1950 World XI (by Dr. Friedebert Becker)

Discussion in 'Soccer History' started by Gregoriak, May 7, 2016.

  1. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #1 Gregoriak, May 7, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
    The following is a translation of an article by Dr. Friedebert Becker (1907-1984) on the best players of the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. To be found in issue 31 (August 2, 1950) of "Sport-Magazin".

    This is how a world team may look like
    Could our Fritz Walter have been part of them? A symbolic mind game by Dr. Friedebert Becker

    We know very well that lining up world teams is a mind game. A team created in the mind would in reality might well lose to a team of unknowns, an average yet well-atuned team. Football is becoming more and more an organisational gear box in which, to be sure, still personalities dictate, yet whose individual parts more and more subordinate to "team work".

    If the Italians ….
    Nevertheless a "lineup" of a world eleven is taking shape in the observer’s mind. One would like to make a symbolic compliment to those players who managed to play a sublime role – within the frame of their team. Creating such a conceptual world team gets all the more difficult because all comparisons between different games are relative, the form of some individual players fluctuated a lot and the best players of teams that were only noticed marginally on the sidelines could not be factored in such a mind game. If, for example, Italy had reached the finals, surely one or two of the old world champions would have to be factored in. Thus we have to constrain the selection to those who were in the center of attention of the events in Rio.

    Andrade actually a full back
    Another thing makes such a lineup difficult: the diversity of "systems". It showed however that the South Americans, who are officially still playing with a "offensive center half" in reality have long since played with a modern WM via the detour of the lopsided half back line, as I have described in previous reports. Brazil and Uruguay, too, operate with three defenders (of which one is officially lined up as a "side half back") and with only two true half backs (of which one is not called side half back but center half). It would thus be correct to label for example Andrade, the magnificent defensive side half back of the world champions as a full back since his way of playing hardly differs from that of a German or English full back. But since this is a mere mind game, and because 'world teams' are being created also in South America, where our attempt at creating a world team will be noticed, we will use the official terms used on papers and thus label Andrade as a half back, whilst in reality he is a full back.

    With Brazilian inside trio

    And now our bold attempt: the names are already familiar to readers of "Sport-Magazin":





    Undeservedly, a little bit coming off poorly are the European champion Sweden and Spain who despite their defeats left the strongest impression of the European teams in Rio. On several positions especially Spanish players would be among the closest selection of players, but they have the bad luck that in those positions we saw superior competitors who surpassed them. We think especially about the magnificent outside right [note: name not given], we think about their center forward Zarra and the right half Gonzalvo, who as good as neutralized Jair. Also the young goalkeeper Ramallets, who in a wonderful way after his overnight meteoric rise is equal to Maspoli, he even surpasses him in terms of elegance and jumping power. We only preferred Maspoli because of his success of having withstood the Brazilian forwards.

    Thus the line up of substitutions would look like this:

    Goalkeepers: Ramallets (Spain), Livingstone (Chile), Borghi (USA), Williams (England)
    Full Backs: Augusto (Brazil), Nilsson (Sweden), Horvath (Yugoslavia), Tejera (Uruguay), Gonzalvo II (Spain)
    Half Backs: Andersson (Sweden), Gonzalvo III (Spain), Dickinson (England), Bauer (Brazil), Cajkovski (Yugoslavia), Ely (Brazil, despite only playing one game)
    Center Halves respectively Stoppers: Hughes (England), Nordahl (Sweden), Danilo (Brazil), Ochoa (Mexico)
    Outside Rights: Basora (Spain), Matthews (England)
    Inside Rights: Igoa (Spain), Bobek (Yugoslavia), Perrez (Uruguay), Palmer (Sweden)
    Center Forwards: Zarra (Spain), Tomasevic (Yugoslavia), Robledo (Chile), Baltazar (Brazil, despite only playing one game)
    Inside Lefts: Mitic (Yugoslavia), Munoz (Chile), Schiaffino (Uruguay), Skoglund (Sweden), Gaetjens (USA)
    Outside Lefts: Finney (England), Diaz (Chile)

    How superb the outside forwards played
    One striking feature of the World Cup in general was that the forwards were much stronger than the defenders. It was much more difficult finding candidates for the world team in defense than it was for the offense, where a number of candidates were nearly equal like for example the two outside rights Ghiggia (the Uruguayan wonder forward, who brought about the decision) and Basora of Spain, the two outside lefts Gainza (Spain) and Finney (England), the center forwards Zarra of Spain and Ademir of Brazil. The by far strongest offense, despite weaker wingers, was that of Brazil, whose inside trio is beyond compare, the best wingers were the Spanish ones, the best half backs those of England.

    Fritz Walter and Streitle?
    Full of impatience the German readers now anticipate our answer to the question whether Fritz Walter could hold his own in such illustrious company? And since all of this is just a mere mind game, we can answer this straightforwardly: yes! Admittedly, we think of a Fritz Walter of the freshness, the vitality and the sparkling playfulness of his peak form, not in his form crisis of recent months, that goes without saying. And if we talk about peak form, there might be a second German player who could play a role even in the unusually high level of this World Cup: Streitle of Munich, especially since in the whole of the tournament there was no really outstanding center half respectively stopper and even Varela of Uruguay did not have a notably higher level than his competitors.

    Triumvirate: Zizinho-Ghiggia-Ademir
    Eventually a neutral critic might be tempted to create a "ranking order of the best players", likewise only a theoretical exercise like the world team. Such a ranking would probably begin with three names:

    Zizinho (Brazil)
    Ghiggia (Uruguay)
    Ademir (Brazil)

    Of the Europeans the following players would come closest to this triumvirate:

    Goinga* (Spain)
    Andersson (Sweden)
    Wright (England)
    Finney (England)
    Ramallets (Spain)
    Mitic (Yugoslavia)
    Basora (Spain)
    Skoglund (Sweden)

    As one can see with the exception of one goalkeeper, only forwards and (offensive) side half backs.

    The newspaper "Mundo Esportivo" has come up with the following "world team", which does not differ a lot from our team:
    Barbosa – Gonzalez, Juvenal – Bauer, Varela, Andrade – Ghiggia, Zizinho, Ademir, Mitic, Finney.

    As substitutions the Brazil newspaper offers:
    Maspoli – Ramsey (!), Nilsson – Cajkovski, Danilo, Bigode – Basora, Perrez, Zarra, Skoglund, Gainza.

    On the topic that we all care about the most: what can Germany learn from the Rio event, how would Germany have fared with its current and with its former national team? All about that in the next issue!

    * = I didn't find a player with the name "Goinga" in the Spanish roster so I guess he might have spelled "Gainza" wrongly there

    AD78, Raute, peterhrt and 4 others repped this.
  2. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Perú FC repped this.
  3. Di Pecruydona

    Di Pecruydona Member

    Nov 12, 2013
    MSV Duisburg
    Nat'l Team:
    Is this Gunnar Nordahl or anyone else, i was just wondering about the position?:confused:
  4. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I think it's his brother IIRC.

    He couldn't take part himself after his transfer to AC Milan, and the Swedish selection policy at that time.
    Di Pecruydona repped this.
  5. Perú FC

    Perú FC Member+

    Nov 16, 2007
    Lima, Perú
    Knut Nordahl
  6. SVilarino

    SVilarino New Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    Vermont, Chile, Galiza.
    Real Madrid
    I love how high the Brazilians rated Rajko Mitic. Even over their own Jair (certainly one of the starts of that World Cup).

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