Fresh off winning yet another national soccer tournament, ‘La Roja’, Spain’s soccer team has put themselves into the argument of “best soccer team of all-time.” Since 2007, the Spanish have dominated the international game of soccer by going undefeated in qualifying rounds, winning the 2008 Euros, the 2010 World Cup, and now the 2012 Euros in Ukraine. No team had ever won consecutive Euro tournaments until now.
In the last four years, they have won nearly 92% of their meaningful games (not friendlies). And in those years, the starting roster and even the reserves have not been altered dramatically. Seven of the starters from 2012’s Euro Final were on the championship team that won the 2008 tournament as well.
Some may argue that Pele and his Brazilian teammates may have been the best team. But a German team from the 1970s gives Spain the biggest run for their money. As I said earlier, no team before Spain had won consecutive Euro cups, but if it wasn’t for the Germans losing on penalty kicks in 1976 to Czechoslovakia in the finals they may be tied with Spain. Their dynasty began in 1970 when the Germans were on the short end of the “Game of the Century” against a tough Italian team in the World Cup semifinals. After that, they won Euro title in ’72, the World Cup in ’74, and then the ’76 Euros where they loss to the Czechs. Between the loss to Italy and the loss to Czechoslovakia the Germans only lost one match in meaningful games. Their record was 18-1-8. In fact, the only loss they had was an intentional loss in World Cup group play to ensure that they would not play Brazil or the Netherlands in the next round.
After all of that I would still wager to say that Spain is the best soccer team of all time. That is due largely to the fact that I haven’t seen another team dominate soccer in my lifetime, except maybe Brazil. But is Spain the best team in sports of all-time? Are they better than Babe Ruth’s Yankees? Michael Jordan’s Bulls? Vince Lombardi’s Packers? John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins?
That is a tough question. All of those teams play together every year, almost every day. A national team does not play together nearly as often and only has competitions maybe twice a month until tournaments (which are about every two years or so). So comparing our best American sports teams to international squads is like comparing apples to oranges–or soccer balls to footballs.
For now I’ll just say that Spain, in my opinion, is the best soccer team of all-time.
Is there a better soccer team? Is there a better sports team? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.
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