Thursday, April 8, 2010

The List - Top 10 most entertaining teams in the history


10 Barbarians - any era

The Barbarians, a dream of one man - William Percy Carpmael. Inspired by playing experiences with Blackheath and Cambridge University, his dream was to spread good fellowship among all rugby football players and to promote the virtues he saw in the game - flair, courage, spirit and passion.
The dream became reality in 1890 at Friary Field, Hartlepool and remains to this day.
The spirit of the team was encapsulated in 1973 against the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park when Gareth Edwards crossed the line to score the most famous of tries after a wonderful flowing move. 
VIDEO: Brilliant! Oh, that's brilliant!

Tottenham captain Danny Blanchflower holds the FA Cup aloft
Style and substance: Tottenham captain Danny Blanchflower holds the 1961 FA Cup aloft

9 Tottenham 1961

Tottenham's Double season was the first time a club had achieved the league and cup feat that century.
But there was more to their achievement than just the two trophies - it was the way they won them. They won the league, by a margin of eight points, with style. 
The team managed by the great Bill Nicholson, captained by Danny Blanchflower and graced with mercurial talent such as the flying Welshman Cliff Jones and Ted Dyson, the Lillywhites were a joy to watch.

8 Wigan Rugby League 1988-1995

There’s dominating a sport and then there’s the Wigan side which held a vice-like grip over Rugby League in this country between 1988-1995. 
They won the Challenge Cup eight seasons in a row, they also won the Championship seven times, League Cup four times, Premiership Trophy three times, Charity Shield twice and three World Club Championships.
Jason Robinson (left) looks on as Shaun Edwards (centre left) and Martin Offiah (centre right) celebrate yet another Wigan trophy win
What a team: Jason Robinson (left) looks on as Shaun Edwards (centre left) and Martin Offiah (centre right) celebrate yet another Wigan trophy win

7 Ajax 1972

It’s strange to think that there were fears for the club after the departure of Rinus Michels as the club’s coach in 1971. But the new boss Stefan Kovacs kept up the trophy haul: they were Dutch champions, Dutch Cup winners, European Cup winners and European Super Cup winners. Which comes as no surprise, with a team that boasted the likes of Johan Neeskens, Arie Haan and, of course, Johann Cruyff.  
VIDEO: Total football ...

6 All Blacks 1995

The record will show that it was South Africa, not New Zealand who were victorious at the 1996 World Cup, but there’s no doubt who the best team were. Joel Stransky, the former South African fly-half named has the All Blacks side of that era as ‘the most complete team in Rugby World Cup history.’ Winger Jonah Lomu steamrolled his way through many sides, including that famous demolition of the England backline.
VIDEO: An unstoppable Lomu tramples over England

5 Barcelona 2009

The signs suggest the Catalan club are now in the middle of another Golden Era. Unplayable at best, unstoppable at worst, Barca gladly give the best football teams on the planet footballing lessons at will. 
From the solid backline of Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique through to the industrious, and creative midfield of Xavi and Andes Iniesta to the dazzling feet of Lionel Messi up front, this Barca side are true greats. 
Would anyone bet against them becoming European Champions again this season? Thought not.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta and Thierry Henry
Superstars: (from left) Barca's Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta and Thierry Henry

4 Hungary 1953-1954

Trophies don’t make you entertaining, victory has no say in how high you fly and this Hungary side weren’t far off winning the number one spot in our List. 
The legendary Ferenc Puskas led the Mighty Magyars to within fingertips of ultimate glory. The attacking trailblazers, led by Sandor Kocsis, who averaged more than two goals a game at the 1954 tournament, were beaten by West Germany in the World Cup final, 16 years after suffering the same fate at the hands of Italy.
Ferenc Puskas
Magical Magyars: Ferenc Puskas's Hungary changed the way football would be played forever in the 1950s
Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga celebrates with Cricket World Cup trophy
Pioneers: Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga lifts the 1996 Cricket World Cup trophy after beating Australia

3 Sri Lanka 1996 Cricket World Cup winners

This wasn’t just an entertaining side, they had come from nowhere to become world champions in a the space of a few years - the fairytale story of the World Cup. 
Sri Lanka were powered by their opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, who mauled all who faced him and became the prototype for all pinch-hitting batsmen at the top of the order.
The final was particularly memorable for Aravinda de Silva, who took two catches and three wickets, including Australia's top-scorers Mark Taylor and Ricky Ponting, and then scored 107 not out. 

2 Harlem Globetrotters

The 1976-77 Harlem Globetrotters team, including Meadowlark Lemon (bottom row, second right)
Smiling assassins: The 1976-77 Harlem Globetrotters team, including Meadowlark Lemon (bottom row, second from right)
As showcase teams go this is easily the finest. The basketball wizards have been dazzling the crowds for 90 years now, and there hasn’t been a single boring moment.
The Globetrotters make it their main aim to entertain - they will try passing plays or take on difficult shots that no regular team would and it’s done with a smile on the face of the players. 
The names speak for themselves … Wilt 'The Stilt' Chamberlain, Connie 'The Hawk' Hawkins, Nat 'Sweetwater' Clifton and George 'Meadowlark' Lemon are just a few to grace the famous shirt.

1 Brazil 1970

Brazilian forward Jairzinho is carried by fans after Brazil defeated Italy 4-1 in the 1970 World Cup final
Hero: Fans carry Jairzinho aloft after Brazil defeated Italy 4-1 in the 1970 final
Will this side ever be beaten in terms of sheer breath-taking ability? We doubt it, because this side had it all, in spades.
They were unique to a man and words struggle to describe the efficacy with which they played the game, on a platform that mere mortals could only dream of.
It was art with Pele in his last World Cup, this was the side that produced perhaps the finest team goal of all time in the final against Italy.
Quite rightly, they let them keep the trophy.

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