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Ladbrokes’ Top 5 World Cup teams to miss out on the final

| 23.05.2014

With many of the squads for this summer’s World Cup already confirmed, you may be looking over the 23-man rosters wondering who will be the bottlers this time.

In 1954 it was Hungary that failed to hit the high notes, while the 1970 Brazil side are remembered as the best team to never win it.

This time around, with Italy and Holland facing tough draws, while Argentina and Brazil remain under pressure, we look at five of the best to never win the World Cup.

Denmark 1986

Undoubtedly the cult team of the Mexico finals, Argentina may have won the trophy, but Denmark took the plaudits, despite crashing out in spectacular style. Wins over Scotland, West Germany and, most famously, Uruguay, who they hammered 6-1, put the Danes on course in the knockouts.

But they came undone against Spain, letting a 1-0 lead slip to lose 5-1 as La Roja counterattacked to devastating effect with Emilio Butragueno scoring four. The Uruguay win remains a highlight though.

Italy 1990

England may have suffered heartache against Germany all those years ago but spare a thought for Italy. Inspired by the silky skills of Roberto Baggio, who scored the goal of the tournament against Czechosloviakia and the goals of tournament top scorer Toto Schillachi the Italians were on fire.

They didn’t even concede a goal until the semi-finals, when a Claudio Canigga strike put Argentina level with the hosts. Penalties followed, with pantomime villain Diego Maradona stepping up to score the decisive, heartbreaking, kick.

Holland 1998

Always the bridesmaid and never the bride in the World Cup, the Dutch looked on course for the trophy in France after topping a tricky group containing Belgium and Mexico. From then on Guus Hiddink’s side were among the star turns, coming out on top in a couple of nail-biting encounters

It took a Predrag Mijatovic penalty miss and a last-gasp Edgar Davids screamer to see off Yugoslavia before their classic encounter with Argentina that featured arguably the greatest World Cup goal ever from Dennis Bergkamp. In the end though, penalties put paid to their chances, losing to Brazil after a 1-1 draw in the semis.

Portugal 2002

After reaching the semis at Euro 2000, the Japan and South Korea finals were meant to be the best chance for Portugal’s golden generation to claim the World Cup. They came into the tournament in good form, having finished ahead of Holland in qualifying, but left in disgrace.

Things started badly in their opener against the USA, as a sluggish Portugal slipped to a 3-2 loss, having been three goals down after 36 minutes. They bounced back with an impressive 4-0 win over Poland before striker Joao Pinto imploded in the final game against South Korea with a red card after 27 minutes. The hosts went on to win 1-0.

Argentina 2006

Overseen by Jose Pekerman who built his team around Juan Roman Riquelme, Argentina were outstanding, topping the Group of Death ahead of Holland, Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro with their 6-0 win over the latter featuring the greatest team goal ever witnessed at a World Cup.

A Maxi Rodriguez screamer saw off Mexico in the second round and set up a date with Germany, where Argentina led 1-0 after 49 minutes. However, with Riquelme and Hernan Crespo subbed off and goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri withdrawn through injury, Miroslav Klose equalised, with Germany winning on penalties.

Did we miss out any of the great teams that nearly went all the way?  Tweet @JackBeresford86 with your views now!

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Author

Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.