Top 10 greatest World Cup winners

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The World Cup has been showcasing the best teams in the world on the grandest stage for the best part of a century.

But which is the greatest in World Cup history?

Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards discussed the topic in the latest Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast.

You can listen to the podcast on BBC Sounds and have your say by ranking your choices at the bottom of this page.

Argentina – 1978 (Richards: 9, Shearer: 10)

Argentina celebrate winning the 1978 World Cup

A first World Cup title for Argentina came in 1978, when they beat the Netherlands 3-1 after extra time. Level at 1-1 after the 90 minutes, goals from Mario Kempes and Daniel Bertoni sealed the success.

Lineker: I loved this team, I remember Kempes winning the Golden Boot and cheering all the goals against Peru because I went with the host nation. It was a decent final, because that Dutch team were very strong.

France – 2018 (Richards: 10, Shearer: 9)

France celebrate winning the 2018 World Cup

The current holders. Didier Deschamps’ France side beat Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow to left their second title. They were unbeaten throughout the tournament and beat Argentina 4-3 in the last 16 in one of the World Cup’s greatest matches.

Shearer: Strong team and great final. Fully deserved but when you look at others, it is such a strong list.

Richards: It was a very strong list from one to 10. There were just better teams in the list. They had Steven Nzonzi, a decent squad player, who was at Stoke.

Lineker: One of the great finals and one of the great World Cups.

Italy – 1982 (Richards: 8, Shearer: 8)

Italy celebrate winning the 1982 World Cup

Italy won their third World Cup title in 1982 to draw level with Brazil as the most successful country. They beat West Germany 3-1 in Madrid to lift the title, with their 40-year-old goalkeeper and captain Dino Zoff becoming the oldest player to win the World Cup. Paolo Rossi won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top goalscorer, and the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

Shearer: They drew their first three games, then went on to beat Argentina and Brazil.

Lineker: A lot of people were enraged when Rossi was in the squad, because he had been banned for match fixing for almost two years. There was a lot of debate whether he should be there. The team crawled through, then he sprung to life and won the Golden Boot and the World Cup. What a turnaround.

Spain – 2010 (Richards: 7, Shearer: 6)

Spain celebrate winning the 2010 World Cup

The tika-taka Spain side of 2010 were a joy to watch and gave the country their first success. They lost their opening group game against Switzerland before brushing past everyone else, eventually beating the Netherlands 1-0 after extra time in the final, thanks to Andres Iniesta’s goal.

Richards: In a World Cup you want to see goals and flair. They just kept winning 1-0.

Shearer: They were beaten in the opening game but after that, they were just unstoppable.

Lineker: They played beautiful football and you couldn’t get the ball off them, I would have had them higher.

West Germany – 1990 (Richards: 5, Shearer: 5)

A third and final World Cup success for West Germany, with the reunification coming in October 1990. The final against Argentina, which West Germany won 1-0 thanks to a Andreas Brehme penalty, is often referred to as one of the most cynical and low-quality finals. They were unbeaten throughout the tournament, but needed penalties to beat England in the semis.

Lineker: They beat us along the way and I can’t help thinking we would have won it if we had won those penalties. They were a very good side, they steamrollered everyone until they got to us. So many good players. The final was an awful game, scruffy and messy against a tired Argentina. No one gave England a chance, but there was nothing in it.

France – 1998 (Richards: 3, Shearer: 6)

France celebrate winning the 1998 World Cup

A maiden success came on home turf for France in 1998. Aime Jacquet’s side won 3-0, with Zinedine Zidane scoring a first-half double, before Emmanuel Petit rounded off the scoring in stoppage time. They were unbeaten in the tournament but required extra time in the last 16 and penalties in the quarter-finals.

Lineker: I did the final as a presenter and was given the job of looking after David Ginola. He was left out of that World Cup squad controversially. Poor fellow was having to pretend he was really happy, but it was so painful for him. It was brutal. To leave a player of that quality out shows how good they were.

Argentina – 1986 (Richards: 2, Shearer: 7)

Argentina celebrate winning the 1986 World Cup

Argentina won their second World Cup in 1986, beating West Germany 3-2 in the final in Mexico City. The tournament will perhaps best be remembered for Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals. A certain Gary Lineker finished top scorer with six goals too.

Lineker: Maradona’s team. I don’t think it’s fair to say he carried them though, they had some very good players. In that World Cup he was unbelievable, as good as any player had played in any World Cup in history. What a personality as well.

Brazil – 2002 (Richards: 3, Shearer: 4)

Brazil celebrate winning the 2002 World Cup

Trophy number five for Brazil and it was another where they won all of their games – seven in total this time. Managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari and captained by Cafu, they beat Germany 2-0 in the final in Japan to lift the trophy. They also beat England 2-1 in the quarter-finals.

Shearer: Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho. Brilliant team, they also had Carlos and Cafu. That Ronaldinho goal against England was a fluke though.

Lineker: I don’t think Ronaldinho is capable of mis-hitting a free-kick like that, so I’m going to give him the benefit the doubt.

England – 1966 (Richards: 4, Shearer: 2)

England celebrate winning the 1996 World Cup

The year football came home, but it remains England’s only World Cup success. Managed by Alf Ramsey and captained by Bobby Moore, they beat West Germany 4-2 after extra time at Wembley to lift the title.

Shearer: It is just the story of it and being at Wembley. It is the immortality of the whole thing and the players.

Lineker: Probably not the best but it’s England and that story. England played really measured but it worked. Jimmy Greaves was the story of that World Cup. Probably the greatest England striker ever and he was injured at the start, in came Geoff Hurst, Greaves got fit again but they stuck with Hurst and there were no subs in those days, so he was just out of it.

Brazil – 1970 (Richards: 1, Shearer: 1)

Brazil celebrate winning the 1970 World Cup

Brazil won their third World Cup in 1970, meaning they were allowed to keep the trophy and a new one was introduced in the following tournament. The side led by Carlos Alberto also contained Pele, Gerson, Jairzinho, Rivellino, and Tostao and they are often referred to as the greatest-ever football team. They won all six of their games, beating Italy 4-1 in the final.

Shearer: One of the easiest decisions even though I never saw them. The way people eulogise about them and the names they had, it had to be them.

Richards: My dad told me about this team and said they were unbelievable.

Lineker: There was that famous game against England when they won 1-0. The two famous moments were the Gordon Banks save and the tackle by Bobby Moore on Pele.

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