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9 Most Overrated Champions in World Football History

Peter WebsterContributor IIIFebruary 9, 2012

9 Most Overrated Champions in World Football History

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    There exist many types of champion.

    There are players who have won World and European championships, League titles or domestic cups. There are teams that have dominated periods in history, and there are countries that have defied the odds.

    So who are those that are overrated?

    Maybe they've won something they shouldn't, or maybe they're just too highly spoken of.

    Maybe they were just plain lucky.

    Whatever the reason, here is a list of some fortuitous and overrated champions throughout world football.

European Champions 2004

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    Greece were the most unlikeliest of champions when they won Euro 2004, and they were lucky to have even made it out of the group stages.

    After being paired with Spain, Russia and host nation Portugal, Greece's record of one win, one draw and one loss scraped them into the quarterfinals on goal difference.

    From that point on, Greece ground out their path to victory with a series of 1-0 victories, including one in the final against Portugal.

    Certainly not a classic team of Champions, but kudos for the victory.

1986 World Cup Winners

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    Argentina may have had one of the best players in the world when they took to the pitch against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal, but Diego Maradonna had to cheat to win the trophy.

    England had been resolute in defence and had made it to halftime with the scores tied at 0-0.

    Then the infamous Hand of God struck, with Maradonna fisting the ball into the net to make the score 1-0, Argentina.

    In fairness, Maradonna went on the score a wonder goal as Argentina came out 2-1 victors, but the world and particularly England were cheated from seeing a fair contest. Maradonna broke the rules to see his team through to the semifinals.

    Argentina eventually won the competition.

Jonathan Greening

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    Believe it or not, Jonathan Greening is the not-so-proud owner of a Champions League medal which he won in 1999 for Manchester United.

    Greening was named as a substitute in the final of that year, but never even played a minute of Champions League football that season.

    Greening himself admits he felt a bit of a fraud.

1994 World Champions

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    The final of the USA 1994 World Cup was contested by Brazil and Italy.

    In order to be declared the best team in the world, you really ought to beat whomever is in front you via the method of scoring in open play.

    Brazil didn't manage this in the World Cup final. Their game with Italy finished 0-0 and went to penalties.

    Brazil won the shootout and were crowned 1994 champions.

    Along the way, they had beaten Russia, Cameroon, Sweden, USA and Holland.

    Whilst you can only play the teams which you are drawn against, the opposition wasn't testing until the final. Even then, Brazil limped home thanks to Roberto Baggio's skied attempt at a penalty.

Michael Owen

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    Manchester United striker Michael Owen was once considered to be the catalyst of England.

    If he was injured, England supporters would sit in the pub and say "we've got no chance."

    Perhaps best remembered for THAT goal against Argentina, Michael Owen went on to win the Ballon d'Or in 2001.

    Frequent injuries meant that Owen lost the sharp speed he had become renowned for, and at that point everyone realised he wasn't that good without it..

    Owen won his first and only Premier League medal in the 2010/11 season by playing a whopping 238 minutes of league football for Manchester United and has never even scored as many as 20 Premier League goals in a season.

Lionel Messi

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    Lionel Messi is a brilliant footballer, of that there is no question.

    However, the way in which some people speak about the man makes you think he can walk on water.

    Messi has won three La Liga titles as well as three Champions Leagues, which is an impressive haul against anybody's yardstick. But Messi hasn't done as well for Argentina as he has for Barcelona, which makes you wonder whether he has been carried by his impressive teammates at the club level.

Jose Mourinho

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    Mourinho might have gone unbeaten at home in over nine years with the various clubs he has managed, but his self-confidence seems to have brushed off onto the rest of the world who deem him one of the best managers of all time.

    A question that needs to be answered is perhaps whether it is harder to manage one club for a sustained period of time—Alex Ferguson, for example.

    Or is it harder to flitter between leagues, winning titles and then immediately moving on?

    Mourinho seems to favour the latter, but the quality of the clubs he has managed have all been relatively close to the top of their game and had plenty of money to spend.

    FC Porto have been close to the best Portuguese team in their league for years, Chelsea had Lampard and Drogba in their prime with a huge oil-rich bank account. Inter Milan had won Serie A two years running when Mourinho took over, and Real Madrid only have to beat Barcelona to win La Liga.

    His achievements are superb, don't get me wrong, but it's premature to call him the best ever.

Emile Heskey

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    England should have seen the warning signs when Michael Owen told then-England boss Steve McClaren to bring back Emile Heskey for Euro 2008.

    Unsurprisingly, England underachieved.

    Emile Heskey remains a striking enigma, yet is favoured by managers wherever he plays.

    His most prolific goal-scoring spell was probably at Liverpool, where he managed 39 goals in 150 league games. That's about one in every 3.8 matches.

    Considering that was his peak and Heskey is a four-time League Cup winner—FA Cup, FA Charity Shield, UEFA Cup and UEFA Supercup—all I can say is that he must be pretty good in training!

England

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    I'm an Englishman and I'm not afraid to say that as a nation we overrate our chances in major tournaments every year.

    Like everybody else, I always go into the Euro's and World Cups with high optimism.

    We all do it, but have you ever stopped to consider how good England actually are?

    If you sit down and match player for player against World and European Champions Spain, it makes pretty poor reading.

    England have an excellent spine to the national team but are too weak in outer areas, and notably in squad depth.

    England won the World Cup in 1966, the country's only achievement to date (I can hear you thinking two World Wars already). The closest they've come since was a third place in 1996 under Terry Venables.

    Having not won anything in nearly 50 years, England are overrated.

Afterthoughts

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    There are a few home truths that not everybody will agree with on this article, but such is the nature of having an opinion.

    People can let their passion and love for a player, club or country cloud their judgment over the harsh reality of what is plain to see for those around them.

    At the end of day, that's what football is all about, though.

    Without the arguments, banter, disagreements and differences in viewpoints, the world would be a boring place.

    My wife always tells me I can't be right all the time, so why not use the comment section below to back her up.

    Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter, where I post all my B/R content @petercwebster.

    Want to keep reading? Click here to see my predictions for the Champions League and Europa League qualifications come the end of the EPL season.

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