Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970)
The Brazil national football team nicknamed Seleção Canarinho, represents Brazil in men’s international football and is administered by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), the governing body for football in Brazil. They have been a member of FIFA since 1923 and a member of CONMEBOL since 1916.
Brazil is the most successful national team in the FIFA World Cup, being crowned winner five times: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. The Seleção also has the best overall performance in the World Cup competition, both in proportional and absolute terms, with a record of 73 victories in 109 matches played, 124 goal difference, 237 points, and 18 losses. It is the only national team to have played in all World Cup editions without any absence nor need for playoffs,and the only team to have won the World Cup on four different continents: once in Europe (1958 Sweden), once in South America (1962 Chile), twice in North America (1970 Mexico and 1994 United States), and once in Asia (2002 Korea/Japan). Brazil is also the most successful team in the now-defunct FIFA Confederations Cup, winning it four times, in 1997, 2005, 2009, and 2013.
In relation to ranking standings Brazil fare well, having the highest average football Elo rating, and the fourth all-time peak football Elo rating, established in 1962. In FIFA’s ranking system Brazil holds the record for most Team of the Year first ranking wins with 12. Many commentators, experts, and former players have considered the Brazil team of 1970 to be the greatest football team ever. Other Brazilian teams are also highly estimated and regularly appear listed among the best teams of all time, such as the Brazil teams of 1958–62 and the squads of the 1994-02 period, with honorary mentions for the gifted 1982 side. In 1996, the Brazilian national team achieved 35 consecutive matches undefeated, a feat which they held as a world record for 25 years.
Brazil has developed many rivalries through the years, with the most notable ones being with Argentina—known as the Superclássico das Américas in Portuguese, Italy—known as the Clássico Mundial in Portuguese or the World Derby in English, Uruguay due to the traumatic Maracanazo, France due to the fact that they usually have difficulties against France in World Cups, the Netherlands due to several important meetings between the two teams at several World Cups, and the style of play of the two teams being considered similar, with the Netherlands being considered by some to be the Brazil of Europe and Portugal due to shared cultural traits and heritage, as well as the large number of Brazilian-born players in Portugal.
Uruguay (1930, 1950)
The Uruguay national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Uruguay) represents Uruguay in international football, and is controlled by the Uruguayan Football Association, the governing body for football in Uruguay. The Uruguayan team is commonly referred to as La Celeste (The Sky Blue).
Uruguay has won the Copa América 15 times. They are tied with Argentina for the most titles in the history of the tournament. Uruguay won their most recent title in 2011. Additionally, Uruguay are the holders of four FIFA World Championships: The team has won the FIFA World Cup twice, including the first World Cup in 1930 as hosts, defeating Argentina 4–2 in the final. Their second title came in 1950, upsetting host Brazil 2–1 in the final match, which had the highest attendance for a football match ever. Uruguay has also won gold medals at the Olympic football tournament twice, in 1924 and 1928. The gold medals received at the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics are recognized by FIFA as senior FIFA World Championships.
Italy (1934, 1938)
The Italy national football team has represented Italy in international football since its first match in 1910. The national team is controlled by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the governing body for football in Italy, which is a co-founder and member of UEFA. Italy’s home matches are played at various stadiums throughout Italy, and its primary training ground and technical headquarters, Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano, is located in Florence. Italy are the reigning European champions, having won UEFA Euro 2020.
Italy is one of the most successful national teams in the history of football and the World Cup, having won four titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) and appearing in two other finals (1970, 1994), reaching a third place (1990) and a fourth place (1978). Italy also won two European Championships (1968, 2020), and appeared in two other finals of the tournament (2000, 2012). Italy’s team also achieved a second place at the CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions in 2022, and a third place at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013 and at the UEFA Nations League in 2021.
The team is known as gli Azzurri (the Blues), because Savoy blue is the common colour of the national teams representing Italy, as it is the traditional paint of the royal House of Savoy, which reigned over the Kingdom of Italy. In 1938, Italy became the first team to defend its World Cup title, and due to the outbreak of World War II, retained the title for a further 12 years. Italy had also previously won two Central European International Cups (1927–30, 1933–35). Between its first two World Cup victories, Italy won the Olympic football tournament (1936). After the majority of the team was killed in a plane crash in 1949, Italy obtained poor results in the 1950s, even failing to qualify for the 1958 World Cup. Failure to qualify for the World Cup did not happen again until the consecutive editions of 2018 and 2022. The team was unbeaten from October 2018 to October 2021, and holds the world record for most consecutive matches without defeat.
Italy has notable rivalries with other footballing nations, such as Brazil, Croatia, France, Germany and Spain. In the FIFA World Rankings, in force since August 1993, Italy has occupied the first place several times, in November 1993 and during 2007 (February, April–June, September), with its worst placement in August 2018 in 21st place.
West Germany – 1954
The Germany national football team represents Germany in men’s international football and played its first match in 1908. The team is governed by the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund), founded in 1900.Between 1949 and 1990, separate German national teams were recognised by FIFA due to Allied occupation and division: the DFB’s team representing the Federal Republic of Germany (commonly referred to as West Germany in English between 1949 and 1990), the Saarland team representing the Saar Protectorate (1950–1956) and the East Germany team representing the German Democratic Republic (1952–1990). The latter two were absorbed along with their records the present team represents the reunified Federal Republic. The official name and code “Germany FR (FRG)” was shortened to “Germany (GER)” following reunification in 1990.
Germany is one of the most successful national teams in international competitions, having won four World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996), and one Confederations Cup (2017). They have also been runners-up three times in the European Championships, four times in the World Cup, and a further four third-place finishes at World Cups. East Germany won Olympic Gold in 1976. Germany is the only nation to have won both the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. At the end of the 2014 World Cup, Germany earned the second highest Elo rating of any national football team in history, with 2,223 points. Germany is also the only European nation that has won a FIFA World Cup in the Americas.
On 1 August 2021, Hansi Flick became head coach of the team, after Joachim Löw announced that he would step down after UEFA Euro 2020.
England – 1966
The England national football team has represented England in international football since the first international match in 1872. It is controlled by The Football Association (FA), the governing body for football in England, which is affiliated with UEFA and comes under the global jurisdiction of world football’s governing body FIFA. England competes in the three major international tournaments contested by European nations: the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championship, and the UEFA Nations League.
England is the joint oldest national team in football. It played in the world’s first international football match in 1872, against Scotland. England’s home ground is Wembley Stadium, London, and its training headquarters is St George’s Park, Burton upon Trent. The team’s manager is Gareth Southgate.
England is one of eight nations to have won the World Cup. England has qualified for the World Cup 16 times. It won the 1966 World Cup Final, a tournament it also hosted, and finished fourth in both 1990 and 2018. England has never won the European Championship, with its best performance to date being runners-up in 2020. As a constituent country of the United Kingdom, England is not a member of the International Olympic Committee and so does not compete at the Olympic Games. England is currently the only team to have won the World Cup at senior level, but not their major continental title, and the only non-sovereign entity to have won the World Cup.