We know you were going to be tuning in for all of Wimbledon’s mixed doubles matches anyway, but now there’s even more reason to have that secret window open on your computer while you’re at work.
Andy Murray may not be in the singles draw, leaving 90 percent of Wimbledon spectators only able to name three players in the men’s tournament and the fans who took the liberty of painting their faces with Saltires feeling like idiots, but fear not – hope is at hand.
A born winner, if Murray is going to bother playing doubles, he’s going to do it properly and so he’s paired up with Serena Williams to create the kind of team that makes it worth ploughing through Struff v Fritz to make sure you don’t miss the start.
Sure, Murray and Williams is no Molchanov and Voskoboeva when it comes to mixed doubles pedigree, but we’d love to believe they’ll crush all-comers like some of these great sporting dream teams.
USA 1992 Olympics – Basketball
You can’t talk about dream teams without starting with the actual Dream Team: the USA’s 1992 Olympic Basketball team.
When it comes to sports like basketball and baseball there’s always the question of how seriously the USA will take it because they obviously have the potential to wipe the floor with the rest of the field.
In 1992 there were no doubts. Not only did their roster have the best players in the world, it had many of the best players of all time, most famously Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.
And it wasn’t a case of a team of stars failing to click as the Dream Team thumped everyone, winning on average by a whopping 43.8 points per game.
You have to sense it was a tough task giving the Angola team talk before their 116-48 loss to the US superstars and even the gold medal match wasn’t exactly tense, finishing 117-85 to the Dream Team.
Soviet Union 1980 Winter Olympics – Ice hockey
While there’s usually fierce debate in most sports about which is the greatest team in history, in ice hockey it’s pretty much agreed it was the Red Machine of 1980.
The greatest irony is that the Soviet Union team will always be remembered for losing in the Miracle on Ice semi-final of the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid when an amateur, inexperienced USA secured a 3-2 win that was, well, miraculous.
The Soviet Union had won gold in five of the last six Olympic Games and were ice hockey’s equivalent of Ivan Drago.
Unlike Drago, the USSR team didn’t train in montages but it was preparation that was the key to their fearsome unit – they were known to practice together 1,200 hours per year, roughly three times as much as any other team.
The team was built in the image of the godfather of Russian ice hockey, Anatoli Tarasov, who, in true movie style, looked to theatre and ballet as well as other sports to come up with the Soviet style of play.
At their best they were breathtaking and terrifying, like a bear doing ballet, and no team has really come close since.
New York Yankees World Series 1927 – Baseball
Even if you’ve never watched a game of baseball, you’ll know who Babe Ruth is – and probably a few other members of the Yankees’ 1927 side. The first six batters in the Yankees line-up became known as ‘Murderers’ Row’ because of the horrible damage they inflicted upon the hapless pitchers tasked with stopping them.
Led by the 60 Home Run Babe Ruth and 175 RBI Lou Gehrig, the Yankees won 110 games in the season and to emphasise their dominance swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. What that season closer lacked in jeopardy, it made up for in sheer swaggering brilliance.
The thing about baseball is that there’s loads and loads of it. So for the teams getting thrashed daily by the Yankees it became a unique form of torture.
Joe Judge, a first baseman for rivals Washington Senators, famously said: “Those fellows not only beat you but they tear your heart out. I wish the season was over.” And with stirring speeches like that we can only imagine the mood in the locker room before games against the Yankees was truly bleak.
However, many onlookers who weren’t watching their hardest pitches get hit out of the stadium repeatedly credited the Yankees of 1927 with reigniting the nation’s love for the sport after it was tarnished by the 1919 Black Sox scandal when eight members of the Chicago White Sox team threw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds for match fixing reasons.
Brazil national football team – 1970 World Cup
Even if you weren’t even alive to see Brazil in the 1970 World Cup, today when you think of Brazilian football this is what you’re picturing.
After his dynamite debut in the 1958 World Cup, teams had somewhat neutralised the threat of Pele by kicking the shit out of him, but in 1970 he showed the true extent of his genius, playing a role in 14 of Brazil’s 19 goals, including scoring the opener in their 4-1 demolition of Italy in the final.
The attacking combination of their front five – Pele, Gerson, Tostao, Rivelino and Jairzinho – made for a kind of fluid attacking football that had never been seen before and arguably hasn’t been seen since.
In fact it was so good that for decades Brazil teams have been berated for not matching up to the standards that Pele and his teammates set. It was a pretty tough act to follow.
Sadly thieves eventually did what no team could do in 1970 and took the Jules Rimet Trophy out of Brazilian clutches. It is believed that it was melted down but surely not before the criminals had a few gos at kissing and lifting the trophy.
New Zealand rugby – 2015 World Cup
The All-Blacks became the first team to win back to back Rugby World Cups and they did it in the most satisfying way possible by smashing rivals Australia 34-17 in the final at Twickenham.
The biggest test came in the semi-finals when New Zealand had to dig deep to see off a spirited South Africa 20-18, but few French fans or players will ever forget the 62-13 rout they inflicted in the quarter-finals.
While past New Zealand teams had somewhat flattered to deceive, there’s something magical about the All Blacks and they often seem to have the game won during the Haka – watching that would leave even the most committed of athletes tempted to make a polite excuse and walk off before the whistle sounds.
It remains to be seen whether they can lift a third consecutive World Cup in Japan on November 2, but when it comes to rugby union no team can claim to be as iconic as the All Blacks.