Which five nations are currently enjoying a golden generation of talented footballers?
We all know the FIFA World Rankings can be somewhat misleading. On one hand you cannot argue with the top three. Spain, Germany and Argentina seems a fair assessment of the top three teams in world football.
Then you see that England are fourth and you laugh hysterically at this awful system.
But using the rankings and a little bit of personal knowledge we have tried to bring you the five teams to watch out for over the next few years; which nations are the growing forces in world international football?
I sat in the Slug and Lettuce on the Riverside in Reading about 18 months ago and made a bold prediction; that Belgium would win the European Championships in 2016.
At the time the Red Devils were languishing in the 50’s of FIFA’s rankings; now they are in the top 20 and with the quality available to them should surely be in the top ten within the next 12 months.
Hazard, Benteke, Fellaini, Courtois, Kompany, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Mirallas, De Bruyne …. The list is endless and they are currently on course to qualify for the World Cup in 2014.
It has been while since the fans of this nation have anything to shout about but now they sit sixth in the world rankings and with Radamel Falcao up front are capable of beating anybody on their day.
Not to mention the more than able support from James Rodriguez, Jackson Martinez and co.
For all the disappointment surrounding our draw with the Balkan side this week in context a draw in Podgorica is not a bad result.
The side are deadly at home and their national pride makes them incredibly dangerous; as we along with Ukraine and Poland are finding out.
Welcome the next golden generation of Nigerian footballers. It has been a while since Nigeria had much to shout about but after winning the AFCON 2013 people have certainly had to take a look at this team. A young squad laced with quality they will be looking to make an impact at this summer’s Confederations Cup.
The Ottmar Hitzfeld managed side can call upon such talents as Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami and the graduates from the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Championship victory are starting to make their mark on the team.
The only way is up for this side.
Who do you think are the world’s best up-and-coming footballing nation?
image: © chilangoco