Who are the best international sports teams?
Who are the best international sports teams?

Who are the best international sports teams?

When international sport is finally allowed to resume there will be an enormous amount of world titles waiting to be decided.

Even without the rescheduled Olympic games, the sporting calendar will be packed, keeping us glued to our screens as all the unfinished business is resolved.

In anticipation of this festival of sport, we’ve analysed seven of the most popular international team sports – including both the men’s and women’s versions of the most prestigious tournaments – to reveal who are the best international sports teams.


Brazil have won the most men’s world titles with five, although Germany have reached one more final overall and both they and Italy have four trophies to their name.

The women’s game is more polarised, with the United States having won twice as many World Cups as any other nation.


Australia dominate the sport across both genders, with their women’s team having won six Cricket World Cups and the men five. Both have also finished as runners-up on two occasions.

The England women’s cricket team have only reached one fewer final than their Australian counterparts but have two fewer trophies to their name.


The United States may boast the highest profile professional basketball tournament in the NBA, but their men’s team has fared slightly worse than Serbia (whose record includes that of the former Yugoslavia).

Both nations have claimed five world titles but the Americans have reached one fewer final.

Their women have performed more convincingly however, having won 10 of the 18 World Cups staged to date.

Field hockey

The Netherlands women’s hockey team have dominated the sport, having won more than half of the World Cups available and only failing to reach the semi-final stage in one of the 14 tournaments staged to date.

The men’s team has three titles and seven other appearances in the final four, but they’re edged out of the overall rankings by Pakistan who have won four times.


The Davis Cup has a rich history and is staged every year, but we have only compared teams from 1972 as before that the previous winner automatically qualified for the final.

Since then the United States has the edge with nine titles – two more than anyone else.

The Americans have also dominated the equivalent women’s tournament – the Fed Cup – with 18 wins; seven more than their nearest challenger, and should be considered among the best international sports teams.


A different volleyball world championship is staged every summer but the original tournament – excluding the Summer Olympics – is the World Championship.

Russia have dominated both the men’s and women’s versions, with six and seven world titles respectively.

No other national team has secured more than three to date.

Rugby union

While the Rugby League World Cup has been contested for longer than its Rugby Union equivalent, fewer nations compete and the code is less popular worldwide.

We have therefore focused on the Rugby World Cup, in which New Zealand have been the most successful nation.

Their women’s team have won five of the eight tournaments to date, while the men have triumphed in three and reached the joint-most finals.


Across these seven sports it is the United States who have been the most successful in the 21st century so far.

On average their teams have won approximately 14% of the tournaments staged in this period, compared to 12% for Australia and 10% for New Zealand.

The longest spells of dominance at present are the Australian women’s cricket and men’s field hockey teams, plus the United States’ women’s basketball team – all three have reached 11 consecutive semi-finals in their sport’s main world championship tournament.

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