Ruud Doevendans has been an official columnist for a Dutch club and owns one of the largest
collections of soccer videos containing hundreds of World Cup matches. We at PWC are proud to have him as
a columnist. He will share his views about the past, present and future of
the World Cup.
Read earlier columns
Book review: "The all-time World Cup"
Did you ever wonder whether Paolo Maldini would stand against Garrincha?
Could Gabriel Batistuta have scored against Lev Yashin? How would the famous
Dutch midfielders Rijkaard, Neeskens and Van Hanegem have done against the
Germans Matthäus, Walter and Overath? Could Kopa, Zidane and Platini have
fitted into one team?
Great news for you! Englishman David Brooks, a commodities journalist by
trade, has written a very, very nice book called “The all-time World Cup”.
He took the 16 strongest nations in the history of the World Cup (although
the inclusion of Scotland and the Republic of Ireland may be a bit
commercial), and put together all their best players ever into one squad.
These teams play each other in a classic World Cup format: four groups with
four teams each, subsequently quarter finals, semi finals, a 3rd place
play-off. And this great All Time World Cup ends with the big final
between.....no, I’m not going to tell.
The way in which David Brooks has made this book, is more than an
enumeration of matches, a detailed description of the goals, saves and
misses. He tells how the national team managers selected their squads,
weighing up one player against the other. There are profiles of the world’s
leading players and he describes the biggest matches that have taken place
in past World Cups. David gives us head-to-head comparisons from the teams
that make the quarter finals as well as his list of the 100 best players
ever, which looks very legitimate. There is a lot behind this project. David
for instance didn’t choose just to make teams with the best individuals (you
won’t find a Garrincha-Zico-Didi-Rivelino midfield, for instance) but tried
to compile balanced teams, containing enough defenders and ballwinners. It
only makes the story more credible. Still he succeeded in bringing as many
big stars as possible to the scene.
And he may have found it difficult to
choose from all Brazilian superstrikers, and the great bunch of world-class
defenders that Italy has had. Who would be in your team? Ronaldo or Romario,
Tostao or Ademir? Would you take Paolo Maldini as your Italian leftback, or
still go for Facchetti? Rivera as their playmaker, Sandro Mazzola or even
his father Valentino? David took a bit from everything, sometimes changing
the line-ups during the tournament. With the current rotating system going
around, it doesn’t feel strange at all. “The all-time World Cup” is not only
nice to read, but it also puts you in the shoes of the great managers, with
all their possiblities and problems. And who wouldn’t like to be in the
position of Mario Zagallo, Vittorio Pozzo or Cesar Menotti? Remember it’s
all fiction, but then again....the idea is so great. It brings Duncan
Edwards together with Bobby Charlton again, it bundles up a Uruguyan central
defence formed by Nasazzi and Santamaria. For this event, Johan Cruijff,
Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten together take on an Argentinian back-four
containing Olguin, Ruggeri, Passarella and Marzolini. Simply divine!
Are there no negative comments to make? Of course, with any book there are.
But they are minor this time. Like I mentioned before, it’s hard to imagine
Scotland and the Republic of Ireland among the 16 strongest football nations
in World Cup history (respectively 22nd and 36th on the all-time ranking).
Although a Scottish attack with Dalglish, Law and Alan Morton as well as
Ireland’s midfield with Giles, Keane and Brady is worth the world stage
every inch. I would like to have seen the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia
included, since they participated as one country for most of the history of
the World Cup. And not without success. Both can field superb all-time
teams. David chose another format, included for instance Russia but without
the great Ukrainians (Blokhine, Shevchenko) and Georgians (Chivadze,
Kipiani). He could have added yet a bit more of reality by including
referees, and yellow and red cards. Elements that just belong to football.
Still, this is a book very much worth reading and it should be in every
soccerfan’s bookshelf. It gives you a great insight in football history.
David is a man with a great knowledge of the game, he has a compelling style
of writing and he manages to tell about the matches in a way that you see it
happen before your eyes. And the idea of having players from totally
different eras play with and against each other is simply tempting. A
phrase from the France-Spain match, played in group 2, tells it all:
“Platini, Kopa and Zidane picked their way through the Spanish defence, and
it took a classic performance from Zamora to keep things decent.” How would
you like that? You know it is not real, but at least it feels like it’s
real. Your imagination does the rest.
Info on how
the World Cup was founded and about the trophy as well.
on every match in every tournament.
Interesting columns about the past, present and future of the World Cup.
with appearances in the World Cup. Detailed info on every country.
of many of the most influential players in history.
An A-Z collection
of strange and different stories in World Cup history.
A big collection
of various statistics and records.
since it was introduced in 1966.
knowledge about the WC. Three different levels. No prizes, just for fun.
lots of stuff. For instance Best Goals, Best Players and Best Matches.
of links to other soccer sites with World Cup connection.
and buttons for you to link to us if you want.
A little information
on who keeps this site available.