In football, just as in many sports, fans often reflect and think back to what could have been.
What could have been for England in 1986 had ‘God’s’ hand not reached out and tapped the ball beyond Peter Shilton.
What could have been for Holland had Arjen Robben’s breakaway attempt not been denied by the right foot of Iker Casillas in South Africa.
For every success on the pitch, there is always a failure. The losing team—often overlooked as we celebrate the achievement of the victors—is forced to sit back and ponder, “what if?”
Many times, that losing team is one that was expected to achieve greatness.
Granted, teams that are supposed to win do just that on many occasions. But every once and a while, the teams expected to come away victorious falter, some at the final hurdle, while others don’t make it that far.
For some nations, that has happened more often than they would like.
The list is as long as it is memorable, and extends beyond teams to individual players as well.
For these supremely talented footballers, the road to being branded as an underachiever requires perfect storm of talent, expectation and disappointment. They occasionally brought us to our feet with their displays of brilliance, but more often than not left us craving more.
Whether a team or individual player, all of the following had the potential to be amongst the absolute best, but were unable to deliver what was expected of them. Some even managed to produce for a short period of time, but should have accomplished so much more.
Here are the top 10 underachievers in world football.