All-Time XI Europe vs South America

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by Trachta10, Dec 6, 2021.


Which team do you think would win in a hypothetical match?

  1. Europe

  2. South America

  1. Trachta10

    Trachta10 Member+

    Apr 25, 2016
    CA Boca Juniors
    A Spanish journalist who I like to follow, Julio Maldini, present this All-Time XI for Europe and South America.

    I would like to ask the community what their thoughts are

    and which team do you think would win in a hypothetical match

  2. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    It's of course impossible to say, but I always like to try these things I suppose!

    His SA team has a kind of Harem Globetrotters feel to it I think! The European team is also attacking, but with a bit more structure in midfield arguably and solidity in defence probably (but a little less dribbling ability in attack and overall flair in midfield). I think a relatively high scoring game would be quite likely, theoretically, with those line-ups. Maybe 4-3 to South America, with Ramos bringing down Ronaldo Nazario for a last minute penalty winning goal or something like that!

    I think I would pick these line-ups...
    Europe - Christmas Tree 4-3-2-1 Lev Yashin; Manuel Amoros, Franco Baresi, Bobby Moore, Paolo Maldini; Michel Platini, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Charlton; George Best, Johan Cruyff; Marco van Basten
    South America - 4-2-3-1 Ubaldo Fillol; Cafu, Elias Figueroa, Daniel Passarella, Nilton Santos; Osvaldo Ardiles, Fernando Redondo; Lionel Messi, Pele, Diego Maradona; Ronaldo

    Still pretty attacking, but maybe I'd switch the prediction to 3-2 to Europe, in a slightly more 'normal' game in terms of the patterns of play (midfielders staying a bit deeper on average and building play for the forwards).
  3. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Thinking a bit more, I'd be tempted to put Carlos Alberto as right CB for SA, and move Figueroa to left CB. Possibly Di Stefano in midfield, maybe likewise as right CM, with Ardiles moved to left CM, but I'm not really sure - Di Stefano did normally play a more advanced role even if all over the pitch in effect often, and he liked things to go through him and also get on the end of moves (maybe that doesn't suit a 4-2-3-1 with Messi, Pele, Maradona ahead of him so well).

    For Europe, the changes that come to mind might be Zidane for Charlton, but switching with Cruyff, and Neeskens for Moore but switching with Beckenbauer. Maybe those could be substitutions more likely than amendments to the first XI though in theory, so the most likely change to either starting line-up could be bringing in Carlos Alberto.

    I think I'd tip my European side to edge his SA one, while still just about picking my SA team against his European one (although somehow with more doubt potentially, without quite the same attacking potential in the SA team as he had in his).
  4. Legolas10

    Legolas10 Member

    Real Madrid
    Jun 5, 2020
    South America Smashes them

    You think a team with Maradona , Pele , Messi and Di stefano is losing ? Lol
  5. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member+

    Aug 4, 2011
    I see too many alphas in the South American squad that may cause internal conflicts, and with mostly an entire frontline that lacks defensive abilities to work for the service of the team. The SA big names look impressive on paper, but seem too disconnected from reality if confronted by another option of Europe’s finest defenders. Even against that handicapped European side, they’d struggle especially if the venue were to be played, let’s say… in Amsterdam with Cruijff at the helm in his and the club’s apex. I don’t see them coming out alive. Their only chance would be in a South American venue with a pro-SA official calling the shots and perhaps with a dead ball deciding it!
    Legolas10 repped this.
  6. Legolas10

    Legolas10 Member

    Real Madrid
    Jun 5, 2020
    Yeah good point if you think that way . Very reasonable
    My post was if things go out smoothly and perfectly
  7. victorcalello38

    Feb 28, 2017
    Montevideo Wanderers FC
    Team A
    Vogts Rijkaard Baresi Maldini
    Matthaus Beckenbauer
    Puskas Platini Cruyff

    Team B
    Thuram Scirea Moore Fachetti
    Bozsik Xavi
    Platini Zidane Eusebio


    Team A
    DSantos Passarella Figueroa RCarlos
    Didi Monti
    Messi Pelé Maradona

    Team B
    JLAndrade Nasazzi Domingos NSantos
    Redondo Falcao
    Garrincha Zico Ronaldinho
    Buyo, Legolas10 and carlito86 repped this.
  8. General_Elegancia

    General_Elegancia New Member

    AC Milan
    Nov 22, 2021
    Both were probably unbalanced side,too muck attackers.
  9. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Arsenal FC
    Not a fan of these super-offensive not so balanced XI.

    I would say though, that the deeper we go, SA probably runs out of ATG-level defenders before the EU runs out of ATG-level attackers.

    SA probably has enough offensive talent to make like 10 really good teams, but their ATG-level defense is probably like 5 teams deep.
  10. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    I guess if Baresi had been in his Europe XI for example it might have been enough for me to sway towards them for my guesstimate, but I did think the setup of the European XI could make it somewhat of a shoot-out, end to end, game in theory, and while central midfield (and not in a 4-4-2 but as two anchor midfielders almost, though surely they'd play more box to box and arrive near the opponents goal quite a bit) wasn't really the position of Di Stefano or certainly Pele (who I think maybe could be over-estimated as a theoretical central midfielder, although surely on his best form he'd still offer a lot there...and I don't feel he is over-estimated as a number 10, whether we call it attacking midfielder or supporting forward....unless he is classed as an alien by some people or something!), in such a game which may have a kind of all-star exhibition flow to it then maybe they could achieve some control in central midfield, with probably superior ball retention skills compared to Eusebio and Charlton (but surely Best and Cruyff would offer more help defensively and in building attacks from deep areas compared to Maradona and Ronaldinho so that's why I felt the SA team was more of a Harlem Globetrotters XI too).

    Maybe I re-think the potential outcome of my own Europe XI vs my own SA XI though now: I think it could very easily go either way (over a series of games it probably would go back and forth I'd guess), and maybe I even do still give SA the edge. I think like poetgooner alluded to, the deeper we'd go (whichever players are picked) Europe should gradually get more and more of an advantage probably, but there are a lot more European nations obviously to be fair.

    If I stuck to a Christmas Tree maybe I'd have this as my Europe B (I've put Rijkaard rather than Neeskens even though I had Neeskens as potential option to come into Team A, because maybe Rijkaard offers a bit more defensively and could play a bit more as an anchor verging on enforcer in support of an otherwise attacking midfield: I'm a little bit undecided on whether I'd think Matthaus might go on the right side of the midfield 3 rather than Figo though too, with that in mind....and I'm half-tempted to take Platini and Charlton out of Team A just to give Team B more midfield scoring capability so Eusebio isn't the only prolific scorer lol, although that's not really valid even if as I alluded to before I could easily take Charlton out and put Zidane in anyway: maybe Hagi for Zidane in Team B is an option, or Hagi with Zidane moved right of centre so I'm pretty undecided even if sticking to a Christmas Tree!). Thuram might be unlucky to lose out to Amoros, and then Kaltz, because of the formation and wanting excellent providers in the right back position, to overlap when feasible and provide great service, primarily for Van Basten and Eusebio....not that I'd be thinking of mainly aerial attacks or anything in general!
    P.Schmeichel; Kaltz, Nesta, Scirea, Lizarazu; Figo, Rijkaard, Zidane; Savicevic, M.Laudrup; Eusebio (Savicevic and M.Laudrup might seem like favouritism but I think are good options for the free roaming attacking midfield/creative forward hybrid roles in this system, in their best form anyway)

    For South America B (who I also have very closely matched with my Europe B, with the edge moving very slightly towards Europe already maybe) I'll say this (if Carlos Alberto didn't go into Team A, although maybe that makes me doubt giving SA the edge for the first XI game in a way again as I think Passarella could be a bit exposed on the defensive side by the pace and skills of Best, Cruyff and Van Basten), if sticking to a 4-2-3-1 and being relatively conservative with the midfield so as to give a solid but constructive platform for the front 4 again (though not as much goalscoring potential or creativity from midfield as there could be)
    Gilmar; Carlos Alberto, Nasazzi, Santamaria, Marzolini; Zito, Varela; Garrincha, Di Stefano, Ronaldinho; Romario

    So I have picked in the first two XIs for Europe 4 French players, 4 Italians, 3 Dutch (either way with Rijkaard or Neeskens in Team B), 2 Germans, 2 English, 2 Danes, 2 Portuguese, 1 Northern Irish, 1 Russian and 1 from Yugoslavia (Montenegro). For South America, it's a bit less multi-national with 10 Brazilians, 8 from Argentina, 3 Uruguayans and 1 from Chile.

    I don't know what B teams Julio would pick (it wouldn't surprise me if he had a Spanish core involving Xavi and maybe Iniesta for Europe, judging by how highly he placed them IIRC in his all-time player lists), but he's used a lot of the top-line attacking/creative stars in Team A for South America, so couldn't have half of them in Team B to build a team around now, and therefore I guess I'd be more likely to favour his Europe B over his South America B for that reason too (although hard to know of course).
    Trachta10 repped this.
  11. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

    Mar 8, 2009
    Nottingham Forest FC
    #11 PDG1978, Dec 8, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
    I guess Ronaldinho could have some joy vs Kaltz though (so maybe Thuram could be a better option from that point of view, not that a 100% Ronaldinho couldn't lead him a bit of a dance and create some great openings from the left still anyway), so I'm probably still close to 50/50 on Europe B vs South America B (with my own choices) too! Nesta might be able to cover well, but he's got Romario to keep an eye on in theory, and an advancing Di Stefano if Rijkaard isn't managing to contain and track him. I guess the B team game could also be fairly high scoring again!

    Nasazzi is maybe my most uncertain pick (just seeing brief footage of him in action and knowing his reputation), but it seemed like him predominantly sweeping behind Santamaria in effect (but to Santamaria's right in a back 4) might be a good combo. Otherwise Aldair might be in my 2nd XI for SA actually. I didn't take a similar punt on Gyorgy Sarosi in my Europe B defence for example, but who knows whether he'd be a worth a place there...or in midfield...or in attack (most of the brief footage I've seen is of him scoring goals; whether he could take Savicevic's place and still provide good creativity as well as great scoring potential in an all-time match-up is a bit hard to say, but he was quick it seems as well as reasonably skillful).
  12. Edhardy

    Edhardy Member+

    Sep 4, 2013
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Juventus FC
    S.A XI; 3-3-3-1

    -----------Di Stefano

    Euro XI; 4-3-3
    ---------------Van Basten

    I think the SA XI could suffer a bit from "too many cooks" and players that want ball to feet and orchestrate, but it's hard to leave any of the "Big 4" and they could also play well in combination most times. The Euro XI looks more balanced but I can also see a situation where Ronaldo, Van Basten and Puskas attack the same balls. Generally there's more paths to victory for my European side I feel but the individual brilliance of the South American side could well win it.
    Buyo repped this.
  13. Perú FC

    Perú FC Member+

    Nov 16, 2007
    Lima, Perú
    As several mention, the initial problem is the tactical dispositions. Evidently, Maldini made his selections based on collecting the most prominent stars for him and approaches it from that perspective, but here it's very difficult to compare without some tactical rigor.

    We'd have to reorder them in a more "realistic" way and perhaps try to make the formations have a certain similarity to make the comparison more digestible and show how well they fulfill each role and its variants.

    This would be my attempt that way:

    Both with 4-2-1-3 that try to balanced and not cram all of attacking-stars, but also trying to include the biggest all-timers and at the same time match players in the same positions.

    In theory, this "stellar" duel I think looks very contested. It would be difficult for me to determine a very obvious advantage over the other.

    How about a B teams duel?

    Up to here, there is still battle.

    And how about a C teams duel?

    And finally how about a D teams duel with different systems?

    When is the depth lost?

    victorcalello38 repped this.
  14. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #14 PuckVanHeel, Dec 10, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2021
    Professor folks like Peru FC (with his typical anti Holland inclinations; somehow in his world southern Germany has produced several great players in the last 25 years and Holland none - classic) need to grow a sense of reality.

    South America has a population much smaller than Europe. In bygone decades this was stronger the case than now.

    Around 1970 Europe had a population around 650 million and South America 190 million.

    South America (esp. Brazil) made up some ground with their sports science and bending of FIFA (so that Garrincha could play the final).

    In recent times the population gap has declined enormously, while Europe has become a grey continent.

    But if you take away the Mountain of Messi, there is no way a parity will be seen.

    Three of the best players of the last 15-20 years are South American, based on data and competition level: Messi, Neymar, Suarez.

    The other nine are European. That the best of them all is South American doesn't change the pattern.

    Also look at the top 30 of the historical elo ratings:ón_Elo_del_fútbol_mundial#Puntuaciones_promedio_más_altas_desde_1970
  15. wm442433

    wm442433 Member+

    Sep 19, 2014
    FC Nantes
    South America should play like Brazil '02. 3-5-2, 5-3-2 or whatever it is.
  16. Isaías Silva Serafim

    Real Madrid
    Dec 2, 2021
    Nat'l Team:
    In the journalist's respective selections, my one-on-one would be:

    Casillas > Marzukiewicz
    Thuram < Cafu
    Beckenbauer > Figueroa
    Ramos > Passarella
    Maldini > Roberto Carlos
    Eusébio < Di Stefano
    Charlton < Pelé
    Best < Maradona
    Cruijff > Ronaldinho
    Van Basten < Messi
    CR7 > R9

    6x5 for Europe
  17. Trachta10

    Trachta10 Member+

    Apr 25, 2016
    CA Boca Juniors
  18. Perú FC

    Perú FC Member+

    Nov 16, 2007
    Lima, Perú
    Talking about sense of reality... :thumbsdown:
  19. DanielDutra

    DanielDutra New Member

    Dec 1, 2020
    My South American Team (Note I prefer Di Stefano in the Spanish national team, outside Brazil some big names don't have as much recognition as Leandro who for most older experts is one of the great full-backs in Brazil and in history)

    TEAM 1
    Djalma Santos

    TEAM 2

    TEAM 3
    Amadeo Carrizo
    Oscar Ruggeri
    Jose Leandro Andrade
    Teofilo Cubillas

    TEAM 4
    Cafu or Javier Zanetti
    Luis Pereira
    Nasazzi or Mauro
    Arsenio Erico
  20. Isaías Silva Serafim

    Real Madrid
    Dec 2, 2021
    Nat'l Team:
    @DanielDutra I think Neymar is very underrated. You put R10 on the first team right? See the numbers of Neymar and R10 in peak.

    R10 05/06 (League+Champions)
    41 games
    24 goals
    18 assists
    76 shots on target
    4.8 dribbles p90

    Neymar 17/18 (League+Champions)
    27 games
    25 goals
    17 assists
    52 shots on target
    7.2 dribles p90

    Neymar produced the same numbers as R10 playing practically half of the games. Not counting the dribbling average. R10 only dribbles 3 more with 14 games more.
  21. DanielDutra

    DanielDutra New Member

    Dec 1, 2020

    I think Neymar was from another time, a time when players have higher goal averages, Ronaldinho was more creative than Neymar, Ronaldinho had a much greater representation in football, being one of the few compared to great stars like Pelé and Maradona, the notes and individual evaluations Ronaldinho's are also larger than Neymar's, using as an example the weekly ESM awards given by major European magazines such as Kicker, World Soccer and others.

    Ronaldinho has one of the best ratings
    Edhardy repped this.
  22. DanielDutra

    DanielDutra New Member

    Dec 1, 2020

    I do not know if he followed Ronaldinho , but he was not like Neymar , Ronaldinho played from the Left End too but he was very midfield , he did not go up as much as Neymar preferred to set up plays like Zidane or Iniesta for example , if you look at numbers only From Bruyne would be better than Zidane too , De Bruyne has more goals and more assists than Zidane for several years , football was different at the time of Ronaldinho and Zidane Ronaldinho in this video does not go up at any time, Neymar would normally go up

    Não sei se chegou a acompanhar o Ronaldinho , mas ele não era igual o Neymar , Ronaldinho jogava de Ponta Esquerda também porém era muito meio campo , não subia tanto igual o Neymar preferia armar jogadas como Zidane ou Iniesta por exemplo , se olhar números somentes De Bruyne seria melhor que o Zidane também , De Bruyne tem mais gols e mais assistencias doque o Zidane já a vários anos , o futebol era diferente na época de Ronaldinho e Zidane
    Ronaldinho nesse video não sobe em nenhum momento , Neymar normalmente subiria
  23. Isaías Silva Serafim

    Real Madrid
    Dec 2, 2021
    Nat'l Team:
    @DanielDutra Neymar went up a lot at the time of Barcelona. The numbers I quoted are from his first season at PSG. At PSG he became a playmaker like Messi at Barcelona. You can see from the heatmap.

    Here's a more detailed breakdown of the numbers:

    Neymar 17/18
    Ligue 1
    Games: 20
    Goals: 19
    Assists: 13
    Big Chances Created: 22
    Key passes per game: 3.6
    Dribbles per game: 7.1

    World Cup 18
    Games: 5
    Goals: 2
    Assists: 1
    Big Chances Created: 2
    Key passes: 4.6
    Dribbles per game: 4.4

    Games: 7
    Goals: 6
    Assists: 3
    Big Chances Created: 6
    Key passes per game: 3.4
    Dribbles per game: 7.3

    Games: 32
    Goals: 27
    Assists: 17
    Big Chances Created: 30
    Key passes per game: 3.7
    Dribbles per game: 6.7

    And I'm not just looking at numbers. Neymar he set up the game as much as Ronaldinho with the same plastic in the dribbles and being more goalscorer.

    Neymar was better at his peak and for longer than Ronaldinho. The only thing that counts in favor of Ronaldinho are the achievements since he won the world cup and that has a huge weight
  24. DanielDutra

    DanielDutra New Member

    Dec 1, 2020
    As I said just above , in my opinion comparing players of different styles , from different times with numbers , I think it is not possible , as I used the example of Zidane and De Bruyne , for many years De Bruyne as well as several current players have better numbers than the older ones , the highest goal averages are all of the recent players , in the game by game evaluations Ronaldinho was well above Neymar , now my opinion , but if you use that argument of numbers , then De Bruyne is better than Zidane , for those who followed Ronaldinho at his peak , Ronaldinho 's impact was one of the greatest in history , with very high scores , now in my opinion , Neymar is a great player but for me in this decade below Cristiano , Messi , Iniesta and Xavi , playing with Lewandowski , Robben and Ibrahimovic , in my opinion , and the World Cup I don't put that much weight , it's only 3 to 7 games every 4 years
  25. DanielDutra

    DanielDutra New Member

    Dec 1, 2020

    And another question on top , when Neymar played for Barcelona he played alongside Luis Suarez and Messi at his peak , against Ronaldinho who played alongside Giuly and Etoo , they are different times when the average goals and assists were lower , it was common clubs often play with 2 forwards instead of 3 , Ronaldinho is not Neymar , both are dribblers but Neymar is incisive , Ronaldinho is a point guard , and emphasizing De Bruyne then is better than Zidane for having better numbers and averages than Zidane a long time
    Regarding history, not numbers, Ronaldinho's evaluations and impact were much higher

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