5 golden generations who never won the World Cup
The incredible thing that separates football from any other game in the world is that the best team doesn't necessarily win at the end of the day. It fairly (or unfairly) gives the opportunity for weak teams to succeed with their own share of crazy moments, metamorphosing underdogs into superstars overnight.
However, that upset usually comes at the expense of some big blunders from the stronger team.
In football, putting the best players together doesn't equate to the best team in the world. The success of a team depends upon a number of factors: skills, techniques, tactics, intelligence, man-management, work ethics, and discipline.
Bigger the level of the competition, bigger is the amount of pressure. As far as the World Cup is concerned, the pressure is at an all-time high, as the players shoulder the huge expectations of the fans of their nations.
While some teams write their name in golden letters on the glorious pages of history, some teams choke under the immense weight of their dreams. Here's a look at 5 such golden generations that failed to win the FIFA World Cup:
#5 Portugal (2000-2006)
A national team comprising Luís Figo, Deco, Dimas, Pedro Barbosa, Vítor Baía, Rui Costa, Jorge Costa, João Pinto, Ricardo Sá Pinto and a budding Cristiano Ronaldo had a shot at not one but two World Cups - only for the dream to never materialise.
The journey of most of the players of this golden generation began when Portugal won consecutive FIFA U-20 World Cups in 1989 and 1991, setting the tone for the arrival of a new breed of superstars into the national team.
This golden generation matured from 2000, when they reached the semifinal of the Euro Cup thrashing heavyweights like England and Germany en route to the semifinal before they were eliminated by France, thanks to the extra time penalty converted by Zinedine Zidane.
After a dismal display in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, this generation touched its zenith when they stormed into Euro 2004 final, only to be defeated by Greece in front of their own fans. Afterwards, Portugal reached the semi-final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, again to be blocked by France.
In their defense, Portugal were awarded the "Most entertaining team" in the 2006 World Cup.
Most players of this golden generation were playing for the clubs based in Portugal at that time. Nonetheless, back then Portuguese clubs were as competitive as their European counterparts - which can be attributed to the fact that FC Porto won the UEFA Champions League in 2004.