International Football

World Cup 2014: A year, a word – 1966-1986

World Cup postersThe World Cup brings many memories and they are not always on the field of play. Nobby Stiles dancing, the ubiquitous “John 3:16” banners in Mexico, Gazza’s tears, England’s penalties. And on the field: Pele, Cruyff, Maradona, Moore, Eusebio, Rossi, Kempes….we’ve seen them all. Here’s a few memories from 1966 to 1986. In the second part of this feature, we will relive 1990 to 2010.

66 on 66: Dressed in red, white and blue – UK public tolerance 100%

England start slowly. Uruguay stifle, Mexico capitulate and France complain as England go through. Italy beaten by Pak Doo Ik. “Animals” and North Koreans are disposed of and then Eusebio cries all the way to the third-fourth place game. Geoff Hurst scores three, one doesn’t cross the line, but West Germany are beaten 4-2. Alf Ramsey doesn’t smile as England win the cup.
Best player: Eusebio.  Best team: Portugal.  Best game: Portugal 5 North Korea 3.
Entertainment: 3.5 (out of 5)

Goals per game: 2.78
Attendances (average): 51,094
Left-field: Pickles the dog and World Cup Willie.

70 on 70: Mexico, you’re going to see a great show – UK public tolerance 90%

Brazil dance their way through the competition. Gerd Mueller scores goals aplenty for West Germany, Peru take spectacular free-kicks. Bobby Moore’s tackles shown forever on TV as shot-shy England struggle to score goals. They throw away a 2-0 lead to lose 2-3 to the Germans in last eight. Peter Bonetti is blamed for the rest of his days. Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in the most replayed final of all time.
Best player: Pele.  Best team: Brazil.  Best game: Italy 4 West Germany 3.
Entertainment: 5
Goals per game: 2.97
Attendances: 50,127
Left-field: The incredibly long Mexican national anthem. England singing “Back Home”.

74 on 74: Total football, total shame – UK public tolerance 75%

Johann Cruyff invents the turn. Holland play superb “total” football, the best on view.  East beats West in the German derby in Berlin, courtesy of Juergen Sparwasser.  Brazil resort to bully-boy tactics.  Scotland are unbeaten. Poland are Holland-lite, with Lato the top scorer. West Germany come good in the latter stages. The final sees Holland ahead in the first minute, but they forget to win, the Germans come back to triumph 2-1 in Munich.
Best player: Johann Cruyff.  Best team: Holland.  Best game: West Germany 4 Sweden 2.
Entertainment: 4

Goals per game: 2.55
Attendances: 46,685
Left-field: Cruyff’s different shirt…two stripes good, three stripes bad.

78 on 78: Que Grande Kempes – UK public tolerance 80%

Enter the ticker-tape crowds and a huge military presence. Argentina play exciting, cavalier football, with straggly-haired  Kempes and Luque leading the way. Scotland screw up, despite beating Holland in the group. Archie Gemmill scores a life-time goal. Cruyff-less Holland work their way to the final and Argentina beat Peru 6-0 in a trade-related deal. Argentina are pegged back in the final to 1-1 by the Dutch, who then hit the post. Two extra time goals win it 3-1.
Best player: Mario Kempes.  Best team: Argentina.  Best game:  Holland 2 West Germany 2
Entertainment: 4
Goals per game: 2.68
Attendances: 40,688
Left-field: We’re on the march with Ally’s Army

82 on 82: Rossi upsets the status quo – UK public tolerance 85%

Brazil  – Socrates and all –  should have won it, but Paulo Rossi beat them 3-2  in the second stage. France on fire but undone by a challenge by German keeper Toni Schumacher on Patrick Battiston. France lose on penalties in that semi. England can’t score goals. Keegan plays 26 minutes and misses a point-blank header in the final game with Spain. Italy beat West Germany 3-1 in the final. Tardelli waves his arms in celebration, an image that has lived on.
Best player:  Socrates  Best team: Brazil.  Best game: Italy 3 Brazil 2.
Entertainment: 3
Goals per game: 2.81
Attendances: 40,572
Left-field: Bryan Robson wins a watch for the fastest goal

86 on 86: Hand of god and all that – UK public tolerance: 90%

England threaten to implode, Bryan Robson’s shoulder and a Ray Wilkins red card dominate the early games. Gary Lineker comes into his own, scoring a hat-trick against Poland and ending up top scorer. Maradona adopts “Man of Destiny” role, scoring the famous handball goal and the great slalom against England in the last eight.  France fall again at the penultimate hurdle against West Germany. Maradona sets-up Argentina to win 3-2 against West Germany, who come back from two-down but get caught on the break.
Best player: Diego Maradona.  Best team: Argentina.  Best game:  Denmark 6 Uruguay 1.
Entertainment: 3.5
Goals per game: 2.54
Attendances: 46,020
Left-field: The Danish “rooligans”, John 3:16

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