FIFA World Cup : who’s the greatest amongst all ?

To millions of people across the world, the FIFA World Cup is perhaps rated as one of the greatest shows on earth. It has its own quota of romanticism, it has its own ups and downs and yet, the one month-long festival of the “joga bonito” seems to be eagerly awaited by the football crazy fans. Much before the world cup actually starts, the debates often gets heated on the question of “who’s the greatest amongst all countries” ? And coming from a city who is engulfed in either Brazil or Argentina, to have a sane and logical discussion turns out to be next to impossible. When emotions and passion reign high and strong over the logical mind, who cares to evaluate the facts !!

So, let’s evaluate the world cup finals for last 12 world cups – starting from 1970 till date (which will be 2014 world cup). Maybe a period of last ~50 years should indicate a fair bit of time to get evaluated upon. The other good reason being 12 is one of my favourite numbers – so better stick to that. The style of football has changed dramatically in these 48 years and so has the world cup. From a 16 team world cup back in 1970, now the 32 team world cup running from 1998 has been a long journey which probably has increased the toughness of the competition.

The methodology that I have followed to arrive at the conclusion of the best country ever is to first note the first four of each world cup (as I believe that getting into the semi-finals in a world cup is a great achievement that needs to be applauded) and assign scoring points between 4 to 1 – the champions gets 4 points, runners-up gets 3 points, 3rd place gets 2 points and the 4th placed team gets 1 point. Add the points up and voila ! you get a clear indication who gets the crown !!

Some startling facts comes up which shows very few countries have dominated world football actually when it comes to representing country (and not club):

Only 17 unique countries have actually gone into the semi-finals in the last 12 world cups. This is in-spite of football being pursued passionately by so many countries. Probably an introspection is needed why only 17 countries reach that stage and maybe 200+ countries fail to reach there ?

Again more astonishing is that out of these 17 countries, only 6 unique countries have been champions. So, effectively we are saying that 6 countries rule the world in FIFA world cups !!


Now hold your breath ! Here comes the top 4:

  • In the 4th place is Argentina with a score of 14 – the land of many greats like Kempes, Maradona, Messi, etc. It’s to be seen whether they can pursue their dream this year. However, if they win this year’s world cup, they can potentially climb upto the 3rd place
  • Coming 3rd is Italy with a score of 17. Their tradition and contribution to football has been immense, but in recent times, they are in a downhill mode. It’s quite surprising to see that they could not even qualify to the 2018 world cup
  • Not very far from Italy is Brazil in the 2nd place with a score of 19. They are always one of the favourites in all world cups – but have disappointed in many years. This year again, the hype of Brazil is growing and it remains to be seen whether Neymar and his team can lift the cup
  • The clear winner and the champions in this scoring mechanism is Germany and they lead by quite a margin with the score of 27 points. It’s a team which rarely has big super-stars but plays like a team without depending upon individual brilliance. Add to that the professionalism, the fierce strategy work and calmness.
    The German team has been the best team in modern day football – 3 times champions, 3 times runners-up, 3 times in third place – all out of the last 12 world cups !! Salute !!

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