Attacking trios are very much en vogue now.
Thanks to the tremendous success of Barcelona’s former M-S-N trio, everyone’s out to form their own attacking trident. And of course this trend has bled over the international game, where many of the world’s finest nations now play with a front three.
So with the international break in full swing, we here at Squawka have decided to rank the best international trios currently operating in the world game. Obviously this has to be a team that actually plays with a front three, so just picking the three best attackers of a team that plays 4-2-3-1, like Germany or Italy doesn’t count.
Jakub Blaszczykowski, Robert Lewandowski, Kamil Grosicki
Poland could easily be a workmanlike side but the magic in their front three elevates them to a status where they’re almost perennial dark horses. They have many players on the right, though the legend Jakub Blaszczykowski is the most regular player there.
Meanwhile Kamil Grosicki is a dynamic presence on the left, offering penetration and playmaking for striker Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich man is the world’s finest no. 9 and makes Poland’s attack considerably more dangerous.
Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic
Croatia are one of the most frustrating nations around because their side is overflowing with quality. Whilst not on par with their incredible midfield, Croatia’s attacking trio is sensational. Brozovic is a relentless force up and down the flanks, whilst Ivan Perisic is the same but has a touch of magic about the way he can dribble and shoot off either foot.
In attack Mario Mandzukic is part workhorse, part big game impact-maker. A powerful no. 9 who has won it all at the club level.
Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling
By kicking Wayne Rooney to the international kerb, Gareth Southgate has been able to build an attacking trio around three of England’s four biggest talents. Sterling is a natural winger, as comfortable hitting the by-line as he is cutting inside to shoot on goal.
Marcus Rashford is developing into an incredible forward talent whose pace and drive for goal allow him to play wide or as a no. 9. Up-top Harry Kane is a prolific striker who must now be counted amongst the world’s finest. Together they are young, full of confidence and have the talent to carry England forward.
Yannick Carrasco, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard
Belgium’s best play may be playing in central midfield now thanks to Roberto Martinez, but they still have an incredible front three that may well be the best in Europe.
Yannick Carrasco is a lethal combination of pace and skill able to play on either flank, whilst Eden Hazard’s mesmeric dribbling ability needs no introduction, with Chelsea’s main man drifting by opponents as though they’re not even there.
Romelu Lukaku was always a powerful and intelligent no. 9 but since joining Manchester United appears to have taken his game onto another level.
David Silva, Alvaro Morata, Isco
Spain play a unique 4-3-3 that is largely without genuine wingers, as David Silva and Isco play “wide” but in effect have free-roles to drift in out of the half space and move intelligently whilst Spain’s midfielders advance themselves into dangerous spaces.
It’s a fluid system that allows for maximum match-control, key for Spain. Up-front is Chelsea’s main man Alvaro Morata (at least until Diego Costa starts playing again to rival him), although in his absence Spain have been known to using others like Marco Asensio as a false nine to keep things fresh under Julen Lopetegui’s new era.
Leo Messi, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi
In terms of sheer talent, no nation can compete with Argentina. They have arugably the best player in the world in Leo Messi, and in Jorge Sampaoli’s 3-4-2-1 they play him alongside the miracle that is Paulo Dybala whilst Mauro Icardi is the no. 9.
This is a stupendous trio, but it cannot rank number one because for all its quality, it doesn’t really work perfectly. Messi and Dybala are too similar as players to be truly complimentary, so whilst they could beat teams with sheer ability, they can’t be considered best.
Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar
Brazil manager Tite has found his new attacking trio, a magnificent trident wearing 9, 10 and 11 who provide a magical attacking edge to a powerful and hard-working midfield and turn Brazil from just another hard-working side to a team that are probably favourites for the 2018 World Cup.
The funniest thing is they’re all variations on the same kind of right-footed left-inside-forward, yet the variations in their game and the pace they possess makes them superbly complimentary. Neymar owns the left-flank and is a dazzling combination of creativity and audacity.
Coutinho plays on the right and is so dangerous when he drifts into central areas to combine with Neymar and create havoc with his range-shooting and first-time passing. Up-front Gabriel Jesus is an incredible talent capable of coming deep and engaging with build-up but also running in behind and finishing with a predatory instinct. Should everyone be fit it’s hard to look by Brazil as future World Cup winners and their awesome attacking trio is a major reason why.