Friday, October 7, 2016
Match of the Day - International Special
This week's Match of the Day is a World Cup qualifying special.
It previews this weekend's England v Malta match by looking back at the teams' previous game at the old Wembley Stadium, in May 1971.
It was back in the day when England could be expected to run riot against opposition such as Malta and they (particularly Martin Chivers) did, winning 5-0.
Much has changed since then, not least the Wembley goal nets.
Life was simpler then...
In retaining the ball behind the goalkeeper, the Wembley nets of 1971 keep things simple and, as such, are perfectly in keeping with a routine win for England over Malta.
At least three of the goals scored in 1971 would rebound round the goal like a pinball or out to the penalty spot if scored into the Wembley nets of today.
I read this week online that such rebounds add a "spectacular" element to the goal scored.
If true - it's not, but if true - this would change the optics of the five goals scored in 1971 from the mundane to the spectacular and would distort the nature of the England victory over a then lowly Malta.
Simple can be beautiful too.