As the most-watched sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup has seen some of the greatest football teams of all time take to the pitch. With a combination of skill, passion, and heart, these teams captured the world’s attention and stole our hearts.
Here are the top 10 teams in World Cup history that have left an indelible mark on football fans around the world.
1. Brazil, 1970: The team that introduced “samba football” to the world, Brazil’s 1970 squad was a flawless machine. With players like Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino, and Tostao, they scored an impressive 19 goals in just six matches and won the Cup in spectacular fashion.
2. Germany, 2014: After a disappointing 2006 and 2010, Germany returned to form in 2014 and put on a masterclass in efficient and clinical football. Led by the outstanding Thomas Muller and supported by a tireless midfield and defense, Germany dismantled Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals on their way to lifting the trophy.
3. Italy, 1982: The Italian team of 1982 didn’t have the most talented players on paper, but they played with incredible heart and determination. Captained by the legendary Dino Zoff in goal, the Azzurri overcame some of the best teams in the world, including Argentina and Brazil, to claim their third World Cup title.
4. Argentina, 1986: Featuring the genius of Diego Maradona, Argentina’s 1986 team was a force to be reckoned with. Maradona scored both the “Goal of the Century” and the infamous “Hand of God” in the quarter-finals and led his team to a 3-2 win in the final against West Germany.
5. France, 1998: Host nation France put on a stunning display of attacking football in 1998. Led by Zinedine Zidane and supported by a talented supporting cast, Les Bleus breezed through the tournament and beat Brazil 3-0 in the final to claim their first-ever World Cup trophy.
6. Uruguay, 1930: The first-ever World Cup winners, Uruguay’s 1930 squad set the standard for future generations of footballers. Despite being a small nation, they played with incredible skill and determination and beat Argentina 4-2 in the final to lift the trophy.
7. Spain, 2010: Spain’s 2010 team was a masterclass in possession-based football. With Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and David Villa leading the way, La Roja controlled the ball in every game and beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final to earn their first-ever World Cup title.
8. Portugal, 1966: Though they didn’t reach the final, Portugal’s 1966 team led by the legendary Eusebio was one of the most exciting to watch. Eusebio scored nine goals in the tournament, including four against North Korea in one of the greatest comebacks in World Cup history.
9. England, 1966: The only time England has won the World Cup, the 1966 team was led by Bobby Charlton and Geoff Hurst. Hurst famously scored a hat-trick in the final against West Germany to secure England’s first and only World Cup trophy.
10. Netherlands, 1974: Featuring Johan Cruyff and his iconic “Total Football” system, the Dutch team of 1974 enchanted the world with their fluid attacking play. Despite losing in the final to Franz Beckenbauer’s Germany, the Dutch team is remembered as one of the greatest in World Cup history.
These 10 teams have left their mark on the history of football and on the hearts of millions of fans around the world. While new teams will undoubtedly emerge in future World Cups, these 10 will always hold a special place in our hearts.