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The Nearly Men: The Eternal Allure of the Greatest Teams That Failed to Win the World Cup

Aidan Williams

Regular price £16.99

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From the publisher:

The Nearly Men tells the fascinating stories of some of the most revered international football teams of all time. Through the history of the World Cup there are many sides who thrilled us all with their elegance and style, or who revolutionised the game, only to fail when it mattered most. They are the teams that could, and in some cases perhaps should, have won the World Cup, yet remain memorable for what they did achieve as well as what they didn't.

They all left a lasting legacy, be that of unfulfilled potential, crushed dreams or the artistry they produced that could have seen them prevail. Their exploits and accomplishments are frequently hailed more than those of the winners. The Nearly Men celebrates these teams: what made them great, what saw them fail, the legacy they left and why onlookers remember them so fondly.

It is a tale of frustration and disappointment, but also of footballing beauty and lasting legacy, in homage to the kind of greatness that isn't defined by victory.

The author:

Aidan Williams is part of the Senior Leadership Team for These Football Times, regularly appearing online and in their magazines and podcasts discussing football issues both current and past, with particular emphasis on World Cup history on and off the field. Aidan has also written for The Guardian and The Athletic. The Nearly Men is his second book, following Worst in the World: International Football at the Bottom of the FIFA Rankings.


22 x 14 cm
352 pages
May 2022