Golden Generation: Wikis


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In sport, Golden Generation is a term used to describe an exceptionally gifted group of players of similar age, whose achievements reach or are expected to reach a level of success beyond that which their team had previously achieved. Below is a list of teams who have been referred to by the media as a "golden generation".



It was first coined by the Portuguese sports media to refer to a group of exceptionally gifted teenage Portuguese footballers. This group of players, spearheaded by "Golden Boy" Luís Figo, won several Football World Youth Championships in 1989 and 1991. [1]

Later on, it has been used by media in many different countries, with usage spreading to other areas, for example, in rugby.



Portugal national football team

Many of these players made up the youth national teams of Portugal that won consecutive FIFA Youth Championships in 1989 and 1991, these teams were the step-up to the senior team. As a result Portugal reached the semi-finals of 2000 UEFA European Football Championship and were runners-up four years later. They were also 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists after a dominating run, though only Luís Figo and Nuno Gomes were picked in the squad for the final tournament.[2][3] [4] Some critics contend that many of the players underachieved at international level.[5][6]

Croatia national football team

In the mid-to-late 1990s, the Croatia national football team achieved international success, reaching the quarter-finals of 1996 UEFA European Football Championship and the semi-finals of the 1998 FIFA World Cup.[7][8]Like their Portuguese counterparts many of their golden generation players, they also won a Football World Youth Championship. The likes of Davor Šuker, Igor Štimac, Robert Prosinečki, Robert Jarni, and Zvonimir Boban were all part of the former Yugoslavia's win in the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championships.

English national football team

Early in the reign of Sven-Göran Eriksson, Adam Crozier, the chief executive of the Football Association and some members of the British media touted players such as David Beckham, Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard as the nucleus of a potential Golden Generation team. However, this group of players as many England teams failed to live up to expectations during Eriksson's tenure, resulting in the term falling out of common use.[9][10][11][12][13][14] Although many of them have achieved success with their respective clubs, the team failed to qualify for Euro 2008 - only the second time they failed to qualify for a major tournament in over twenty years (of the last twelve major tournaments).

French national football team

The brilliant generation of players who became the first French team ever to win the World Cup, in 1998, before David Trézéguet's golden goal gave France the European Championship two years later – becoming the only team in history to win back-to-back the World Cup followed by the Euro. During this concentrated time frame, the Zinédine Zidane era swept all before it on the international stage, where the French decade of success was undisputed, adding another title, the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup to the trophy cabinet, and another two years later, the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, and once again reaching the World Cup Final in Berlin at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.[15]

Japan national football team

In Japan, the players who were born in 1975 to 1979 are referred to as "The Golden Generation" (黄金世代: Ougon Sedai).

Especially, born in 1979 are narrowly referred to as "The Golden Generation". They won the silver medals at 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship. In a wide sense, those who were born in 1975 to 1978 are also included in the generation, because they were qualified the group stage at 1995 FIFA World Youth Championship, 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship and the 2000 Summer Olympics, .

They, combined with some of elder players, reached the final at 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and won the AFC Asian Cup consecutively (2000 and 2004). As a co-host country of 2002 FIFA World Cup, they qualified the first round with 7 points (2 wins 1 draw).

born in 1979
born in 1975-1978

Ajax Amsterdam

AFC Ajax won the European Cup three times consecutively in the early seventies. These 'homegrown' players contributed largely to achieve this prestation. The likes of Cruijff, Neeskens and co went on to thrill the world with their "Total Football" at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

Manchester United

During the 1998-99 season Sir Alex Ferguson won the unpreceded "Treble" (UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League) with a number of younger players who came through the academy. See Fergie's Fledglings.

Rugby union

Ireland national rugby union team

From 2001, Ireland's team has been chosen from a solid base of immensely talented players, led by Brian O'Driscoll whose debut in 1999 has been linked to an extraordinary transformation in the team's fortunes.[16] Under-21 Triple Crown victories in 1996 and 1998 and an under-19 World Cup win in 1998 occurred with many members of those teams going on to become the golden generation of the noughties.[16] The senior team had only once in the 1990s won two Five Nations Championship games in one year (1995).[16] However, the team of the 2000s were close runners-up in the expanded Six Nations Championship several times, and were disappointingly knocked out of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, not winning it.[17] [18] Four Triple Crowns during the 2000s equalled the amount Ireland had won in the previous one hundred years.[16] A two-win Six Nations campaign in 2008 was the exception, leading to the departure of manager Eddie O'Sullivan.[16]

Their crowning moment of the decade came under Declan Kidney in 2009 when they won the Grand Slam and Six Nations Championship. They remained unbeaten throughout the entirety of 2009, beating World and Tri Nations champions South Africa in their final match of the year.[19] The Sunday Independent proclaimed the noughties as "the greatest decade in the history of Irish rugby. In the space of 10 years we have progressed from penury to riches".[16] What was more, 2008 had seen no competition for one of the golden generation's leading lights, Ronan O'Gara, yet by 2009 David Humphreys and Jonathan Sexton were both competing against him for just one place on the team.[16] Sexton's emergence, which came during 2009,[19] would lead the way for a new generation of greats...

First generation

Second generation

Other uses

Sometimes this description is used for participants of World War II or when referring to a country's importance in history. [20]



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