huge blow 9 4. This great Netherlands side fell short at the 1974 World Cup – West Germany ultimately proved to be the best team, but that has not stopped footy romantics fondly remembering the delights of this Netherlands side. It was also where the ‘Cruyff turn’ was born. Their swashbuckling style carried them to the final where they took an early lead through a Johan Neeskens penalty before the opposition had even touched the ball. The West Germans fought back to win, though, leaving the Dutch with the title of ‘people’s champions’. Cruyff, meanwhile, never appeared at the World Cup again. silverware 9 9 RANKED 9 REVEALED Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade BEST OF Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? 9 Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card 9. QPR and the 1975/76 title – With Stan Bowles, Gerry Francis and Frank McLintock, Rangers had not lost at their Loftus Road home for the entire season. They began the campaign with a 2-0 win against title rivals Liverpool, their football dazzled neutrals, yet the West London club still found themselves in a torturous position at the end. Having beaten Leeds 2-0 in their final game, Rangers were looking down on every other club in the English top flight, but a point still separated them from Liverpool (in the days of two points for a win).The Reds beat Wolves, though, and the league was theirs along with the UEFA Cup. Still, it was still a thrilling ride for the R’s. They’d been in Division Three 10 years earlier and fans, gutted at falling at the last hurdle, were for the most part pleased to have been dazzled by the skill. Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move According to Jurgen Klopp, ‘second is nothing’ and these teams will probably go along with that.They are all great sides, but for one reason or another, each one of them has fallen just short of winning the big prizes.Liverpool in the 2008/09 Premier League season were an unlucky team, Arsenal‘s ‘Invincibles’ should have won the Champions League and what about two of the best teams to never win the World Cup? 9 ADVICE REPLY Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury 2. Brazil’s 1982 World Cup squad – The best team to never win football’s biggest prize? They didn’t even reach the last four. What they did do, though, was leave a lasting impression on football fans. Enzo Bearzot’s well organised Italy side – eventual winners – dumped them out thanks to a thrilling 3-2 win, but with the likes of Socrates, Falcao and Zico (above), the South Americans put on a show with coach Tele Santana seemingly letting his players creativity run free. They scored 10 times in the first group stage, but that silky smooth style was undone by Paolo Rossi’s hat-trick in the second round where teams found themselves in four groups of three with the winner progressing to the semi-finals. Still, five World Cups and counting is not bad going, eh? 9 no dice Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade 9 England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won 8. Newcastle’s ‘Entertainers’ and the 1995/96 Premier League season – This lot could play, but ended up ruing the fact they let a 12-point advantage slip. Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle side became known as ‘The Entertainers’ and with good reason considering it contained David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and Peter Beardsley. They were on course to not just win the title, but win it in style. The Magpies were out in front in January, but Man United put together an impressive run of wins including a 1-0 win against Newcastle to reel them in and eventually deny them what would have been a first title since 1927. 8. Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ and the 2003/04 Champions League – Arsenal won the Premier League without losing a game in 2004 and every fan knows the sheer quality they possessed, so this team should have done more in the Champions League. It was the campaign in which they went to the San Siro and beat Inter 5-1, but in the end they were dumped out in surprising fashion by Chelsea – who had not beaten the Gunners in 17 attempts – in the quarter-final at Highbury. With Monaco, Porto and Deportivo the other sides in the last four, the Gunners would have fancied their chances of winning the trophy. Two years later Arsenal reached the final but were beaten by Barcelona. 5. Atletico Madrid and the Champions League in 2014 and 2016 – A quality defence, with a strong attack and a brilliant manager in Diego Simeone conducting events from the sidelines. These are all qualities you’d expect a team with ambitions of winning silverware to possess. And they do – a league title, Spanish Cup and Europa League – are evidence of this. However, it’s that Champions League trophy which has eluded one of Europe’s finest teams. In 2014, they were sucker-punched when Sergio Ramos headed in a stoppage time equaliser to force extra-time where Real Madrid eventually won 4-1. Two years later the same team defeated them, this time via a penalty shoot-out, while Bayern saw them off in the 1974 European Cup final. Surely their time will come. 3. Leeds and the European Cup – Don Revie had gone, replaced by Jimmy Armfied, but the players lining up in Paris in 1975 were still very much Revie’s boys. Leeds were champions of England and one of Europe’s most talented teams and saw off Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona en route to the final where they were beaten 2-0 by Bayern Munich. ‘Robbed’ is a term often used to describe this game given they were denied a penalty when Franz Beckenbauer, who was earlier accused of handling the ball in the box, fouled Allan Clarke. Peter Lorimer saw his goal very harshly ruled out and all of this unfortunately contributed to some Leeds fans rioting in the stands, angered at what they were witnessing. It’s still a sore subject more than 30 years later. Most popular football news 6. Liverpool’s 2008/09 side were unlucky not to win the Premier League – This team appeared to have the look of champions with Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso in the middle and Steven Gerrard behind Fernando Torres, while Jamie Carragher and Pepe Reina were at the back. They lost twice all season under manager Rafa Benitez, but finished four points behind winners Man United. A shout can be made for the 2013/14 team, but the class of 2009 seemed to be a more complete team. REVEALED Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions MONEY 9 1. Hungary at the 1954 World Cup – Hungary were the best team in the world. The Magnificent Magyars were Olympic champions, and went into the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland on a 32-game unbeaten run. They wowed spectators but eventually lost 3-2 to West Germany in the final a shock result that became known as the Miracle of Berne. Much focus was on talisman Ferenc Puskas ankle beforehand. He had taken a kick during the group game against West Germany, and despite being declared fit for the final, was off the pace. After the game, Puskas accused his opponents of doping, and several subsequently fell ill with jaundice, supposedly caught from sharing syringes. Coaches claimed the injections were vitamin C, but a modern report alleges they were given methamphetamines at half time.