In 1997, when all World Cup qualifiers were decided, and the 32 teams had been confirmed for the upcoming tournament, the world’s imagination was captured by FIFA with a clash between Europe & Rest of the World.
The match took place on the same day as the tournament draw and resulted in a 5-2 win for Rest of the World.
The rules were that each participating team were to have one player representing their country and no more. Let’s see what a potential Europe v Rest of the World lineup would look like in 2018 with the same rules.
1. Yann Sommer (Switzerland)
2. Igor Smolnikov (Russia)
3. Danny Rose (England)
4. Sergio Ramos (Spain)
5. Raphaël Varane (France)
6. Toni Kroos (Germany)
7. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
8. Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
9. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
10. Luca Modric (Croatia)
11. Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
Subs: 12. Emil Forsberg (Sweden) ,13. Gylfi Sigurðsson (Iceland) 14. Nemanja Matić (Serbia).
Europe would boast a highly impressive attack, underlined by a technical midfield and centre-back partnership. It would be a team that would certainly be hard to get the ball from, and the ball-playing centre-back partnership of Varane and Ramos would offer comfort to the side when under pressure from the ferocious Rest Of The World attack.
Rest Of The World Squad
1. Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)
2. Victor Moses (Nigeria)
3. Diego Godín (Uraguay)
4. Maya Yoshida (Japan)
5. Davinson Sánchez (Columbia)
6. Idrissa Gana Gueye (Senegal)
7. Son Heung-min (South Korea)
8. Andrés Guardado (Mexico)
9. Neymar (Brazil)
10. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
11. Mo Salah (Egypt)
Subs: 12. Osama Hawsawi (Saudi Arabia), 13. Román Torres (Panama), 14. Jefferson Farfán (Peru)
Rest of the World certainly has its weaknesses in certain areas when compared to the opposition. However, it boasts a supremely talented attack which would give them a chance on the counter attack.
The industrious Gueye in midfield would hassle and harry the technically gifted trio of Kroos, de Bruyne and Modric, while a newly formed ‘MNS’ of Messi, Neymar, Salah would cause trouble for any defence.
Verdict: The overall strength of Europe just edges it, with their attacking players capitalising on the potentially weaker players out wide on the Rest of the World Squad.
Who would make your team?