Who would come out on top if every nation put forward a five-a-side team?
Imagine it. France’s team of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe up against a Brazilian quintet including Neymar and Philippe Coutinho.
Now that we come to think of it, it’s a great idea.
We have no idea where it would fit into the football calendar, but a five-a-side World Cup would be incredible.
Squads would be trimmed and we’d be left with the best of the best, competing in a miniaturised tournament providing plenty of entertainment.
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France, the reigning world champions, would be able to put forward an incredible team.
In fact, Les Bleus would struggle to select just five players.
Bleacher Report have ranked the best international five-a-side teams and listed the top 10.
France, though, do not come out on top.
Their criteria for selecting the five players and ranking the nations is as follows: “One goalkeeper and one defender (or defensive player) accompany three attackers in each selection.
“A player's quality was kept in mind when constructing the teams, but so were vital five-a-side attributes, such as two-footedness, defensive work rate and skill.”
- Jordan Pickford, Ben Chilwell, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane
Sterling and Sancho would thrive in a five-a-side setting, roaming around the pitch and creating problems.
England are without a centre-back and holding midfielder but Bleacher Report write: “Chilwell steps forward and brings his all-action style to the pitch”.
- Gianluigi Donnarumma, Leonardo Bonucci, Marco Verratti, Stefano Sensi, Lorenzo Insigne
The inclusion of Insigne in attack over Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile comes due to the Napoli forward’s skills in tight situations.
“Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile are better goalscorers, but you would take Insigne's ability in tight spaces over their more brutish styles,” the article states.
Meanwhile, Verratti and Sensi would help Italy keep possession.
- David De Gea, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Alcantara, Isco, Paco Alcacer
Imagine Thiago and Isco playing five-a-side together. Their skills in possession would be a major weapon.
However, Spain's concern would be Ramos’ bursting forward, as he loves to do, and exposing the defence.
- Sergio Romero, Nicolas Tagliafico, Lautaro Martinez, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala
Poor Tagliafico. He’ll have a lot of work to do.
Argentina’s team is top-heavy, which comes with an obvious risk.
But they have the best player in the world and should score plenty of goals.
- Jasper Cillessen, Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum, Memphis Depay
De Jong and Wijnaldum both have styles that suit five-a-side.
Barcelona’s De Jong is tough to dispossess while Liverpool’s Wijnaldum would help in the defensive and offensive phases of the game.
But would Memphis score enough goals to keep up with the better nations?
- Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Joshua Kimmich, Kai Havertz, Marco Reus, Timo Werner
Germany have plenty of depth but Ter Stegen and Havertz are selected ahead of Manuel Neuer and Serge Gnabry respectively.
Joshua Kimmich’s versatility means he’s a must-have and Timo Werner gets the nod in attack.
- Rui Patricio, Florentino Luis, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Cristiano Ronaldo
Bernardo and Felix are masters in tight spots and would be very frustrating to play against.
Florentino Luis would do the hard work, allowing Ronaldo to focus on scoring the goals.
His powerful shots would be tough to stop in a five-a-side setting.
- Thibaut Courtois, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens
Where’s Romelu Lukaku, Belgium’s all-time top goalscorer?
“There's a strong argument you would need a more refined, graceful touch in five-a-side, something Mertens provides, as well as an ability to tot up the goals,” Bleacher Report argue.
Just imagine the chaos De Bruyne, Hazard and Mertens would cause.
Witsel would provide the cover in front of Courtois.
- Alphonse Areola, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe
Kante covers every inch of grass on an 11-a-side pitch, so putting him on a considerably smaller pitch would be incredible to watch.
Meanwhile, Pogba would dominate.
Ousmane Dembele has been left out despite being two-footed, although it’s hard to leave out the hard-working Griezmann and the clinical Mbappe.
- Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Philippe Coutinho, Neymar, Roberto Firmino
Brazil crashed out of the 2018 World Cup at the quarter-final stage but they would be a major force in a five-a-side competition.
They have arguably the best goalkeeper and defensive midfielder in the world and three attackers who would excel in a smaller situation.
Coutinho and Neymar both possess extraordinary abilities in tight space. With Firmino’s flicks and neat passes, all three of Brazil’s attackers would create as well as score goals.
You’re looking for certain requirements in a five-a-side competition. Being physical, skilful and good in tight spaces are advantageous traits to have.
That’s why a nation like Spain, with Ramos, Isco and Thiago, would be so good. Perhaps they should be higher than eighth.
It’s fun to imagine the outcome of a five-a-side World Cup, though. Make it happen, FIFA.News Now - Sport News