The all-time World Cup Starting XI

The all-time World Cup Starting XI
Pele

by Graeme Jackson

Monday Jan 01, 2018. 12:00

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup set to take place from 14 June to 15 July, AfricanFootball.com picked an all-time World Cup XI.

Note: Because these kind of ‘dream teams’ spark endless debate, you should know that we applied the following two restrictions to our selection:

- The team has to abide by a realistic formation (in this case 4-1-3-2) which would make for a balanced line-up which is both solid in defence but potent in attack.

- We limited our choice to players who actually won the World Cup. So there’s automatically no place for the likes of Lev Yashin, Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff or Alfredo Di Stefano, all of whom are otherwise legendary players.

Goalkeeper: Dino Zoff

Italy, 1982 winner

Regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Dino Zoff appeared in four World Cups and became the oldest player to win the tournament when he captained Italy to glory at Spain 1982.

Right-back: Carlos Alberto Torres

Brazil, 1970 winner

The captain of the legendary Brazil 1970 team, Carlos Alberto Torres is regarded as one of the greatest defenders to have played the game. His goal in the final against Italy is ranked as one of the finest scored in the history of the tournament.

Centre-back: Bobby Moore

England, 1966 winner

The captain of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team, Bobby Moore was both a superb defender and a great leader. Pele named Moore as the best defender he had ever come up against - praise doesn’t come higher than that.

Centre-back: Franz Beckenbauer

West Germany, 1974 winner

Nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’, Franz Beckenbauer is credited with inventing the ‘sweeper’ role and was one of the key figures in West Germany’s 1974 World Cup triumph. He also coached the national team to World Cup glory in 1990, and headed up the bid team which won Germany the rights to the 2006 World Cup finals.

Left-back: Andreas Brehme

West Germany, 1990 winner

A versatile and skilful player, Andreas Brehme is one of the greatest left-backs in the history of the game. He earns his place in our team not only as part of West Germany’s 1990 World Cup winning, but also because he scored the decisive goal in the final against Argentina.

Defensive midfield: Lothar Matthaus

West Germany, 1990 winner

The captain of West Germany’s 1990 World Cup winning team, Lothar Matthaus was one of the foremost players of the ‘80s and ‘90s. For much of his career he was a box-to-box midfielder, but in our team he’ll play slightly deeper and use his impeccable reading of the game to protect the defence.

Attacking midfield: Garrincha

Brazil, 1958 & 1962 winner

The first multiple World Cup winner in our team is Brazil’s Garrincha. The Rio de Janeiro native is regarded as one of the finest dribblers in the history of the game and in 1962, when he was at the peak of his powers, he was both the leading goal scorer and golden ball winner as Brazil won their second World Cup title.

Attacking midfield: Zinedine Zidane

France, 1998 winner

One of the most elegant playmakers to have graced the game, Zinedine Zidane was the driving force behind France’s triumph on home soil in 1998, famously scoring two goals in the final against Brazil. His career ended in ignominy when he was sent off in the final of the 2006 tournament, but he remains one of the most beloved players in the tournament’s history.

Attacking midfield: Diego Maradona

Argentina, 1986 winner

No need to explain this one: Diego Maradona was one of the greatest players of all time and his ability to inspire an otherwise average Argentina team to triumph in the 1986 World Cup marked one of the greatest individual performances in football history.

Striker: Pele

Brazil, 1958, 1962 & 1970 winner

The only man to have won three World Cups, Pele is perhaps the player most closely associated with the tournament and a mandatory pick for a team like this. Capable of playing anywhere in attack, the fact that he scored well over 1,000 career goals means we’ll stick him up front to play as part of a strike partnership.

Striker: Gerd Muller

West Germany, 1974 winner

We were tempted to go with Miroslav Klose, who holds the record for the most goals in World Cup history - 16 - but consider that Gerd Muller scored 14 goals in just 13 appearances in the tournament. Nicknamed ‘Der Bomber’, Muller is regarded as one of the best finishers in football history.



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