FIFA World Cup: 5 Best Teams To Have Never Won The Trophy
Ask anyone you know, or even don't know, as to who they think would win the FIFA World Cup this year, and you would hear the same set of fancied nations: Germany, Spain, France, Brazil or Argentina, the latter two being eternal sweethearts of the public. A few self-anointed experts might even root for Belgium's golden generation, while the ones backing England can only be termed adventurous with their guesses.
While it still remains anybody's guess as to who receives the coveted golden trophy from Gianni Infantino at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on the 15th of July, it will almost certainly be one of the nations mentioned above (unless Portugal gatecrash the party like they did two years ago in France). Fairytales are common at the World Cup, and the group stage itself has thrown up a few unexpected results - none more so than Mexico trumping Germany - but the underdog has historically run out of steam before the final.
However, if you're a fan of any of the nations generally being backed to emerge victorious, it might still be a wise idea to not bring out the confetti just yet. Over the years, teams that have been overwhelming favourites - and rightly so - have fallen short of World Cup glory, despite them being labelled as the most deserving.
This article chronicles their stories; the five best teams to have never won the World Cup.
#5 Portugal (1966)
By no stretch of the imagination is this saying that Bobby Moore's England did not deserve to win the 1966 edition of the global footballing extravaganza, but quite a few fancied Portugal, and why not? The core of that Portuguese team comprised of players playing for Benfica, winners of the European Cup in 1961 and 1962.
Benfica were the first team to dethrone Real Madrid from their previously unchallenged perch of being European champions. And in Eusebio, they had arguably one of the best forwards in the history of the game. Portugal waltzed through their group and even managed to comprehensively beat Pele's Brazil 3-1.
The highlight of their campaign, though, was the thrilling quarter-final against surprise packages North Korea. The Asian novices raced into a 3-0 lead at halftime and were looking good to deliver the shock of the tournament.
Eusebio, however, had other plans and hammered in four goals as Portugal completed a spectacular turnaround to win 5-3 to qualify for the semi-finals where they were up against the hosts, England, who pipped them 2-1 as they went on to eventually win. Portugal defeated the mighty Soviets by the same scoreline as their defeat in the semis in the third-place playoff to secure their highest ever finish. Eusebio would emerge as the top scorer with nine goals and firmly establish himself as a legend of the game, who almost led his entertaining team to the World Cup on their maiden appearance.