During the last international break, we here at GIVEMESPORT decided to rank the top European nations by their squad depth.
Portugal were crowned as our winner and with the footballing world now in the midst of yet another domestic sabbatical, we’ve decided to get creative with another ranking concept.
This time around, we’re not just focusing on Europe – we’re going global.
Using FIFA’s official rankings, we’ve selected the best five-a-side team for each of the top 23 nations in world football and then listed them in order from worst to best.
We apologise in advance, as some controversial decisions had to be made with regards to the ranking of the 23 countries and the team selections…
Team: Gabriel Arias, Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz, Eduardo Vargas, Alexis Sanchez.
Chile’s team is not what it once was. They’re still heavily reliant on the ‘old guard’ and we can’t see the likes of Vidal and Sanchez being able to compete with the rest in a five-a-side setting.
Team: Yann Sommer, Fabian Schar, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Breel Embolo.
Schar and Xhaka are both wonderful passers of the ball, while Shaqiri has plenty of tricks and flicks in his locker. However, while the Swiss are a very good international side, their best five-a-side team looks decidedly average.
Team: Kasper Schmeichel, Daniel Wass, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriken, Kasper Dolberg.
Denmark just edge ahead of Switzerland and that’s mainly down to the brilliant Eriksen. Wass and Delaney would both be useful in attack and defence, while Dolberg is a tidy finisher. Not the worst team.
Team: Andriy Lunin, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Marlos, Viktor Tsygankov.
Ukraine’s quintet aren’t quite world beaters, but there’s still quality there. Zinchenko, Malinovskyi, Tsygankov and – in particular – Marlos, are all great with the ball at their feet, an essential skill in five-a-side. They’d probably give some of the bigger teams a run for their money.
Team: Wojciech Sczcesny, Mateusz Klich, Piotr Zielinski, Kamil Grosicki, Robert Lewandowski.
Poland sit ahead of European rivals Switzerland, Denmark and Ukraine because of one man – Lewandowski. The Bayern goal machine would thrive in any footballing environment. Had Poland not had one of the world’s best leading the line, they’d probably be sitting in 23rd.
Team: Martin Campana, Jose Gimenez, Rodrigo Bentancur, Fede Valverde, Luis Suarez.
The five players selected here are all very, very good – world-class in Suarez’s case. But are they tailor-made for five-a-side? Not in our opinion.
Team: Danny Ward, Ethan Ampadu, Aaron Ramsey, Daniel James, Gareth Bale.
Wales just edge ahead of Uruguay by virtue of the fact that we believe Bale and Ramsey to be the superior five-a-side pair over Suarez and Bentancur/Valverde. It was a close one, though.
Team: Robin Olsen, Victor Lindelof, Emil Forsberg, Dejan Kulusevski, Alexander Isak
We like this team a lot. Forsberg’s eye for a pass, Kulusevski’s skills and Isak’s finishing, it looks a pretty lethal combination – on paper at least. That being said, this team would probably struggle to compete with the very best.
Team: Sean Johnson, Sergino Dest, Weston McKennie, Giovani Reyna, Christian Pulisic.
America’s squad is littered with talent right now and this five-a-side team looks pretty good as well. A forward partnership of Reyna and Pulisic? Yes please! The fact the US are 15th tells you everything you need to know about the strength of the top 14.
Team: Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye, Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr.
Defensive solidity, a midfield engine and two rapid, skilful forwards?! That’s a pretty good mix. The key difference between the US and Senegal is that the latter possess a truly world-class player in Mane.
Team: Dominik Livavkovic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric.
Our Croatia lineup just screams ‘ball retention’. Imagine trying to get the ball off Brozovic, Kovacic and Modric. It would be an absolute nightmare and then you have Kramaric to finish off the chances.
Team: Hugo Gonzalez, Hector Herrera, Jesus Corona, Hirving Lozano, Raul Jimenez.
It was hard to pick between Croatia and Mexico, but we’ve sided with the latter due to the unpredictability and catalogue of skills possessed by both Corona and Lozano. Those two feeding Jimenez? A real recipe for five-a-side success.
Team: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Marco Verratti, Federico Chiesa, Federico Bernadeschi, Ciro Immobile.
Verratti’s tigerish nature and brilliance on the ball is tailor-made for the defensive role in a five-a-side team. Then you have the skills and ingenuity of Chiesa and Bernadeschi ahead of him, finished off with the goal scoring prowess of Immobile. Not bad.
Team: David Ospina, Juan Cuadrado, Juan Quintero, James Rodriguez, Luis Muriel.
Skills often pay the bills in five-a-side, which is why Colombia make the top 10. Cuadrado, Quintero, Rodriguez and Muriel are all blessed with an array of moves, the former two in particular. The latter pair then bring creativity and goals to the table, creating a very well-rounded team.
Team: Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens.
This Belgium team may not be the most skilful, but that doesn’t mean it’s not seriously dangerous. De Bruyne’s passing range would tear opposing teams apart in any setting, while the close control, low centre of gravity and goal threat of Hazard and Mertens would make any opposing side fearful.
Team: Franco Armani, Marcos Acuna, Leandro Paredes, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala.
A team with Messi only eighth? We know, we know. But our Argentine five-a-side creation just doesn’t have the X-factor possessed by the top dogs on our list. Although we wouldn’t fancy playing against Messi and Dybala down Goals on a Wednesday night…
Team: David De Gea, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Alcantara, Ferran Torres, Ansu Fati.
It’s hard enough to get the ball of Thiago during an 11-a-side game, let alone in this format. The Liverpool man would feed the pacy duo of Torres and Fati, with Ramos holding it altogether at the back. A very exciting team.
Team: Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Kai Havertz, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane.
Havertz, Gnabry and Sane is an insane offensive trio, while Kimmich is so versatile and brilliant that there’s no need for an out-and-out defender in the team. Germany could probably use Neuer as an outfield player in five-a-side if they needed to as well!
Team: Nick Pope, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford.
Ranking England ahead of Germany was a tough call to make, a very tough one indeed. What swayed us? The silky street football skills both Sancho and Rashford would bring to the table. Any defender in the world would struggle against the pair in a five-a-side game. Grealish isn’t a bad player to have either…
Team: Rui Patricio, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The fact Silva’s nickname is ‘bubblegum’ due to his immense first touch suggests he would be an absolute demon in five-a-side. Factor in the unquestionable brilliance of Felix and the legendary Ronaldo and you’ve got a seriously strong outfit.
Team: Jasper Cillessen, Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong, Quincy Promes, Memphis Depay.
Van Dijk’s presence is why we opted for Holland in third place. The Liverpool man would swat opposing attackers away like flies, allowing the trio of De Jong, Promes and Depay to cause mayhem up top. A delightful combination.
Team: Hugo Lloris, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe.
Kante would be the perfect defender in five-a-side due to his ridiculous engine. Ahead of him, the skilful trio of Pogba, Dembele and Mbappe would wreak havoc on opposing defenders. It’s hard to top this team, but you’ll soon understand why France have to settle for a silver medal…
Team: Alisson Becker, Marcelo, Philippe Coutinho, Neymar, Roberto Firmino
It couldn’t be anyone else. Neymar is one of the best players in the world and the PSG superstar would probably be the most terrifying player to come up against in a five-a-side game. Coutinho, Firmino and Marcelo are all fantastic with the ball at their feet too, a deadly quintet.