The history of football is abundant with legendary teams that have demonstrated the artistry and the passion of this staggering game. When discussing the greatest football nations in the world, it’s hard to find a definitive answer because these kinds of debates are often based on a subjective point of view and fueled by bias.
However, by using simple numbers from various competitions, we have come up with a list that might put to bed the debate on who’s the greatest football nation. So, let’s take a closer look at the list.
Since the inaugural tournament in 1930, there have been 21 FIFA World Cups, and Brazil is the only team that didn’t miss a single World Cup. Only 8 teams have managed to earn the right to call themselves the World Champions, and Brazil has managed to accomplish this feat 5 times. In addition to the 5 world cups, they produced countless legendary players, like Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Kaka, Garrincha, Romario, and many, many others.
If we look at the historical numbers, Brazil is first in every relevant statistics. They are tied for the most finals appearances, have the most titles, and have always managed to qualify for the World Cup. Also, they play the most attractive, fast-paced football on the planet. Brazil’s swift, attacking style has destroyed many great teams, and 1970 Brazil team is widely recognized as the best football national team of all time, with Pele being universally regarded as the best footballer ever.
The German Football team, or the Nationalmannschaft, has always been one of the international powerhouses. They won 4 World Cup titles and qualified for 19 of 21 World Cup Tournaments. All German teams, including the ones from the post-war and Nazi era, have made it to the impressive 8 finals appearances. Also, they have the most first, second, and third places in FIFA World Cups.
Germany is arguably the most consistent football nation of all time – they won the World Cup in 4 different decades. Their teams rarely have a superstar player that carries the entire team, but they overcome their opponents with discipline and strategy. By dismantling Brazil 7–1 at the 2014 World Cup, Germany showed they are a football force to be reckoned with.
We sometimes focus too much on the World Cup titles argument when discussing the greatest football nation in the world. Argentina is one of the two nations (the other one being France) in the world that has won every major competition on a senior level. They won 2 World Cups, 15 Copa Americas, FIFA Confederations Cup and 2 Olympic gold medals.
Argentina produced many iconic players through local leagues – Maradona, Messi, Batistuta, and so on. Argentina’s national team has been consistent in terms of generational talent and overall performance in important competitions. Also, let’s not forget that they have 2 players that are regularly mentioned in the GOAT conversation.
This one has been a tough pick as many nations deserve to be at the fourth spot on the list. Uruguay, France, Spain, Portugal, England, Netherlands – they could all make a strong case for making the top 4 list. No disrespect to all of them, but Italy has been one of the greatest football force since the 1930s. Only a handful of countries could match their talent as Totti, Baggio, Maldini, Buffon, and others measure up even with the mighty Brazilians.