The 2018 FIFA World Cup will soon be upon us so it’s a great time to take a look at which European countries lay claim to the best soccer teams. Europe is home to some of the finest soccer players in the world, both past and present, and has many national teams in with a real chance of taking home this year’s World Cup trophy. Some countries, like England and Spain, have a long history of soccer fans and place great importance on both their national teams and local clubs.
I find that soccer is a complex and emotional business, capturing the imagination and patriotism of many European citizens. Especially so when an international tournament comes around! So even when my team aren’t winning, I still find it feels good to get involved in the action. Whether I decide to be guided by my head or my heart, I always stake a claim on which teams will succeed this year. It’s fun to try and predict the World Cup results then watch and see what happens! In this article, I’ll examine which countries I think produce the best individual players, the best clubs and the best national team.
Spain’s national team have earnt a variety of different fiery nicknames over the years, including La Furia Roja (The Red Fury) and La Furia Española (The Spanish Fury). As you might guess, the Spanish support their national team with a passion and they have good reason to! FIFA World Ranking currently places them at number 8 overall in the world, beating other European contenders like England and Italy hands down.
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is also the current captain of the national team, bringing his unique experience and knowledge to the role. Ramos is already familiar with how to handle the high pressure of being in a successful club, as Real Madrid currently take the top spot on UEFA club rankings. Not only do they hold the number one ranking for this season so far, they are also number one overall in the whole of Europe according to UEFA. Together with other legendary soccer teams Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Spain really does have some of the best clubs in the world. So good, they attracted Portuguese soccer idol Cristiano Ronaldo to play for Real Madrid in 2009 and he’s not looked back since. Whilst he still captains Portugal’s national team, Real Madrid is where he has recently received standing ovations for his goal scoring and became top scorer at his sixth Champions League in a row. The team are Champions League titans, having now won the League three consecutive times.
Germany’s national soccer team is a force to be reckoned with, backed up by their position at the number 1 spot on FIFA’s World Ranking list. So far, they’ve been the World Cup champions four times (including at the last tournament in 2014) as well as winning a whole host of other international accolades. With a solid coach behind them and team members from stellar soccer clubs like Bayern Munich in their line-up, Germany are in with a real chance of tasting victory at the World Cup in 2018. If so, they’d be the first team since Brazil in 1962 to maintain their title two years running.
Germany’s most successful soccer team Bayern Munich (or Bayern München, to give them their non-Anglicized title) have been doing very well on the European stage lately, making it to number 3 in UEFA’s rankings. Coincidentally, this club currently have on loan Rodríguez from Real Madrid, but also boast outstanding German players like captain Manuel Neuer and vice-captain Thomas Müller. Despite losing the Champions League semi-finals to rivals Real Madrid, the Bayern Munich team look to be in strong form with multiple players representing the country in this year’s World Cup national team.
The birthplace of modern soccer and home of the world’s most passionate soccer fans, England can still call some truly legendary names their own. Whilst David Beckham may have moved on from soccer now, the national team still boasts up-and-coming soccer heroes like Harry Kane and Dele Alli to hopefully lead them to victory. England rank several places further down on the FIFA list at number 13, but the team are shaping up to go for the gold at this year’s World Cup. Despite not always doing fantastically well as a national team, England has soccer clubs like Manchester City and Arsenal to celebrate all year round. Hot names like Kane, Alli and Danny Rose however, all play for local London team Tottenham Hotspurs. In fact, the national team this year will have five members of the Spurs on board, which just goes to show what a great line-up the club is currently enjoying.
Without a doubt, there is plenty of superior soccer talent coming out of Europe right now, as always. It remains to be seen whether one of the European giants or another team will come out on top at the World Cup, but Europe will always remain a home to exceptional soccer prowess. A combination of passion, history and knowledge combine to make it such a strong base for the sport and a loyal supporter of the beautiful game.