Friday, January 6, 2017

If United Kingdom went to Spain 1982

This is my selection of a 22 member team for the United Kingdom at the WC Finals in 1982.  In 1982, only 22 players were allowed in the official squad.

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
United Kingdom All-time Team
If United Kingdom went WC Finals 1970


England 1982

England, Scotland and Northern Ireland qualified for Spain 1982.  Once in Spain, both England and Northern Ireland had a fantastic tournament.  England beat France 3-1, a team that turned into one of the best in the tournament.  Northern Ireland beat host Spain and advanced to the second round.  Meanwhile, Scotland narrowly went out of group stage by goal difference.  
Scotland vs Brazil, WC Finals 1982

In my opinion, United Kingdom still has a better chance in 1970, but their 1982 team would still be a very good team. Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish Kevin Keegan and Peter Shilton were at their peak.

Northern Ireland 1982

The Team
GK: Peter Shilton (England)
Peter Shilton is considered one of the greatest keepers ever.  He is England's all-time cap record-holder with 125.  He earned his first cap in 1970 and his last 20 years later in 1990.  He took England to 4th place in WC 1986.  He also won two straight European Cups in 1979 and 1980 with Nottingham Forrest.

GK: Pat Jennings (N.Ireland)
Considered among the greatest goalkeeper of all-time.  The prime of his career was spent with both Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal.  In 1973 the Football Writers' Association named him as its footballer of the year. Three years later he won PFA's version of the award – he was the first goalkeeper to receive this accolade, and to this date remains only one of two, along with Peter Shilton. He earned 119 caps for Northern Ireland and went to two WC Finals. 

GK: Ray Clemence (England)
He won 3 European Cups and 2 UEFA Cups in the 1970's with Liverpool and 1 UEFA Cup with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He was voted as Liverpool's greatest keeper.  For the national team, he was locked in a battle of number 1 with Peter Shilton.  He made 61 appearances for England.

RB: Danny McGrain (Scotland)
McGrain was an All-time great for Celtics.  He was among the best ever rightback coming out of United Kingdom.  With Celtic, he won seven League Championships, five Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups. He spent his final season of his career with Hamilton Accies, where he helped win them promotion to the premier league. He played in the 1974 and 1982 World Cups for Scotland, captaining the side in their opening match against New Zealand at the 1982 World Cup.

RB: Phil Neal (England)
The great right back from Liverpool of the 1970's. One of England's most decorated player: 4 First Divisions, 4 League Cups, 5 FA Charity Shields, 4 European Cups, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 UEFA Super Cups. Neal also had a long career with England winning 50 caps and playing in the 1982 World Cup.

CB: Terry Butcher (England)
Butcher was one of England's greatest defenders. He captained the England national team, winning 77 caps in a ten-year international career that featured three FIFA World Cups. Butcher also enjoyed success in his club career, particularly with Ipswich Town and Rangers. With Ipswich, he was a part of Bobby Robson's team that won the UEFA Cup in 1981. In 1986, he joined Rangers as one of the first wave of English players playing for Graeme Souness' Rangers in the 1980's.
Terry Butcher tackling Platini

CB: Phil Thompson (England)
He made his professional debut in 1971 for Liverpool and never looked back.  He was a part of the decorated team that won 3 European Cups and 7 league titles.  He formed a partnership with Alan Hansen that was considered among the best ever in Europe.  he was briefly the captain for Liverpool.  He also earned 42 caps and went to Spain 1982.

CB:  Alex McLeish (Scotland)
McLeish was known for his defensive partnership with Willie Miller and Jim Leighton that won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 with Aberdeen. McLeish is Scotland's third most capped player, having gained 77 international caps between 1980 and 1993. He played in three World Cups with Scotland, in 1982, 1986 and 1990.

SW: Alan Hansen (Scotland)
Among the greatest defender ever from United Kingdom.  He won three European Cups and 8 English league titles with the great Liverpool team of the 1970's and 1980's. Despite being one pf the greatest ever centerback from the UK, Hansen only won 26 Scotland caps. The reason given for his lack of caps by Scotland coaches of the 1980s was that a formidable central defensive partnership had formed between Willie Miller and Alex McLeish at Aberdeen.  he played in the 1982 WC Finals, but he left off controversially the WC in 1986. 
Alan Hansen vs Brazil

LB: Kenny Sansom (England)
Sansom, throughout his career played for clubs such as Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers, Everton and Watford. Sansom was known for his career with Arsenal between 1980 and 1988.  He is the second most capped England national team full-back, having appeared 86 times for his country between 1979 and 1988.

LB: Francis Gray (Scotland)
Gray started his career at the end of Don Revie's career with the club.  He played in the European Cup final in 1975.  He left Leeds in 1979 for Nottingham Forest. Gray played in his second European Cup final in 1980, making him the first player to appear in the final for two different English clubs. He earned 32 caps and played all three matches at Spain 1982.

CM: Bryan Robson (England)
He was at one point the most expensive British player.  He is considered to be one of England's best ever box-to-box midfielders.  He earned 90 caps for England. He went to three World Cup Finals, but he only played a major role in 1982.  He was injured in both 1986 and 1990.  He spent 13 years with Manchester United.
Bryan Robson scored the fastest goal in WC history.  England beat France 3-1.

CM: Ray Wilkins (England)
Wilkins enjoyed success at various clubs including Chelsea, Manchester United, Milan, Queens Park Rangers, and Rangers. He was remembered for winning the FA Cup in 1983 for Manchester United.  From 1976 to 1986, he was an important player for England, earning 84 caps.

CM: Graeme Souness (Scotland)
Souness played for Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough and Sampdoria, but his greatest achievement came while he played for Liverpool. He was one of the greatest ever Liverpool players.  He won three European Cups with them, captaining the team in the early 1980's.  He was also the Player-Manager for Rangers. He earned 54 caps for Scotland.

CM: Trevor Brooking (England)
Brooking played most of his career for West Ham United making 647 appearances for the club. He won the 1975 FA Cup and the 1980 FA Cup in which he scored the only goal. He was also the club's player of the season on four occasions. Brooking was earned 47 times, but only appeared twice in big tournament matches.

RM/CM: Gordon Strachan (Scotland)
Strachan played for Dundee, Aberdeen, Manchester United, Leeds United and Coventry City.  He spent 7 seasons with Aberdeen, winning two league titles and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1983. He was capped 50 times, representing Scotland at both WC Finals in 1982 and 1986.

LW: Graham Rix (England)
Rix was known for his career with Arsenal between 1975 and 1988.   His club reached the Final of the Cup Winners' Cup.  He was capped 17 times for England and went to Spain 1982.

AM: Glenn Hoddle (England)
Hoddle often considered one of the most talented players of his generation, but not always appreciated by his fans.  He played mainly with Tottenham Hotspurs, where he won the UEFA Cup in 1984 and two FA Cups.  He was a fixture for the national team throughout the 1980's.

FW: Steve Archibald (Scotland)
Archibald played for a number of clubs in England ands Spain.  His best stint was with Tottenham Hotspurs, where he won two straight FA Cup between 1980 and 1982. He joined Barcelona in 1984, helping the club to reach the final of European Cup in 1986.  For Scotland, he was capped 27 times and is a member of Scotland's Football Hall of Flame.
Steve Archibad with Danny McGrain vs New Zealand

ST: Kenny Dalglish  (Scotland)
He was the greatest player for Liverppol in an era where Liverpool was considered to be among the greatest club sides in history.  He won three European Cups with them. He is the cap record holder and their top ever scorer for Scotland. 

ST: Ian Rush (Wales)
He was voted as the third greatest Liverpool player by fans in 2013. He was Liverpool's all-time leading scorer. He won both the PFA Player of the year and FWA Player of the Year in 1984.  he was European Golden Boot winner in the same year.  He also had short spells with Chester City, Juventus, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham and Sydney Olympic.

ST/SS: Kevin Keegan (England)
Two-time European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979. He won the European Cup in 1977 with Liverpool. He also found successes in the Bundesliga with Hamburger SV.  However, his WC appearance was limited to 20 minutes against Spain at the WC Finals in 1982.
Kevin Keegan in Spain

Honorable Mention/alternatives
Mick Mills, Steve Coppell, Trevor Francis, Paul Mariner, Willie Miller, Martin O'Neil, Alan Brazil.

Squad Explanation
-- Northern Ireland had a fantastic tournament, but I only selected Pat Jennings for my team.  I was looking at players with reputation established before the tournament. With due respect, most of their players were lesser known than the English and the Scots. gerry Armstrong was playing in the 2nd division with Watford. Norman Whiteside only made his professional debut in April, 1982.
-- Mick Mills was England's captain and the starting rightback at the World Cup, but Phil Neal and Danny McGrain were bigger names. I was a fan of Ipswich in 1982,  Dropping Mills is something hard for me.
-- In Spain, Steve Coppell played every matches for England, but he was suffering an injury.  The injury would eventually end his career.  If England had an alternative, Coppell would not be travelling to Spain..  Scotland's Gordon Strachan who also played as a right midfielder would be the side midfield on the team. 
-- In the actual WC Finals, Trevor Francis and Paul Mariner played major roles due to Kevin Keegan's injury during the Finals,  However, Francis was frequently injured during the 1981-1982 season.  Mariner had one of his worst output that season.  Meanwhile, Ian Rush was the only player from Wales.  Besides, he had his breakout season. He scored 30 goals in 49 matches.  He earned his spot. 

Formation
4-3-3
In real life, Kevin Keegan was injured and only played in the very last match against Spain. I would have played Hoddle behind Keegan and Dalglish, but I do not think he would have started.


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