by Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Other cities are Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Pforzheim, Reutlingen, Tübingen and Ulm.
Karl-Heinz  and Bernd Forster 

GK: Oliver Kahn (Karlsruhe)
Oliver Kahn is one of the most successful German players in recent history.  For Bayern Munich, he won eight Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, both achieved in 2001. For Germany, his heroic performance helped Germany to finish 2nd at Korea/Japan 2002.  He was the Gold Ball winner in that World Cup Finals.   
Oliver Kahn 
GK: Gerald Ehrmann (Tauberbischofsheim)
Gerald Ehrmann started with FC Koln where he had limited action playing behind Toni Schumacher.  He nearly spent his entire career with FC Kaiserslautern between 1984 and 1997.  He was their goalkeeper coach starting in 1996, but he returned as a backup keeper in 1998. With them, he won two Bundesliga title in the 1977–78 and 1990–91 season and 4 German Cups.

GK: Bernd Leno (Bietigheim-Bissingen)
From 2009 to 2011, Leno played for Stuttgart II.  In 2011, he joined Bayer Leverkusen.  When he played on 13 September 2011, at the age of 19 years and 193 days, against Chelsea in the Champions League group stage he was the youngest goalkeeper to ever to play in a Champions League match.

RB: Joshua Kimmich (Rottweil)
Kimmich played youth football for VfB Stuttgart before joining RB Leipzig in July 2013.  Since January of 2015, he played for Bayern Munich.  He is considered to be the future of German defence. He made his German debut in 2016.  He was a member of their Euro 2016 team.  He was was named in UEFA's Team of the Tournament.

RB: Erich Retter (Plüderhausen)
In 1944, Retter joined VfB Stuttgart from the Swabian amateur club SV Plüderhausen. He played 354 games for VfB Stuttgart from 1947 to 1962, scoring six goals. From 1952 to 1956, he played 14 times for Germany. He played in the World Cup Qualifiers, but a knee injury kept him out of the World Cup team in 1954.

CB/RB: Bernd Förster (Mosbach)
Förster started with SV Waldhof Mannheim, in Bundesliga 2. In 1975, he switched to FC Bayern Munich, but his stay there was highly unsuccessful. After establishing himself in the top flight with 1. FC Saarbrücken, Förster switched to VfB Stuttgart, where he played with his brother Karlheinz in the back-four. Capped 33 times, he was a key player at the WC finals in 1982, where he partnered his brother Karl-Heinz.

CB: Karl-Heinz Forster (Mosbach)
With West Germany, Karl-Heinz Forster earned 81 caps. He won the European Championship in 1980, and came 2nd at the World Cup in both 1982 and 1986.  He was regarded one of the best defenders in the 1980's.  He played with VFB Stuttgart between 1977 and 1986. and Marseille between 1986 and 1990.  With Stuttgart, he won a Bundesliga in the 1983–84 season.  He won two league titles in France.
Karl-Heinz Forster
CB: Christian Worns (Mannheim)
Christian Worns started his career with Waldhof Mannheim but played the majority of his career with Bayer Leverkusen (1991-1998) and Borussia Dortmund (1999-2008). He also had a short stint with Paris St Germain(1998-1999).  He was capped 66 times between 1992 and 2005.  He went to Euro 1992 and 2004, and the 1998 World Cup Finals in France.  However, he was bypassed by German manager Jurgen Klinsmann for the 2006 World Cup Finals at home.

SW: Horst Blankenburg (Heidenheim)
Blankenburg played with Nürnberg, Wiener Sportclub and TSV 1860 München before he joined Ajax Amsterdam in 1970.  In 5 seasons at Ajax he won the European Cup 3 years in a row, and was known for his partnership with Velibor Vasović. For international football, he was never capped by West Germany largely because playing in the same time as Franz Beckenbauer.  Johan Cruijff asked him to play for Holland in the 1974 World Cup but he refused.

CB: Jens Nowotny  (Malsch)
Jens Nowotny started with Karlsruher SC. He played in nearly 300 official games with Bayer Leverkusen in one full decade, helping them reach the 2002 Champions League final.  He also played for Dinamo Zagreb at the end of his career.  He went to Euro 2000 and 2004, but missed the World Cup Finals in 2002.  In 2006, he was a part of the World Cup team, playing at home.  He was capped 48 times in total.
Jens Nowotny 
At the age of sixteen Streilte moved to FC Bayern , where he made his debut in the first team in 1935.  During the Second World War, he was also a guest player in Düren for a while. He played at SC Borussia 1912 Freialdenhoven.   He was a member of the German squad that took part in the FIFA World Cup 1938 in France, where he made his international debut in the round of 16 replay against Switzerland. 

CB/SW: Ulrich Stielike (Ketsch)
Ulrich Stielike is one of a small handful of players to have played in all 3 European club finals, the World Cup Final and the European Championship Final.  He was part of the Mönchengladbach team that won three Bundesliga titles, the UEFA Cup in 1975 and gained a runner-up medal in the European Cup in 1977.  He joined Real Madrid in 1977, where he won the UEFA Cup.  He was capped 42 times, winning Euro 1980.  He also played in the 1982 World Cup Finals.
Ulrich Stielike
CH: Max Breunig (Karlsruhe)
Max Breunig started his career at Karlsruher FV in 1908. In 1913 he signed for 1. FC Pforzheim but his football career ended when the First World War began. He captained the German national team in all nine games he played for them and was a member of the German 1912 Olympic squad.  He played one game at the Olympics.

CM: Karl Allgöwer (Geislingen an der Steige)
Karl Allgöwer started with 2. Bundesliga team Stuttgarter Kickers from 1977 to 1980 as striker.  He moved to local rival VfB Stuttgart in 1980.   In 1989 the powerful free-kick specialist was part of the team that got defeated by Diego Maradona's SSC Napoli in the UEFA Cup final. He was capped 10 times. He was non-playing member at Mexico 1986.

CM/DM: Sami Khedira (Stuttgart)
Khedira began his career at VfB Stuttgart, winning the Bundesliga in 2007, before moving to Real Madrid in 2010. In his five seasons in Spain, he won seven domestic and international trophies, including the UEFA Champions League in 2014. In 2015, he moved to Italian side Juventus on a free transfer, and immediately won the Serie A title in his first season with the club.  Earned over 70 caps.  He was a key player for Germany since 2009, winning the World Cup in 2014.
Sami Khedira 
AM/CM: Hansi Müller (Stuttgart)
Playing for his hometown side VfB Stuttgart, he took part in Euro 1980 with West Germany after a brief taste of action at the 1978 World Cup Finals, where he started all four games. The tournament would prove to be Müller's international peak as they emerged victorious. He had a disappointing 1982 World Cup, and despite returning to Italy to play for F.C. Inter Milan, he made his 42nd and last appearance for Die Mannschaft the following year.

RW: Sebestian Deisler (Lörrach)
Deisler once hailed as the future of German football at the turn of the millennium, but injuries and depression prevented him for fulfilling his promises. He started with Borussia Mönchengladbach and moved to Hertha Berlin in 1999.  In 2002, he joined Bayern Munich, but his career was derailed by injuries. He retired in 2007. At the international level, he played 35 times for Germany.  he played all three matches at Euro 2000.

AM: Mehmet Scholl (Karlsruhe)
Mehmet Scholl was born in Germany of Turkish hertiage.  He started with Karlsruher, but spent almost hs entire career with Bayern Munich.  He won the Bundesliga title 8 times and the Champions' league n 2001.  Injuries has limited his career with the national team.  He played at Euro 2000, but he never played in any of the World Cup Finals.
Mehmet Scholl
AM: Uwe Rahn (Mannheim)
Uwe Rahn played 318 Bundesliga matches in his professional career, scoring the majority of his 107 Bundesliga goals in his eight years at Borussia Mönchengladbach from 1980 to 1988.  He was the Bundesliga top scorer in the 1986–87 season. He capped 14 times for West Germany. He went to the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico, but he did not play a game there. He was the German Footballer of the Year award in 1987.

FW: Uli Hoeness  (Ulm)
Uli Hoeness was a part of the generation that won the 1974 World Cup, the 1972 European Championship and three straight European Cups with Bayern Munich. He was remembered as the star player at the 1974 European Cup Final against Atletico Madrid, scoring a double in that game. With an exception of loan move, he played his entire career with Bayern Munich.  After retirement, he worked for Bayern Munich.
Uli Hoeness
FW: Otto Siffling (Mannheim)
For his club career, Siffling played  for SV Waldhof Mannheim.  He was better known for his international career.  From 1934 to 1938, he played 31 times for Germany, scoring 17 goals.  He was a participant in the 1934 FIFA World Cup, where he scored a goal. He was the centre forward of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8–0 in 1937 and went on to win 10 out 11 games played during that year.

ST: Oliver Bierhoff (Karlsruhe)
Biefhoff scored the first golden goal in the history of major international football, for Germany in the Euro 96 final. The goal defined his career. He played 70 times for Germany between 1996 and 2002.  He also played in Euro 2000, and both the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. He was a later bloomer.  He was playing in Austria and Italy's Serie B until at the age 27 when he joined Udinese.  He would later star for AC Milan.
ST: Jurgen Klinsmann (Göppingen)
Klinsmann won the World Cup in 1990 and then, captained the 1996 European Championship winning team.  He played in all major international tournaments from 1988 until his retirement in 1998.  He had successful club spells with Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspurs. He was a popular player while in England, despite a lot of negative press at the time of his signing.  He won both the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Player of the Year in 1995. 
Jurgen Klinsmann 
Honorable Mention
Dennis Aogo, Heiko Herrlich, Dieter Hoeness, Rudi Hoffmann, Robert SchlienzErwin WaldnerSerdar Tasci, Eugen Kipp, Günther Schäfer, Karl Heinz "Charly" Körbel,  Andreas Hinkel, Karl Wegele, Wolfgang Fahrian, Hermann Ohlicher, Kurt Niedermayer, Paul SteinerEugen Kipp, Sebastian Rudy, Mario Gomez, Serge Gnabry.

Capped by Foreign national teams (ineligible)
Robert Prosinečki (Croatia), Ümit Davala (Turkey), Cédric Soares (Portugal)

Squad Explanation
-- Oliver Kahn,  Jurgen Klinsmann and Karl-Heinz Förster are on my All-Time Germany team.  Oliver Bierhoff and Uli Hoeneß are also automatic selections.
-- Both Joachim Löw and Ottmar Hitzfeld were born in Baden-Württemberg.  When Jurgen Klinsmann was the manager of the German national team, Joachim Löw and Oliver Bierhoff were his assistants.
-- Germany won four World Cups, but Uli Hoeneß and Sami Khedira are the only World Cup winners from this state.
-- In 1980, West Germany won the European Championship. The team featured Karl-Heinz Förster, Bernd Förster, Hansi Muller and Uli Stielike.
-- Jürgen Klinsmann captained the Euro 1996 winning team.  Oliver Bierhoff scored the winning goal in the Final.  Mehmet Scholl and Oliver Kahn were also on the team.
-- Cédric Soares played for Portugal as they won the Euro 2016.
-- For goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn was the obvious choice.  Wolfgang Fahrian was the starting goalkeeper at the 1962 World Cup Finals, but  he was playing in the lower division at the time of his first call-up and he was not expected to start for West Germany at the time.  His career afterward never took off. So I took the uncapped Gerald Ehrmann, who was a Bundesliga legend.  Then, I took Bernd Leno as my third goalkeeper.  At the time of writing, he already has a long career in Leverkusen.  Loris Karius was also born here, but he is known for the wrong reason.
-- I have many centerbacks.  Karl-Heinz Förster is among the greatest German centerbacks ever played the game.  Then, I took his brother Bernd who was a club legend with Stuttgart.  Jens Nowotny, Christian Wörns and Horst Blankenburg were top defenders at their times. I also selected Uli Stielike as a defensive midfielder so that I could select more centerbacks.
-- Horst Blankenburg was uncapped, but his career with Ajax spoke for itself.
--  Karl Heinz "Charly" Körbel holds the record for the most appearances in the Bundesliga with 602 games.  I just have too many centerbacks.  So he only made honorable mention.
-- On rightback, I took Erich Retter, a prewar great. Initially, I thought Joshua Kimmich is too young to be considered.  However, he was already a starter in an European Championship and a World Cup Finals for Germany.  Andreas Hinkel the alternative started his career well with the "young and wild" team of Stuttgart, but injuries prevented him from becoming an all-time great with Germany.  Meanwhile, Ümit Davala decided to play for Turkey, which made him ineligible.  
-- I only selected a single leftback, Jakob Streilte. CB/LB: Günther Schäfer was a popular player with VfB Stuttgart.  He could have been my backup leftback.  I also thought of Dennis Aogo. 
--  The team lacked a deep central midfielder with creativity.  Mehmet Scholl and Uwe Rahn were better in a more advanced position while Uli Stielike and Sami Khedira were defensive. Hansi Muller was the only player of note who fitted the role, but his career was largely unfulfilled due to injuries. So I drafted in Karl Allgöwer who was a club all-timer with Stuttgart.  I often rewarded players playing for local clubs in a regional team. The inclusion of Baden-Württemberg-born Robert Prosinečki would have significantly strengthened the position, but he was cap-tied to Croatia. I was tempted to take him.  In the end, I kept the team "German" and selected Max Breunig over Robert Prosinečki.  Breuning was the most reowned German centra-half in the pre-War era.
-- The team also lacked players who can play on the wide.  So I took Sebastian Deisler.  When he was healthy, he could be the best German player of his generation.  Unfortunately, his career was limited by his injuries.  Uli Hoeneß can also play as a left forward. 
-- Fredi Bobic was born in Yugoslavia, but he grew up in Baden-Württemberg.  Even if he was born here, he probably won't make the team due to Jürgen Klinsmann, Oliver Bierhoff and Uli Hoeneß.  I also have Mario Gomez ahead of him.  Dieter Hoeneß also made honorable mention.  
-- Thanks to an alert by a reader.  I added Max Breunig and Otto Siffling to the team.  I took Sebastian Rudy and Mario Gomez out.
-- Otto Siffling was the centre forward of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8–0 in 1937 and he scored 5 goals in that game. I took him over Mario Gomez.  Mario Gomez was the German Player of the Year in 2007, the season that Stuttgart won the Bundesliga.  He was also the European Championship Top Scorer in 2012.  He might have earn all kinds of titles, but he was never the best striker in Europe while Siffling was probably one of the best striker in continental Europe in his peak.  


Sunday, October 18, 2020

What if USSR went to the World Cup 2018

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied my blog team.  His entry was written in November 2020, but mine was uploaded in October, 2020.  He seemed to be from the Soviet Union.  He wrote it in Russian.  He still copied mine.  Seriously, I am not from Russia.  He copied from a foreigner. 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.  

His Facebook and Instagram

Если бы сборная СССР поехала на ЧМ-2018

Этот блогер Артур Янтурин из России скопировал мою команду блога. Его запись была написана в ноябре 2020 года, а моя загружена в октябре 2020 года. Похоже, он из Советского Союза. Он написал это по-русски. Он все еще скопировал мой. Серьезно, я не из России. Списал с иностранца. Он также скопировал многие из моих записей в блоге. Его запись о московском «Спартаке» за все время была опубликована в октябре 2020 года, но моя была загружена в 2017 году. Его запись о голландско-германском соперничестве между «Реалом» и «Барселоной» была написана в 2020 году, а моя была загружена в 2014 году.

* Due to the conflict in Ukraine, I wanted to state clearly that the intention of this team was not to promote an unification of the former Soviet Union.

Russia World Cup 2018

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

During its existence, the Soviet Union had a remarkable record in the European Championships, maintaining the best record until the emergence of West Germany in the 1970s. In terms of the World Cup, the Soviet Union only failed to qualify twice, in 1974 and 1978, and participated in a total of seven finals tournaments. Their most notable achievement was reaching the semifinals in 1966, where they lost 2-1 to West Germany, ultimately finishing fourth.

However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the independent republics that emerged did not achieve significant success in international football. While Ukraine managed to reach the quarterfinals in 2006, Russia, inheriting the Soviet football legacy, struggled to advance beyond the group stage until the 2018 World Cup Finals.

If the Soviet Union still existed and Russia had the opportunity to reinforce its team with players from the other republics in this alternative World Cup Finals, it could potentially have a positive impact on their performance. As the host, Russia started the World Cup Finals with two easy wins before losing to Uruguay.  They then pulled an upset victory against Spain in the round of 16 before losing to the eventual World Cup Finalist Croatia.   Can the Soviets do better?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM/CM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal/Armenia)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan started with Pyunik in 2006 in Armenia before moving to play in Ukraine. Between 2013 and 2016, he starred with Borussia Dortmund.  With Manchester United, he became the first Armenian to win a major European trophy.   Then, he played briefly for Arsenal before moving to AS Roma.  At the time of writing, he had 86 caps for Armenia.  He was also voted the CIS Footballer of the Year in 2012 and 2013.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
RW/AM: Viktor Tsyhankov (Dynamo Kyiv/Ukraine) 
Born in Nahariya, Israel, where his father Vitaliy Tsyhankov played as footballer.  In 2016, Viktor Tsyhankov made his professional debut for Dynamo Kyiv.  He was Ukrainian Premier League best player of season: 2018–19.  He was also Ukrainian Player of the Year in 2018.  For the national team, he made his debut in 2016 against Turkey in a World Cup Qualifier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Squad Explanation
-- I also did a Yugoslavia 2018 World Cup team.  I based the team upon the Croatian team at the World Cup. I was able to reinforce "Croatia" with Jan Oblak, Edin Džeko, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Matić, Miralem Pjani, etc.  However, this "Soviet" team lacks star power and is relatively modest in terms of name recognition.  Among them, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Igor Akinfeev, and Yuri Zhirkov are the only notable names recognized outside of their respective countries.
-- All of the former republics of USSR did poorly during the World Cup Qualifiers. Russia also did not have an impressive record leading up to the World Cup Finals.
-- I tried to base my team selection with the perspective of the situation before the World Cup Finals. 
-- In this alternate reality where the Soviet Union remains a unified country, the political disputes that had arisen among the different countries of the former Soviet Union are non-existent.  
-- The Ukrainian players dominated the last three World Cup Finals participated by the Soviet Union (1982, 1986 and 1990). This team featured 9 Ukrainians, which is 39% of the team.  However, it is still lower percentage than the last three Soviet's World Cup team.
-- Russia's representation in the team is noteworthy, as they have a  a total of 9 players.  Their percentage on this team is higher than the Soviet teams in the World Cup Finals of 1982, 1986, and 1990. In fact, the percentage of Russian players in the team is the highest it has been since the 1966 World Cup.
-- Georgia contributed 21% of all Soviet players in all World Cup Finals, but Guram Kashia is the only Georgian on this team.
-- No player from Moldova ever played for the USSR in a World Cup Finals.  I have two players from there, Artur Ionita and Alexandru Epureanu.  Also no Estonian player ever played in a World Cup Finals.  I have Ragnar Klavan.
-- Two players were born in Brazil, Mario Fernandes (Russia) and Marlo (Ukraine).
-- The real Russian World Cup team has only two players based outside of Russia.  This team consisted of 8 players playing outside the "Soviet Union".  
-- In the history of the USSR, Dynamo Kyiv sent the most players to the World Cup Finals.  They are followed by Spartak Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, Dinamo Tbilisi and Torpedo Moscow.  The five clubs consisted  81% of all Soviet players in the World Cup Finals.  On this team, however, only one player (Viktor Tsyhankov of Dynamo Kyiv) played for any of those 5 teams.
-- Throughout the history of the USSR, CSKA Moscow has produced a total of 13 players who represented the national team. This places them as the sixth club with the highest number of players contributing to the national squad. In the current team, I have included four players from CSKA Moscow. On the other hand, Zenit Petersburg only had three players who had the opportunity to participate in the World Cup while representing the USSR. However, in the present team, I have included three players from them. It is interesting to note that Shakhtar Donetsk did not have any players who had the chance to represent the USSR in the World Cup. However, in the current team, I have included four players from Shakhtar Donetsk.
-- Igor Akinfeev and Andriy Pyatov were the obvious choices for goalkeepers.
--  Both Russian centre-back Viktor Vasin and Georgi Dzhikiya were injured and missed the World Cup Finals.  Sergei Ignashevich came out of retirement to replace them on May, 2018.  He turned out to be a key player for Russia at the World Cup Finals.  But if the team was still the Soviet Union, he would not come out of retirement because the team have plenty of alternatives. I took Alexandru Epureanu (Moldova) who was playing well in Turkey and Guram Kashia (Georgia) who was the captain of Dutch Eredivisie club Vitesse that season.  Ragnar Klavan (Estonia) is the most famous defender of the Soviet Union because he played for Liverpool.
-- Guram Kashia won the UEFA #EqualGame award in 2018. Whilst playing for Vitesse that year, he wore a rainbow armband, in support of LGBT rights, leading to a backlash in his own country.  He was awarded for his political stand.
-- CB Yaroslav Rakitskiy transferred to Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2019.  It was controversial move because of the "War in Donbass".  However, the World Cup Finals took place in 2018 before his transfer.  Furthermore, in this alternative world, the war did not happen.
-- The other Russian starting center back at the World Cup Finals was Ilya Kutepov, but his club career was not remarkable the season before. Vasili Berezutski (Russia), Roman Neustädter (Russia) and Konstantin Rausch (Russia) did not go to the WC Finals. I took them out of consideration.
-- Left wingback Oleksandr Zinchenko did not play much for Manchester City that season, but he is one of the more famous Soviet players.  I also took veteran Yuri Zhirkov who is one of the more experienced and famous players.  I left out Fyodor Kudryashov who was not as well-known outside Russia.
-- Taras Stepanenko had an on field incident with Andriy Yarmolenko during the Shakhtar-Dynamo derby in April 2016.  The pair played together at Euro 2016.  Their rivalry won't be an issue.
-- Henrikh Mkhitaryan transfered to Arsenal from Manchester United in January, 2018.  He had been inconsistent with both Arsenal and Manchester United, but I would still take him since he is probably "Soviet Union's" best player.
-- The 2017-2018 season would be Andriy Yarmolenko's first and only season with Borussia Dortmund.  He only had 3 goals and 2 assists in 18 Bundesliga appearances, but he was one of Soviet Union's best players.
-- I seriously considered Odil Ahmedov (Uzbekistan) who played in the Chinese Super League.  
-- Alan Dzagoev became one of Europe's young stars after Euro 2012.  By 2018, however, his career was derailed by injuries, but I hoped that he might finally live up expectation.  This would have been my prospective at the time of selection. * In the real Finals, he was injured on the first game.
-- Marlos was voted the best player in the Ukrainian league.
-- Roman Zobnin played every minute of World Cup Finals, but I have no spot for him. I also dropped Aleksandr Samedov who was a starter at WC Finals.
-- Denis Cheryshev did not play for the Russian national team between 2015 and 2018.  He barely made the Russian team at the World Cup Finals.  He won't get into this team because of Yevhen Konoplyanka and Oleksandr Zinchenko.  
-- I already have two right-side attackers in Marlo and Andriy Yarmolenko, but I still took Viktor Tsyhankov.  In 2018, Viktor Tsyhankov was only 20 years old.  He only played a handful of games for Ukraine, but he emerged as a new star in the Ukrainian league that season.   I also took two other youngsters from Ukraine, Viktor Kovalenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko.  The trio are considered to be the future of the "Soviet Union".
-- In 2018, Ruslan Malinovskyi was featuring regularly for Ukraine, but I prefer Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aleksandr Golovin and Alan Dzagoev.  I did not want to drop Viktor Tsyhankov for him.  At the summer of 2018, I would consider Tsyhankov's potential.  Of course, Ruslan Malinovskyi's career also improved after 2018, but I would not know that in June, 2018.  So I took Tsyhankov over him.
-- I only selected two strikers.  I studied Artem Kravets (Ukraine), but he seldom used by the Ukrainian national team that year.  So I only took Artem Dzubya (Russia)  and Fyodor Smolov (Russia).  Dzubya was the Futbol Footballer of the Year in 2018.   Smolov was the Footballer of the Year in Russia (Sport-Express) in the 2017–18 season.

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