Monday, December 21, 2009
Extra time in the 1978 World Cup Final. Amidst a series of Argentine attacks that had begun to resemble cavalry charges, Mario Kempes slalomed through the Netherlands defence for 2-1. But the goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed blocked the shot. The ball ricocheted off Kempes, arced into the air and for a moment the watching world held its breath...
Argentina were awarded the tournament in 1964 but by the time 1978 came round the country was ruled by a ferocious military junta that had disappeared 30,000 of its own citizens and were desperate for the World Cup victory that would lend a legitimacy to their regime. As such, the 1978 World Cup became the most politicised sporting event since the Berlin Olympics of 1936.
The on-field architecture designed for the tournament were goalnets supported by fancy L's and posts with distinctive black bands round the base. For the second successive tournament they were newly installed and uniform across all 6 stadia .
On a carpet of bogroll and shredded newspaper the generals got their victory but at what price to the game? The new world champions stood accused of gamesmanship, intimidation and bribery. For the future of football the world held its breath.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Before the violence and negativity of the 1986 and 1990 tournaments plunged the game to new depths of despair, the 1974 World Cup with its miserly 2.55 goals per game was considered the nadir of football history. At a distance of 35 years it can now be seen as the apotheosis of European football. Holland destroyed Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. West Germany became champions and the pace and tempo demonstrated by each became the new standard in world football
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The 1970 finals were the first to be broadcast live in colour and they're rightfully remembered for the champions Brazil's kaleidoscope of 19 goals from 6 games - including the four in the final against Italy, into the L supports at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City -
and 15 goals in their five games at the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara - 16 if this one had gone in!
(spy those Stamford Bridge lookalikes. And while you're at it, (see the influence of colour TV at Manchester City).
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Considering England were awarded the 1966 finals for forming the FA a hundred years before, that their side became champions with no-wingers and a formation that firmly turned its back on Hungary and the lessons of '53 and that the goalnets were hung mostly on stanchions as English as World Cup Willie then those finals could be seen as the empire's last hurrah.
But with journalists from a greater diversity of countries than ever before attending the tournament, the matches broadcast live to the world for the first time and these Continental D's supporting the nets at Hillsborough, Sheffield -
the 1966 finals could as easily be seen as the first of the modern tournaments.
Games for the 1966 finals were held at Wembley, Old Trafford, Hillsborough and 5 other stadia including White City Stadium, London - used only because Wembley refused to cancel the scheduled greyhound racing for the same night as Uruguay v France, hence the temporary look of the goalposts.
Monday, December 7, 2009
The Chilean FA told FIFA they had to give Chile the World Cup "because we have nothing else." So Chile won the rights to host the 1962 tournament and they got plenty in return: Garrincha in his prime, the Italy v Chile Battle of Santiago and these stanchions of almost perfect quarter circumference on which to hang the tournament's nets.
Though football on TV was in its infancy and the matches at the '62 finals were not broadcast live, the influence of the tournament could be seen in the stanchions installed at stadia as diverse as Estadio Bernabeu, Madrid -
and Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh