The (http://forums.bigsoccer.com/threads/great-world-cup-teams-that-never-were.2005683/) thread got me thinking about great generations of footballers from countries. Some great generations did not get to play together and prove themselves on an international level for a variety of reasons. England's greatest generation of footballers did not get to play with one of their greatest contemporaries, Duncan Edwards, because of his early passing. Hungary's Golden Team, as powerful as its front line was, did not have all of its top attacking players available for selection because players abroad (Kubala, Nyers) were not included in the national team. Similar things occurred in Argentina in the 50s. I want to measure the quality of a generation by the total achievements of all the players in it, not just how well they performed together for the national team. For example the generation of English players in their primes in the late 1970s were major underachievers with the national team, but were major parts of English clubs dominating European Football. My goal here is to simply define a generation as a group of players born in the same country in a certain time period. The time period took a little tinkering. I first looked at players born within 5 years of one another but this was too small a time period, as my goal was to grab a group of players who played together or could have played together because of their similar ages. With a 5 year time period players like Hidegkuti and Puskas, who clearly were part of the same generation and played together for much of their career could not be in one generation (Hidegkuti born in 1922, Puskas born in 1927). I then moved the time period to 10 years which seemed a little to big and players who were not associated with one another or careers did not really overlap in a meaningful way could be grouped in one generation (Domingos da Guia 1912 and Zizinho 1921). I settled on 8 years as the time period to use and in general it works relatively well with the reality of players careers. Usually on one team an 8 year gap between players ages in the maximum you see unless one player is very young and the other as unusual longevity. I decided to strictly limit players to the country they were born in to limit confusion and grey areas. In theory we are looking for the best generations of players produced by a country or region. In some situations you have players move to a country at a very young age and you could still argue they were "produced" by the country they played for. Lillian Thruman moved to France at the age of 9 and most if not all of his football education and career was in France. Players like Eusebio or Coluna developed the early part of their careers abroad before moving to the country they were associated with in their late teens. They clearly were not developed in Portugal in my opinion. To eliminate grey areas like Lillian Thurman, and arguments about ethnicity (which by my definition has nothing to do with who produced a player, Thierry Henry and William Gallas were born in France so they were available for French generations) I simply used where the player was born to determine eligibility. This interpretation hurts a number of excellent footballing generations, largely the two mention earlier. France's World Cup winning generation loses Thruman, Desailly, Viera etc and Portugal's generation of the 60s loses Eusebio and Coluna. To make things simple for comparing generations of players across different time periods I have defined players by their roles not positions (http://forums.bigsoccer.com/threads...-function-not-position.2009089/#post-30813593). I have gone through each country and tried to identify their best generations. Then once that is complete it would be interesting to try to define the best generations among all countries.