Top 10 World Cup teams of all time
Brazil (1970), Italy (1982), England (1966) and France (1998)
1) Brazil (1970): Regarded by the majority of historians and critics as the greatest soccer team of all time. The Brazilian squad that competed in Mexico boasted a slew of world-class players - Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao, Rivelino and Carlos Alberto - and won all six of its games en route to capturing its third World Cup. It's fitting that the 1970 World Cup was the first to be broadcasted on TV in colour - while every other team employed a predictable black and white approach, Brazil thrilled the Mexican crowds with its brilliant Technicolor style.
2) Italy (1982): The Azzurri started slowly in Spain, tying all three of their opening round games and scraping into the quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth. Once they made it to the knockout stage, the Italians underwent an amazing transformation, dispatching defending champions Argentina, a Brazil side many said was even better than the 1970 team, Poland in the semifinals and a dangerous West Germany team in the final. The victory of the 1982 Italian team, led by Paolo Rossi's tournament-leading six goals, is proof that anything is possible.
3) Argentina (1986): The magical Maradona dominated the tournament in Mexico, but he was ably abetted by the hard-working Jorge Luis Burruchaga, the sublime talents of Jorge Valdano and Oscar Ruggeri, a solid presence in the centre of Argentina's defence. With Maradona at his best, the Mexican crowds adopted Argentina as their team, as the South American nation won its second World Cup.
4) West Germany (1974): An incredibly talented team with Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Muller. The Germans overcame a first-round loss to lowly East Germany to win their second World Cup much to the delight of the hometown fans. That the Germans were able to overcome Johan Cruyff and a Netherlands side that was at the height of its "Total Football" revolution made their victory in the final all the more memorable.
5) Hungary (1954): The greatest team never to win the World Cup. Led by the legendary quartet of Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis, Nandor Hidegkuti and Jozsef Bozsik, Hungary was the overwhelming pre-tournament favourite in Switzerland. Gold-medal winners at the 1952 Helsinki Games, Hungary was unbeaten (24 wins, four draws) since May 1950 prior to the World Cup, but it fell victim to a miraculous comeback in the final against the West Germans in Berne.
6) The Netherlands (1974): Another fantastic team that somehow did not win the World Cup. Featuring the likes of the incomparable Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens, the Dutch mesmerized fans and opponents alike with an attacking brand of "Total Football". Stylish and sleek, the Netherlands toyed with the Germans in the final, but failed to put them away when it had the chance.
7) Brazil (1958): Often overshadowed by the 1970 team, Brazil's 1958 squad was equally brilliant. Unknown to the world at the start of the tournament, a 17-year-old Pele became a global icon by leading Brazil past a Swedish team packed with superstars to win its first World Cup title. The 1958 Brazilian side is still the only South American team to win the World Cup on European soil.
8) France (1998): Led by the unrivalled Zinedine Zidane, Les Bleus romped to its first World Cup crown on home soil in considerable style. France put Italy and Croatia to the sword in majestic fashion before humiliating the favoured Brazilians in the final with an emphatic 3-0 victory. France was champions of the world and over a million French fans danced the night away on the Champs Elysées.
9) England (1966): The World Cup came "home" in 1966 when England, the inventors of the game, won the Jules Rimet Trophy in an epic and dramatic final over West Germany at Wembley Stadium. Inspired by manager Sir Alf Ramsey, a hard-working England team answered the call on home soil and Geoff Hurst became a national hero with his hat trick in the final.
10) Italy (1938): The Azzurri were first crowned champions in 1934 but critics contended the Italians only won because the tournament had been staged on home soil. It was an argument Italy emphatically refuted four years later. Led by the dangerous duo of Giovanni Ferrari and Giuseppe Meazza, and guided by legendary manager Vittorio Pozzo, Italy became the first nation to win back-to-back World Cup titles.