Thursday, December 31, 2009

Greatest World Cup Matches: West Germany-East Germany (1974)

Football is more than just a game: as the “real” world unfolds, football becomes caught up in it, and particular matches have particular political symbolism. One such match was when West Germany played East Germany in the 1974 World Cup.
Since the end of WWII the divided Germany had become the main arena for the ongoing Cold War between East and West. While the World Cup in West Germany had been decided in 1966, the early 1970s were full of political tensions that more or less indirectly affected the world cup: the USSR did not participate after they refused to play a play-off match against the newly installed Pinochet regime in Chile, and security during the tournament was intense after the Palestinean terrorist attacks during the Olympics games in Munich two years before as well as the fear of the German Rote Armee Fraktion.
It was thus part of the political tensions when West Germany and East Germany drew each other in the first round of the World Championship to play in what is surely the most politically tense match in the history of the world cup (and that is why it is included here); the two Germany’s has started a process of normalization in the early 1970’s, and had only recognised each other in the Basic treaty of 1972.
As soon as it became clear that the two teams would face each other in a serious match for the first time ever (they had met in Olympic amateur matches), the “brotherly” match between the two German nations become more than just a football match, catching the attention of not only the politicial leadership of the two countries, but also of the people’s of both countries.
The match was to be the last match of the first round, which had started well for both teams: West Germany had defeated Chile and Australia, while the East Germans had defeated Australia and tied Chile. As Australia and Chile tied 0-0 in their last match, it became clear that both German teams would qualify, no matter the result of the match in Hamburg.
Still, it was an important match, and for sure the West Germans were huge favourites: besides being at home, the team was defending European champions, and had a core of players from the Bayern Munich team that barely a month earlier had lifted the European Champions Cup trophy after crushing Atlético Madrid in the final.
Nevertheless, the East Germans had a good team as well; the East German champions FC Magdeburg had also had European glory a month before when they won the European Cup winners Cup by defeating AC Milan 2-0. Many players had good Olympic experience, having won bronze at the 1972 Olympics (and they would win gold in 1976).
Besides each team’s strength, the players from both sides were very aware of the importance of the match. Still, the West Germans were, prior to the match, largely dismissing the East Germans, sure of a victory that would give them the group victory. In spite of this apparent arrogance, many East German fans supported the West German side, living as they did under a communist regime that was highly restrictive. Only 1500 specially selected East German fans were allowed to travel to Hamburg by train, for a match with 60,000 spectators.
It was not the best match though. The West Germans were perhaps surprised by the well-organised East Germans, but the match in first half didn’t flow well, although both teams had chances that should have resulted in goals. This theme continued in the second half, until a long ball was kicked towards the Magdeburg striker Jurgen Sparwasser, who in full speed got in between three German defenders and kicked the ball over the legendary West German goalkeeper Sepp Maier.
This goal was enough for the East Germans to win the group, and they celebrated when the referee ended the match. This was a victory that resounded in the world.
However, the continued world cup went differently for both teams. East Germany, who had paradoxically won the group, now had to face the strong sides of Brazil and the Netherlands, and were indeed eliminated. On the other hand, West Germany had an easier draw and won ther rest of their matches, also the final against the Netherlands, to become world champions, and easily forget the humilliating defeat against East Germany.
In the qualifiers for the European Championship of 1992, East and West Germany drew each other. However, before they could meet towards the end of 1990, political events overtook them: the wall fell and the two Germanies were reunified, and has since played as one country.
Still, their encounter in 1974 will be remembered as the most important match these two nations played at a time when Germany was two.

Match Stats:
  • 22nd June 1974, Volksparkstadium, Hamburg
  • Attendance: 60,350
  • Referee: Ramón Barreto Ruiz (Uruguay)
West Germany-East Germany 0-1
Goals: 0-1 Sparwasser (77)

West Germany: Maier; Vogts, Breitner, Schwarzenbeck (Hoettges), Beckenbauer, Cullmann, Grabowski, Overath (Netzer), G. Muller, Hoeness, Flohe
East Germany: Croy; Kurbjuweit, Bransch, Weise, Kreische, Waetzlich, Lauck, Sparwasser, Irmscher (Hamann), Kische, Hoffmann

Friday, December 25, 2009

My top ten favourite teams of the year

This is my personal top-ten list of the best teams of the year 2010:
10) VfL Wolfsburg: surprising winners of the Bundesliga under Felix Magath.
9) Brazil: came out again as huge favourites for the World Cup, qualifying in South America and winning the Confederations Cup in awesome style
8) Bordeaux: Broke the dominance of Olympique Lyon winning the French league and was splendid in the CL.
7) Chelsea: Did not win the Premier League, but are leading the PL 2009-10 under Ancelotti. They did win the FA Cup and have been outstanding in the 2009-10 CL. In the 2008-09 CL they are remembered for a splendid quarterfinal against Liverpool and a dramatic semifinal against FC Barcelona.
6) Switzerland u-17: Surprising world champions of the u-17, first time they participated, defeating Nigeria in the final in Abuja.
5) Ghana u-21: The strength of Ghanean youth football was shown when they won the u-20 world cup for the first time, and giving further hope for the huge progress in Ghanean football (Ghana is, according to myself, the most serious African candidate to reach the world cup final)
4)Estudiantes de La Plata: Argentinean Apertura Champions, winners of the Copa Sudamericana, and vice-champions of the world.
3) Shakhtar Donetsk: Somewhat surprising winners fo the UEFA Cup, and did well in the CL in an extremly difficult group.
2) Manchester United: Premier League champions in awesome style, they were nevertheless overrun by an extraordinary Barcelona in the CL final. Still, vying for the PL first place and continue strong in the CL.
1) FC Barcelona: has won every single tournament they have participated in this season, as the first team ever (Spanish Cup, Spanish League, Spanish Super Cup, CL, European Super Cup and World Club Championsip) and the team under Pep Guardiola plays some of the most beautiful football ever seen. Simply awesome.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Greatest World Cup Matches: Yugoslavia-Zaire (1974)

Zaire in 1974 was ruled by the despotic ruler Mobutu Sese Seko who ruled the country with an iron fist, and at the same time wanted to make the country a beacon of African sports. In December 1973 the Zairian national team, also known as “the Leopards”, became only the third African country to ever qualify for a World Cup, when they defeated the otherwise fancied Moroccans (who had qualified in 1970) 3-0 in an intense match in Kinshasa.
Zaire was the first sub-Saharan African country to ever qualify for a World Cup, and the country was ecstatic: Mobuto Sese-Seko gave each player a car and a house, and made high promises to the expectant players who would nevertheless go on to make a pathetic debut for sub-Saharan Africa in the World Cup.
The Africans were paired in a group with Brazil, Scotland and Yugoslavia. In their opening match, they lost 2-0 to Scotland, and were in their second match to face the strong Yugoslavs, who had opened their participation by tying 0-0 with the defending world champions of Brazil.
Zaire in fact had a Yugoslavian coach, who had been paid by Mobuto Sese-Seko’s millions: Blagoja Vidinic had also brought Morocco to the World Cup in 1970, and had now repeated the feat with the Zaireans. However, the team was, prior to the match against Yugoslavia, plagued by problems outside Vidinic’s control: in the despotic atmosphere of intimidation and rewards, the Zaireans players, who were expecting to be well-rewarded for their participation, were told that they would not be paid for their participation. At first, the players refused to play, but when threatened by the vicious secret service of Mobuto Sese-Seko, nevertheless went on the pitch for one of the most humiliating defeats in world cup history: the Zaireans hardly fought as the well-playing Yugoslavs ran around them on the pitch. The score was 5-0 after only half an hour, with five different goal-scorers. The Yugoslavs, seeing that they didn’t need to press the result, somewhat relaxed in the second half, but still made it to a stunning 9-0 win, with the Velez Mostar striker Dusan Bajevic (and current AEK Athens coach) scoring three of the goals.
At the time, this was the greatest defeat ever in world cup history (until 1982, when Hungary defeated El Salvador 10-1) and sub-Saharan Africa had been thoroughly humiliated.
The Zairean authorities immediately went on to put the blame on Vidinic, while the players had to be threatened from not being allowed to return home in case they were again humiliated by the Brazilians in their last match (they lost 3-0).
With a pathetic score of 0-14 and three defeats, the debut of sub-Saharan Africa in the World Cup was nothing to be proud of, but was fortunately only a one-off incident as other African nations were soon to take over and raise Africa’s profile in the world cup.

Match Stats:
  • 18th June 1974, Parkstadium, Gelsenkirchen
  • Attendance: 20,000
  • Referee: Omar Delgado (Colombia)
Yugoslavia-Zaire 9-0
Goals: 1-0 Bajevic (8); 2-0 Dzajic (14); 3-0 Surjak (18); 4-0 Katalinski (22); 5-0 Bajevic (30); 6-0 Bogicevic (35); 7-0 Oblak (61); 8-0 Petkovic (65); 9-0 Bajevic (81)

Yugoslavia: Maric; Buljan, Hadziabdic, Katalinski, Bogicevic, Petkovic, Oblak, Surjak, Acimovic, Dzajic, Bajevic
Zaire: Kazadi (Tubilandu); Mwepu, Mukombo, Buhanga, Lobilo, Kilasu, Mana, Kembo, Kidumu, Ndaye, Kakoko (Maku)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top ten best players in 2009

My personal list of my 10 favourite players in 2010:
10) John Terry: Strong for Chelsea and for England.
9) Michael Essien: Scored one of the best goals of the year against Barcelona in the CL and has been one of the best players in the PL. His has besides this also been an important part of Ghana's awesome Worle Cup qualifying side.
8) Didier Drogba: The world's best forward he has been strong for Chelsea and for Cote d'Ivoire's World Cup qualifiers.
7) Juan Sebastian Veron: I have always had my doubts about him, but he has had a rennaisance in Estudiantes de la Plata's winning side, and has returned to the Argentine national team where I hope he does better than he has done before.
6) Cristiano Ronaldo: Was hugely important in Manchester United's championship side, and has started well in Real Madrid, although his contribution to the Portuguese national team has been weaker.
5) Iker Casillas: In my view the undisputeable best goalkeeper in the world. Crucial for Real Madrid and for Spanish national team.
4) Kaka: Was extraordinary for Brazil, taking on the leadership role the team needs. He has also been strong when starting for Real Madrid.
3) Xavi: same as for Iniesta. I don't know which one is more important, but I enjoy Iniesta slightly more.
2) Andres Iniesta: Him and Xavi are the heart of Barcelona's awesome side.
1) Lionel Messi: the most beautiful and exciting to watch, he seems to be able to do everything, but is also modest and recognises the importance of the team around him. A true football star.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lionel Messi, Balon d'Or

In connection with Lionel Messi winning the prize of the best footballer of 2009, he gave a very interesting interview in the Spanish paper El Pais, where the world's best footballer comes out very well, mature and modest. He admits his errors and that he has learned to be a team-player in FC Barcelona, and that it is better to win with the team that these individual prizes. He also talks marvels of his coach, Guardiola, as well as his team-mates (also former team-mates like Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho): he says he does not understand the things Andres Iniesta and Xavi can do with a ball - "things I cannot do!" (is there really anything Messi cannot do?).But most interestingly is his admission of the difficulties of coming to Barcelona when he was only 12, and how it hurts him when he is accussed in his home-country of not being a real Argentinean, although he says he feels it in his heart. I guess that is where I most sympathise with Messi, and the world around us that wants to put us all in nationalistic boxes! I know that Messi will play with his heart for Argentina in the World Cup!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Barcelona World Champions

2009 has been the year where FC Barcelona has won absolutely everything, today adding the last title: Club World Champions, after winning the final of the FIFA Club World Championship in Dubai against the Argentinean club Estudiantes de La Plata.
While it was highly expected that the match would be kind of a walkover for the Catalonians, it proved much harder than that for FC Barcelona, who eager to add this title to their list, played with their absolute strongest line-up: Estudiantes de La Plata played an extraordinary first half, where the veteran Juán Sebastián Verón played an amazing match, and the Argentineans went ahead 1-0. In the second half FC Barcelona started putting pressure on Estudiantes, who defended bravely and was still dangerous on the counter-attacks. Although Messi and in particular Ibrahimovic were very dangerous, it was only two minutes before the end of the match when FC Barcelona managed to equalize by way of a header of the young Pedro. In extra time the saviour for FC Barcelona was yet again Messi, who has been instrumental in FC Barcelona's extraordinary year.
Estudiantes de La Plata, a defensive but well-playing and galant side, did not manage to equalize, but certainly showed that they are indeed one of the best teams in the world!
But congratulations to Barcelona, who have now won it all!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Greatest World Cup Matches: Brazil-Italy (1970)

Expectations to Brazil, who had been outstanding during the entire tournament, were huge before the final, where the somewhat cynical Italians would nevertheless not be an easy task.
Brazil was coached by Mario Zagallo, who had played in the 1958-world champions side in Sweden. He had taken over the team after the previous coach, João Saldanha, had resigned amid pressure to include some of the immensely talented players on the Brazilian team. This did not seem to affect Zagallo, who put an extraordinary team together.
Of course, most outstanding among the stars was Pelé, who 29-years old was about to play his last World Cup, also the crowning achievement of his career. Other players were: the Botafogo striker Jairzinho, who had scored in every match of the tournament (and scoring in the final, he is one of only three players, the other being Alcides Ghiggia and Just Fontaine, to have done this); the São Paulo midfielder Gerson, who was and still is considered one of the best passers of all time; the captain of the team, Carlos Alberto, perhaps the best defender in Brazilian football ever; the outstanding left-winger with the powerful left-foot (Mexican fans in the tournament had dubbed him “Patada Atómica”) Rivelino, from Corinthians, who is today ranked as the fourth best Brazilian player of all time (after Pelé, Zico and Garrincha); Tostão, from Cruzeiro, a prolific goalscorer with outstanding passing abilities.
The team is arguably the best national team in the incredible history of Brazilian football.
In spite of being the underdogs, Italy, defending European champions, had a very strong team centered around AC Milan’s Gianni Rivera, an incredibly strong and well-organised defense, and some powerful strikers in Cagliari’s Gigi Riva and Inter’s Roberto Boninsegna. Their way to the final had nevertheless not been overly impressive with two 0-0 ties against Israel and Uruguay and a 1-0 win against Sweden. Italy had then defeated the home side of Mexico 4-1 in the quarterfinals, and then West Germany 4-3 in the semifinals in a memorable extra-time drama. The Italians had not been overly popular for their defensive style, and most fans in the full Azteca Stadium were most eager to see the Brazilian attacking machine in action.
The match was more than a match for the world championship: both teams could get their third win, and thus get the Jules Rimet trophy for good.
The game between the two different styles of football started as was expected, with Brazil attacking and the Italians defending, hoping to get a lucky strike and defend. However, after 18 minutes Brazil took the lead by what is probably Pelé’s most famous goal: after a throw-in, Rivelino crossed the ball into the area from the left side, and Pelé rose majestically above the Italian defenders and headed downwards, not giving goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi a chance for catching the ball. This was Brazil’s 100th world cup goal ever, and had brought Brazil one step closer to the Jules Rimet trophy.
Although the Italians now had to attack, they patiently waited for their chance, and after 37 minutes it came; Clodoaldo clumsily made a back-heel pass that caught the Brazilian defense off guard, and a quick Roberto Boninsgna caught the ball, and alone with the goalkeeper Felix, equalized for Italy.
It was not a well-deserved goal, but Italy had shown that they could not be underestimated as the result held until halftime.
Italy continued defending in the second half, but this time the Brazilians made no mistakes in their continuous attacking. Twenty minutes into the second half Gerson scored a beautiful goal with a powerful shot outside the area, and only five minutes later a high ball into the Italian area was picked up by Pelé, who headed it on to Jairzinho, who pressed by an Italian defender nevertheless managed to push the ball into goal.
After this the result was clear: the tired Italian players had little response to the Brazilians, who made no mistakes and instead continued attacking. Only four minutes before the end of match beautiful Brazilian combinations ended with Pelé, who without looking up somehow saw Carlos Alberto coming from behind in full speed into the Italian penalty box; Pelé set up the ball perfectly for the Brazilian captain, who with a precise and hard shot made it 4-1 for what was undoubtedly the best team in the world, and playing a style of football that captivated the entire world.
Brazilian coach Mario Zagalo had become the first man ever to become world champion as player and as coach, while Pelé had won his third title, sealing his status of one of the greatest football legends of all time. Brazil had become an outstanding world champion, and won the Jules Rimet trophy for their permanent ownership (in 1983 the trophy was stolen from the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters, and has never been recovered).

Match Stats:
  • 21st June, 1970, Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
  • Attendance: 107,000
  • Referee: Rudi Gloeckner (West Germany)
Brazil-Italy 4-1
Goals: 1-0 Pelé (18). 1-1 Bonninsegna (37), 2-1 Gerson (65), 3-1 Jairzinho (70), 4-1 Carlos Alberto (86)

Brazil: Felix, Carlos Alberto, Brito, Piazza, Everaldo, Clodoaldo, Gerson, Jairzinho, Tostao, Pelé, Rivelino
Italy: Albertosi, Cera, Burgnich, Bertini (Juliano), Rosato, Domeghini, Mazzola, de Sisti, Bonninsegna (Rivera), Riva

Champions League knock-out draw

The draw for the Champions League first knock-out round in February 2010 ahs taken place with the following teams set to face one another:
  • VfB Stuttgart-FC Barcelona: Surely challenging for the Germans against a Catalan side that is getting into gear.
  • Inter-Chelsea: A thrilling match where Jose Mourinho will face his former team, while Carlo Ancelotti will face his former arch-rivals.
  • Bayern Munich-Fiorentina: The Germans looked incredible when they destroyed Juventus, and Fiorentina should surely take notice!
  • CSKA Moscow-Sevilla: The Spaniards have looked very strong in the first round.
  • Olympique Lyon-Real Madrid: Another thrilling encounter that will see Karim Benzema against his former team-mates.
  • FC Porto-Arsenal: Both team can win this match that will surely be very close.
  • AC Milan-Manchester United: An anticipated encounter between two of the giants of European football.
Who can wait? I can´t...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Venezuelan national football team

Not counting the Guyanas and Surinam, there is only one country in South America that has never been to a World Cup: Venezuela. Considering that I love football so much, and that South America indeed is the powerhouse of football passion, it may seem ironic that I have recently moved to Venezuela.
Its special history and closer links to the Caribbean and the US, made that the main sport in Venezuela became baseball. It remains so, and Venezuelans are as passionate as any fan when the local baseball teams are playing. This surely contributed greatly to the fact that playing Venezuela was always a sure win for any team in the World Cup qualifiers and Copa America. Following the increased popularity of football in other baseball-crazed countries like Japan and the US, football also became more popular in the second half of the 1990s, with the national team becoming more competitive. By now, Venezuela is a team that all teams consider playing: in 2008 they defeated Brazil for the first time ever (in a friendly match) and for the 2010 qualifiers Venezuela had quite an amazing run, among other things defeating Ecuador in Quito, and ending only three points from what would have been a qualifying spot. The team has a core of talented players who have excellent experience from foreign clubs.
And it does seem that things are going in the right direction: youth teams are under development, and Venezuela recently played their first World Cup ever, the U-21 World Cup, eliminating the defending world champions of Argentina, and making it to the quarterfinals of the tournament! Since I have a good karma on the football of the countries I live in, I expect to see Venezuela do even better!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Greatest World Cup matches: Brazil-Uruguay (1970)

Twenty years after the most painful defeat in the history of Brazilian football in the World Cup final of 1950, Brazil and Uruguay were again facing each other in the semifinal of the World Cup in Mexico.
Both South American teams were strong, although the Brazilians had captivated the world with its beautiful style as they had cruised themselves to the final. In the first round Brazil had won all their matches against Czechoslovakia, Romania, and the defending world champions of England (a match remembered particularly for Gordons Banks spectacular save of a Pelé header), and in the quarterfinal had defeated Perú 4-2 in a match that arguably has been one of the most entertaining in terms of attacking technical football in the history of the world cup.
With Pelé as the star, the Brazilian team nevertheless had some of the most talented players of an entire generation of Brazilian football: Jairzinho, Rivelino, Tostão, Gerson, Clodoaldo and Carlos Alberto were some of the players of a team that by many is considered the best in the history of Brazilian football.
Uruguay played an entirely different defensive style of football than Brazil or Perú, and had more difficulty in reaching the semifinals: in the first round group they had just barely finished second behind Italy, after defeating Israel, tying with the Italians, and losing to Sweden.
In the semifinal Uruguay had defeated the USSR 1-0 after a extra time on a goal by Victor Espárrago in a match that was quickly forgotten. Uruguay’s star player was its goalkeeper, Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, who was also the best goalkeeper in the world at the time, and everyone was surely expecting his to have to play his best against the Brazilian attacking machine.
Due to its historical precedents, the match immediately caught the imagination of the world, in particular in Uruguay and Brazil, where a war of nerves ensued as the Uruguayans tried to appeal to the history of these matches: as some joked, Uruguay would be world champion every twenty years! (1930-1950-1970).
When Uruguay went ahead by 1-0 19 minutes into the match, it seemed history would repeat itself; the Uruguayans had played defensively and well-organized, and had scored by the Nacional player Luis Cubilla.
Although Brazil then tried attacking, it only bore fruit in the last minute of the first half when the extraordinary dribler Clodoaldo equalized for Brazil.
The Brazilians went out to the second half with a determination that history should not repeat itself, and there were some big chances before Jairzinho managed to bring Brazil ahead after a splendid pass from Tostão that split the Uruguayan defense.
Uruguay proved unable to respond, and in the last minute of the match Rivelino put the definitive score of 3-1 for Brazil with a shot from the edge of the area after a pass from Pelé.
The match is perhaps best remembered for a goal that wasn’t, and is perhaps considered one of Pelé biggest misses: on a one-on-one with Mazurkiewicz, Pelé totally confused the Uruguayan goalkeeper by letting the ball pass to the left of the goalkeeper while he himself runs around his right. Alone with goal, Pelé nevertheless miscalculates his shot, that goes wide of the goal.
Nevertheless, Brazil had been victorious and were now ready to take on the Italians in the final to finally exorcise the painful memories of 1950.

Match Stats:
  • 17th June, 1970, Guadalajara, Jalisco
  • Attendance: 61,000
  • Referee: José Maria Ortiz de Mendibil (Spain)
Brazil-Uruguay 3-1
Goals: 0-1 Cubilla (19), 1-1 Clodoaldo (44), 2-1 Jairzinho (76), 3-1 Rivelino (89)

Brazil: Felix; Brito, Piazza, Carlos Alberto, Clodoaldo, Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostão, Pelé, Rivelino, Everaldo
Uruguay: Mazurkiewicz; Ancheta, Matosas, Ubinas, Montero, Mujica, Cubilla, Maneiro (Esparrago), Morales, Fontes, Cortez

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Last night's Champions League last round of the group stages saw some very impressive performances (for good and for bad):
1) Bayern Munich had their back against the wall in what would normally seem a very difficult away game against Juventus, where the Germans needed a victory. Initially, they went down 1-0 on a goal by David Trezeguet, and it all seemed lost; but Bayern Munich never gives up, and on an impressive comeback they scored 4 goals by goalkeeper Butt, Ivica Olic, Mario Gomes and Tymoschuk, to give Juventus a historic ass-kicking. Any team should be nervous about drawing Bayern Munich in the next round.
2) I have always been a Michael Owen fan since his 1998 World Cup, and was happy and impressed to play overwhelmingly well and score three goals in Manchester United's away victory 3-1 against Wolfsburg.
3) Cristiano Ronaldo had an off-day in the Spanish league last weekend, getting a red card and missing a penalty. He certainly showed them today against Olympique Marseille, where Real Madrid got a difficult away victory of 3-1, and Cristiano Ronaldo was man of the match and scored on an incredible free kick.
4) Atlético Madrid has had a lousy CL season, and although they had no chance at home against FC Porto, their 0-3 defeat at home was still pathetic, and although Atlético Madrid is to play the Europa League, one has the feeling that they will be easy prey there as well.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Manchester City-Chelsea

I haven't watched much football for a while, and after a busy week, I found a pub to drink beer and relax in Caracas, Venezuela. The game to watch in the early afternoon (Venezuelan time) was Manchester City-Chelsea.
Chelsea are currently one, if not the, of the best teams in the world at the moment; leading the Premier League, they have seemed awesome under Carlo Ancelotti and were looking to cement their lead in this away match in Manchester. And it all looked to go as planned as Chelsea went ahead early on, by a clumsy own goal by Adebayor.
However, Manchester City has invested heavily in players, and has an excellent team, looking to threaten the hegemony of the "big four" in the Premier League, although this has so far eluded them. But this evening (afternoon in Caracas....) they rose to the challenge, and on goals by Adebayor and Carlos Tevez (on a direct free kick where Petr Cech was caught on the wrong leg) they deservedly took the lead, which could have been even larger. In the dying minutes, Frank Lampard missed a penalty chance to underservedly equalize for Chelsea, and the victory was City's.
It will be interesting to follow whether Manchester City can keep it up. And until then, I found a nice place to watch football in Caracas!

Friday, December 04, 2009

The World Cup draw

The draw for the World Cup in South Africa was today, and there are some very interesting matches to look forward to!

Group A:

  • South Africa
  • Mexico
  • Uruguay
  • France

The hosts of South Africa will be playing their opening match against Mexico in what is arguably one of the most difficult groups to predict. France may seem like the favourites, but neither Mexico or Uruguay should be underestimated!

Group B:

  • Argentina
  • Nigeria
  • South Corea
  • Greece

A very interesting group where Argentina and Nigeria are undoubtedly favourites; both teams have faced one another in very interesting matches before, for instance in USA 1994, where both teams also defeated Greece. The best Asian team will have its hands full in this group.

Group C:

  • England
  • USA
  • Algeria
  • Slovenia

A group where England are undoubtedly favourites in what will be a repeat of the legendary 1950 sensation where USA defeated England in the British team's first world cup ever. Algeria are participating again after 1986, while Slovenia are looking to improve their meager participation of 2002.

Group D:

  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Serbia
  • Ghana

Undoubtfully one of the most interesting groups. Germany are always strong, but will have their hands full against the Australians, who have been steadily improving for the last decade, Serbia, who have been awesome in their qualifying group ahead of France, and Ghana, who are surely Africa's most serious candidate for a finalist.

Group E:

  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Japan
  • Cameroun

Netherlands look as favourites against three teams that should undoubtfully not be underestimated, but in particularly Cameroun and Denmark will likely be fighting between them for the second spot.

Group F:

  • Italy
  • Paraguay
  • New Zealand
  • Slovakia

The defending world champions have had a lucky draw: the only team that apparently can threaten them are Paraguay, but then you have to be a staunch Paraguay supporter. Italy will probably go through on one 0-0 and two 1-0 victories.... It will be interesting to see the only debutants in the tournament, Slovakia.

Group G:

  • Brazil
  • North Corea
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Portugal

An extremely interesting group: the two lusophone powers Portugal and Brazil face one another, while Cote d'Ivoire is the African dark horse of the group, that could in fact take first place. North Corea is a totally unwritten team in all this, whose main asset seem to be their sensational tournament of 1966.

Group H:

  • Spain
  • Honduras
  • Chile
  • Switzerland

Spain enter the tournament as favourites yet again, but with a European Championship title. In 1982 at home, they totally missed their chance, for instance against Honduras, who will be looking to upset the Spaniards yet again in their second World Cup (I wouldn't put my money on it though...). Switzerland look strong yet again, but the really interesting team of this group is Chile, who under Marcelo Bielsa has bloomed into one of the teams to keep an eye on in this tournament!

The World Cup is on the way!

Greatest World Cup Matches: West Germany-Italy (1970)

West Germany entered the 1970 World Cup in Italy with a strong team of quite experienced players. Among them was Franz Beckenbauer, who only 25 years old already was one of the most experienced and established players in international football. The team was still captained by the legendary Uwe Seeler, who was playing his last World Cup, while the Bayern Munich striker Gerd Müller had seemed unstoppable, scoring seven goals in the first three matches, which the Germans won against Peru, Bulgaria and Morocco.
In the quarterfinals West Germany had played England, in a repeat of the 1966 final. This time though, the Germans were better prepared against an English team that was arguably better than it had been in 1966, but was apparently not well-adapted to the intense Mexican atmosphere. Also, Coach Alf Ramsey made obvious tactical changes when England could have carried the match away. In the end, West Germany won 3-2 after extra time, on a Gerd Müller goal.
This was only the second time England lost to West Germany, and as has happened so much since, the English swam over in references to the war.
Italy had not had good results for the World Cup for many years, but under coach Feruccio Valccareggi had built up a very strong team playing the reputed “Catenaccio” style, around a highly organised and very strong defense. The midfield led by AC Milan’s Gianni Rivera (who and 1969 had won the “Balon d’or” as best player of the year), and with powerful strikers, notably Gigi Riva from Cagliari (who is still the most scoring player in the history of the Italian national team). In 1968 Italy had won the European championship and was surely one of the best teams of the world at the time.
However, the Italians were not popular for their “catennaccio” style after their first round matches where they tied 0-0 with Uruguay and Israel, and defeated Sweden 1-0. In the quarterfinals they had nevertheless shown their attacking power against the hosts of Mexico, and won 4-1, and were now ready to the semifinal, where the winner would play the winner between Brazil and Uruguay.
The match in from of a full Azteca Stadium started well for the Italians: only eight minutes into the match the Inter striker Roberto Boninsegna got a return ball at the edge of the German area and resolutely shot and scored.
After this, Italy pulled back around its strong defense, and while the Germans had the ball the most, they were unable to open up the defense. It was frustrating for the many spectators as well as for the German players, to see the German team in possession and attacking, but unable to score. In particular Franz Beckenbauer was playing a strong match, and in the second half he dislocated his shoulder in a fearless tackle. However, unwilling to be substituted, the Bayern Munich star continued playing with a bandaged shoulder for the remainder of the match for what must have been a very painful sacrifice.
In the 90th minute of the match, the frantic German attacks finally paid off when the AC Milan defender Karl-Heinz Schnellinger (”Volkswagen”) suddenly found himself alone in front of the Italian goal on a cross by Jurgen Grabowski, and just had to put the foot on the ball, that went straight into the net. It was one of the few mistakes that the well-organized Italian defense had made.
West Germany had equalized and now seemed to have everything going for them as the match went into extra time.
Only four minutes later, Gerd Müller took advantage of a misunderstanding between the goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi and the defender Fabrizio Pelotti; when either decide to grab the ball, Gerd Müller quickly got in between them and squeezed the ball into goal for a German lead.
With the match completely turned on its head, it was now Italy’s turn to start attacking against the partly amputated German defense, and only four minutes later the Inter defender Tarcisio Burgnich scored after receiving a bounced off ball from a German defender. Another defensive mistake had equalized it for the Italians, who nevertheless continued attacking after the goal. At the end of the first half of the extra time, Gigi Riva was given too much space at the edge of the German area, and in spite of it not being a very hard shot, it was well-placed towards the far corner of the goal, and Sepp Maier had no chance.
The match had in fifteen minutes turned around twice!
Again it was West Germany’s time to attack as the teams went into the last fifteen minutes of the match, and after only a few minutes Gerd Müller scored to 3-3 on a header.
But the Italians, immediately when putting the ball into play, scored again, without the Germans even touching the ball: Boninsegna crossed the ball to a Gianni Rivera and the Milan striker made no mistake when carefully placing the ball perfectly behind Sepp Maier!
Anything seemed possible in this crazy semifinal, but it was the last goal of the extraordinary drama which Italy won 4-3 and put them in the World Cup final against Brazil.
An anecdote of this match tells that the guards at a prison near Acapulco, absorbed in the dramatic match on TV, didn’t notice the escape of 23 prisoners…
Surely one of the greatest World Cup dramas!

Match Stats:
  • 17th June 1970, Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
  • Attendance: 102,000
  • Referee: Arturo Yamasaki Maldonado (Peru)
West Germany-Italy 3-4 (After extra time)
Goals: 0-1 Boninsegna (8), 1-1 Schnellinger (90), 2-1 G. Muller (94), 2-2 Burgnich (98), 2-3 Riva (104), 3-3 G. Muller (110), 3-4 Rivera (111)

West Germany: Maier; Schnellinger, Beckenbauer, Schulz, Vogts, Seeler, Overath, G. Muller, Patzke (Held), Loehr (Libuda), Grabowski
Italy: Albertosi; Burgnich, Facchetti, Cera, Rosato (Poletti), Bertini, Riva, Domenghini, Mazzola (Rivera), De Sisti, Boninsegna

Friday, November 27, 2009

Greatest World Cup matches: Portugal-North Corea (1966)

After North Corea’s sensational victory against Italy in the first round, the Asians became very popular, and thousands of fans followed them to their quarterfinal encounter in Liverpool.
They were to face on the best teams in Europe at the time, Portugal, who was lead by the best player in Europe at the time, the Mozambican Eusebio.
Portugal had won their group after three consecutive victories against Hungary, Bulgaria, and the defending world champions of Brazil, in a match where the Brazilian star Pelé, had been slaughtered mercilessly and without any consideration from the English referee George McCabe in one of the great shames of the World Cup in England.
Nevertheless, Portugal were ready for the quarterfinal, and in spite of North Corea’s victory against Italy, the Portuguese clearly had their eyes on the semi-final, although the match was not as easy as the Portuguese had expected.
The North Coreans were obviously unimpressed by the European stars, and started attacking eagerly, and in one minute only went ahead on a splendid shot from outside by the captain Pak Seung-Zin to the delight of the 51,000 spectators.
And this did not stop the Coreans, who made up for the defensive weaknesses by continuing the attacking football and quick touches; although the Portuguese had some chances, mainly by the strong Eusebio, their defence looked very weak as the Coreans went ahead both 2-0 and 3-0 by the 25th minute in what was turning into an astonishing match.
But North Corea continued attacking, perhaps naively in a match where the Portuguese were more experienced and cynical. Only a few minutes after North Corea’s 3-0 goal, Eusebio scored coldly on a pass by his Benfica colleague José Augusto. This gave Portugal some faith at a moment when they were seemingly being overrun, and before half-time the Portuguese forced a penalty kick, where Eusebio scored to 2-3, the score at half-time.
The Portuguese came out to the second half with more concentration and marking the Coreans closer, and ten minutes into the second half Eusebio equalized with a splendid shot from a relatively sharp angle.
By then, the Portuguese were confidently on top of the match, and only three minutes later Portugal got a new penalty kick and Eusebio scored his fourth goal, bringing Portugal ahead. The match had now completely turned around thanks to the “Black Panther” from Mozambique, and only ten minutes before time José Augusto sealed the Portuguese victory with a header.
Eusebio had defeated North Corea, who nevertheless had been the great revelation fo the tournament, and had endeared many fans with their aggressive, quick and optimistic style. The North Coreans returned home as heroes, but were never to return to a World Cup, and the players that had made such a great feat all but disappeared, except from the world cup memory of such a great team.

Match Stats:
  • 23rd July 1966, Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Attendance: 51,000
  • Referee: Menachem Azkhenazi (Israel)
Portugal-North Corea 5-3
Goals: 0-1 Pak Seung-Zin (1), 0-2 Li Dong-Woon (22), 0-3 Yang Seung-Kook (25), 1-3 Eusebio (27), 2-3 Eusebio (43) (pen), 3-3 Eusebio (56), 4-3 Eusebio (59) (pen), 5-3 Augusto (80)

Portugal: Pereira; Vicente, Hilario, Coluna, Simões, Augusto, Eusebio, Graca, Morais, Torres, Baptista
North Corea: Lee Chan-Myung; Shin Yung-Kyoo, Lim Zoong-Sun, Pak Doo-Ik, Han Bong-Zin, Oh Yoon-Kyung, Ha Yong-Won, Im Seung-Hwi, Pak Seung-Zin (c), Yang Seung-Kook, Li Dong-Woon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Greatest World Cup matches: England-West Germany (1966)

For the World Cup in England the home nation was full of expectations. Having never won a World Cup before, everyone thought that England should excel at home, and had indeed assembled a very strong team, where the West Ham captain Bobby Moore, led what became the best defense of the World Cup. In midfield the star was Bobby Charlton from Manchester United, an extraordinary offensive midfielder who was awarded the title of best European player of the year of 1966.
In spite of this strong team, England had not had an easy time, and had mainly prevailed because of their strong defense that didn’t let in a single goal until the semifinal.
The English had been in a rather easy first round group which they had won ahead of Uruguay (a poor side that they had only managed to tie 0-0 with), and in the quarterfinal had won a narrow 1-0 victory against Argentina in a match that was marred by a controversial German referee who had left Argentina with ten men after expelling the Argentinean captain Rattin for not liking how he looked at him.
In the semifinal the English had strangely been allowed to change the venue of the match to Wembley, where the best defense of the tournament, England, had faced the best attacking side of the tournament, Portugal. In spite of allowing Eusebio to score the first goal against them, England won their best match in the tournament with two goals by Bobby Charlton, and was ready to play the final in Wembley against the rivals of West Germany.
The Germans had by 1966 again built up a strong disciplined team combining of experienced and young players. They were captained by Uwe Seeler, the Hamburg striker (who was playing his third World Cup), and had a strong and offensive midfield with Helmut Haller from Bologna. These were supplemented by a strong defense where a 21-year old player from Bayern Munich had been noted in the tournament: Franz Beckenbauer totally changed what it meant to be a defender, scoring many goals coming from his “free” position, and was to become one the greatest players of all time.
In the first round the Germans had won their group ahead of Argentina, Spain and Switzerland. In the quarterfinals they had destroyed Uruguay 4-0, and had in the semifinal defeated the USSR 2-1.
There were understandably huge expectations to the final between two European giants, but England were firm favourites in what was to become a legendary drama.
Helmut Haller brought West Germany ahead after twelve minutes after picking up a bad clearing from Ray Wilson. However, only five minutes elapsed before West Ham’s Geoff Hurst levelled the match for England. Geoff Hurst had only entered the tournament in the quarterfinal against Argentina as a substitute for Jimmy Greaves.
He was to become one of the great players of the final.
First half ended 1-1 in what had until then been an equal encounter.
The English entered the second half with the decision to create a result, and had much more possession in the second half, but without being able to force clear chances on the disciplined German defense. However, continued pressure finally bore fruit for the home side in the 78th minute: Allan Ball took a corner kick that reached Geoff Hurst, whose shot bounced off the foot of the Werder Bremen defender Horst-Dieter Höttges, and was picked up by another West Ham player, Martin Peters, who calmly placed the ball around the German goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski.
England was ahead 2-1 and the world cup title was within grasp; but the Germans never give up!
West Germany started to attack, hoping to get an equalizer, and only one minute before the end of the match when the defender Wolfgang Weber tackled his way to the far post after a free kick, and by way of his foot and an English defenders’ knee, pushed the ball into goal and an equalizer for West Germany.
Disappointingly for many English fans, the match had to go into extra time. In spite of both teams being exhausted, England apparently found some energy; notably the hard workingAllan Ball, who halfway through the first half of extra time, caught a ball at the far corner flag, and made a pass backwards to Geoff Hurst in the German area. Hurst stopped the ball and shot quickly and hard towards the goal. The ball hit the post and headed down, out of the goal, where a German defender headed it away as the English players lifted their arms appealing for goal.
It was impossible to see whether the ball had been in, but the referee, after consulting the linesman, awarded the goal to England.
This goal remained very controversial, but it has only been able to seen later with modern technology that the “whole of the ball” had not passed over the goalline, and therefore the goal should not have been allowed.
Nevertheless, this was impossible for the referee to see, and there was no doubt that England had been the better team and deserved to be ahead 3-2.
The Germans were very tired, and unable to respond to an English team that continued attacking. In the very last minute of the extra time Geoff Hurst received the ball in a counterattack and running towards the German goal scored his third goal and England’s fourth, which sealed their victory. Geoff Hurst to this day remains the only player in the history of the World Cup to have scored three goals in a final.
In spite of the controversial goal, nobody could take away that England, the home of football, had deservedly won its first (and to date only) World Cup title.
There have been many myths created around England’s triumph, but there was nothing particularly “gallant” about the English side: it was strong, they deservedly won the world cup on the two last matches, but had certainly had much favouring from FIFA in the form of venues and referees.
Still, football had returned home, at least for four years.

Match Stats:
  • 30th July, 1966 Wembley Stadium, London
  • Attendance: 96,994
  • Referee: Gottfried Dienst (Switzerland)
England-West Germany 4-2 (After Extra Time)
Goals: 0-1 Haller (12), 1-1 Hurst (18), 2-1 Peters (78), 2-2 Weber (90), 3-2 Hurst (98), 4-2 Hurst (120)

England: Banks, Cohen, Wilson, Stiles, J. Charlton, Moore, Ball, Hurst, R. Charlton, Hunt, Peters
West Germany: Tilkowski, Hottges, Weber, Schulz, Schnellinger, Beckenbauer, Haller, Overath, Seeler, Held, Emmerich

Friday, November 20, 2009

FIFA's hand job

Controversy surrounded France's qualification for the World Cup against Ireland. So much that French president Nicolas Sarkozy apologized while the Irish have demanded that the match should be replayed (this was rejected by FIFA).
The problem is France's equalizer in extra time (that brought France ahead 2-1 on aggregate, and gave them the spot in South Africa) where Thierry Henry is clearly seen handling the ball before passing it to Gallas who scores.
Cheating Frenchmen or a lousy referee? Who is to blame for this blatant injustice? I don't think it should be either Thierry Henry, the French players, or even the Swedish referee who was under horrible pressure.
Clearly FIFA is to blame: Firstly, FIFA changed the rules on the seeding before the play-offs, giving chance an "easier" opponent in Ireland. Now that France, with all its power and superstars are in, all is good! I have no doubt that had it been Damien Duff who had handled the ball to give Ireland a winner, FIFA would have called for a re-match.
Secondly, this decision just underlines FIFA's need to introduce TV cameras in refereeing! Just to use the example from another famous hand-goal, Maradona's against England in 1986, in the time the English/Irish players were protesting to the unwavering referees, the entire world saw the goals time and time again in replay! After one minute, the only person in the world that had not seen the hand was the man who has to make the decision: the referee!
Isn't the point to create the most fair results and best conditions for players, referees and fans?!? Apparently not for FIFA.
This is plainly stupid, and one has to suspect that FIFA, who are not stupid, must have ulterior motives for this?
It is a great pity for Ireland, but also for France, who will go to the World Cup under the shadow of poor sportsmanship.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

South Africa 2010: Qualified teams

The qualification for the World Cup is over, and the 32 countries that will be at the World Cup in South Africa are ready.

South America:
  • Brazil: the five-time world champions have participated in all previous 18 World Cups.
  • Paraguay: One of the strongest and most stable South American sides are participating in their seventh world cup, and fourth in a row.
  • Chile: Participating in their 8th World Cup with an outstanding side coached by the Argentinean Marcelo Bielsa.
  • Argentina: Maradona's team has qualified for their 15th World Cup.
  • Uruguay: The two-times World Champions were the last ones to qualify in their play-off against Costa Rica, to their 11th World Cup.
  • North Corea: Are participating in their second World Cup ever, their first being their very succesful 1966 World Cup.
  • South Corea: The Asian giants have qualified for the seventh time in a row, and eighth in total.
  • Australia: Qualifying from Asia, Australia have now made it to their third World Cup.
  • Japan: Entering their fourth World Cup in a row and in total.
  • South Africa (hosts): Without having to qualify, the South Africans will participate in their only third World Cup since their first in 1998.
  • Ghana: A succesful debut in 2006 will lead to high expectations in this their second World Cup.
  • Côte d'Ivoire: Their first World Cup of 2006 was unsuccesful, so they will be looking to improve it this second time.
  • Cameroon: Participating in their 6th World Cup makes them the most succesful African World Cup nation ever.
  • Nigeria: The African giants will be playing their fourth World Cup after a dramatic last-round qualifier against Kenya.
  • Algeria: Algeria was at their first World Cup in 1982, sensationally defeating West Germany, and in 1986. This is their third World Cup.
  • New Zealand: The absence of Australia from the Oceania qualifiers gave New Zealand the surprise participation in their second World Cup (the first being Spain 1982)
North America:
  • USA: Participated in 1930 and 1950, and in every World Cup since 1990.
  • Mexico: The North Americans are entering their 14th World Cup.
  • Honduras: Participated for the first time in 1982, and this will be their second time.
  • Netherlands: The Orange Dutch are participating in their 9th World Cup.
  • Denmark: Entering their fourth World Cup, their last one being in 2002 where England eliminated them in the last-16.
  • England: The 1966 World Champions are entering their 13th World Cup.
  • Spain: The defending European Champions are looking for the World Cup glory that has always eluded them in 12 previous participations.
  • Germany: As a united Germany they are participating for the seventh time (and here in include 1934 and 1938). As West Germany they participated ten times and won three. This will thus be their 17th tournament.
  • Italy: The Italians are going to defend their 2006 title in their 17th World Cup participation
  • Slovakia: As Slovakia they will be playing their first World Cup ever, but as Czechoslovakia played in eight World Cups.
  • Serbia: Participated nine times as Yugoslavia, once as Serbia-Montenegro in 2006, and this will be the first time they participate as Serbia alone.
  • Switzerland: The Swiss will participate in their 9th World Cup, and second in a row.
  • Slovenia: Their surprise qualification against Russia put Slovenia in their second World Cup ever.
  • France: The 1998 champions and 2006 finalists barely qualified to their 13th World Cup after a controversial goal against Ireland.
  • Greece: The 2004 European Champions coached by Otto Rehagel have qualified for their second World Cup.
  • Portugal: Probably one of the most talented nations in the world, but are only participating in their 5th World Cup.
It looks like it will be a great world cup on the variety of participation, but as in the latest World Cups, there should not be great expectations to the quality of football, although there will surely be some national dramas in the latter rounds. Some countries that have played poorly and been quite problematic will not be missed, such as Egypt, Sweden or Russia, but others will surely be missed, such as Turkey, Senegal, Angola and the Czech Republic. I will definetly miss Trinidad & Tobago!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Switzerland wins the 2009 U-17 World Cup

The 13th FIFA U-17 World Cup yesterday ended in Nigeria with a very dusprising 1-0 victory for Switzerland, the debutants of the tournament, who with this win their first international title. The victory was no less surprising as they were playing the defending champions of Nigeria in front of a very hostile home-crowd of 60,000 in Abuja.
But the Swiss youngsters seemed unmoved by the atmosphere, and are now deserved champions of the world!

China 1985
West Germany
Canada 1987
Ivory Coast
Scotland 1989
Saudi Arabia
Italy 1991
Japan 1993
Ecuador 1995
Egypt 1997
New Zealand 1999
Trinidad & Tobago 2001
Burkina Faso
Finland 2003
Peru 2005

South Corea 2007


Nigeria 2009


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heading to South Africa

New Zealand and Nigeria qualified for the World Cup yesterday, but other countries also either made sure they are going to be in South Africa, or took steps to it.
In Africa Cameroon finally qualified with a 2-0 away victory over Morocco, and are now the African nation that has participated in most World Cups.
One of the most awaited matches was surely Egypt-Algeria in Cairo. The match ended with a late Egyptian 2-0 goal that will force a re-match in Sudan on Wednesday, to decide which of the two will be going to the World Cup. According to some sources, before the match in Cairo, the Algerian team was attacked by Egyptian hooligans, and it seems the match was played in a very intimidating atmosphere. FIFA should certainly consider some sort of punishment for the Egyptians if this proves correct - these things don't belong in a World Cup participant!
In San José, Uruguay managed an important 0-1 victory against Costa Rica that puts them only one step away from South Africa, while in Europe, the four play-off matches left nothing for sure. Portugal barely managed to defeat an unlucky Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0, while Greece and Ukraine tied 0-0 in what sounds like a bore of a match.
Russia pressed and pressed for goals against Slovenia, but leading 2-0 gave away a late goal that can prove crucial for the next match on Wednesday in Ljubljana. France on the other hand seems to have taken a gigantic step with a 1-0 away victory against Ireland in Dublin with a goal of the ever-present Nikolas Anelka.
By next Wednesday we will know all the participants in the 2010 World Cup!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Zealand to South Africa

After 0-0 in Bahrain, New Zealand had all the advantages to progress to their second World Cup ever. 35,000 spectators in Wellington were an all-time record for a football match in New Zealand, and they were not disappointed as New Zealand managed to pull a narrow 1-0 victory on a goal by the Plymouth Argyle striker Rory Fallon.
Congratulations to New Zealand, although I do not expect much of them in South Africa, but the cheerfulness of their supporters!

Tunisia out, Nigeria in

Nigeria have just qualified for the World Cup after two dramatic matches in Nairobi and Maputo.
In Nairobi, Kenya was playing Nigeria. Nigeria was forced to win, and at the same time hope that Mozambique take points from Tunisia in Maputo. The Nigerians, who had never lost to Kenya before, were 1-0 down at half-time, while the score in Maputo was 0-0. The Tunisians apparently did not seem to worry about the prospects for their World Cup participation, and let Mozambique dominate, even as news 15 minutes into the second half must have arrived, that Obafemi Martins had equalized for Nigeria, and only a few minutes later, Nigeria went ahead 2-1, and only then did Tunisia bother to attack. But this didn't last long: Kenya equalized, and again Nigeria was out and Tunisia were in.
But the Tunisians apparently had their minds in Kenya; only seven minutes before the end Dario scored for Mozambique, and almost at the same time Martins scored his second and Nigeria's third goal, putting Nigeria back on track and Tunisia out.
It must have been desperate attacking from Tunisia in the dying minutes of the match, knowing the score in Nairobi, but Mozambique still won, and with the score also holding in Nairobi, Nigeria were in the World Cup.
What a drama! This is what football is about!

Nigeria is arguably one of the nations with most football passion, with an almost never-ending pool of immensely talented players (just look at their u-17 side presently playing at the World Cup!). They were greatly missed at the 2006 World Cup, but will surely be an asset in South Africa next year.
It is a pity for Tunisian football and fans, but they can only blame themselves.
Congratulations to all Nigerian fans, who are surely celebrating now!

Greatest World Cup matches: England-Argentina (1966)

England and Argentina have one of the most intense rivalries in world football, surely the only classical cross-continental footballing rivalry. Being two of the most passionate footballing nations in the world, and much more closely associated than many know (indeed, the English brought football to Argentina in the 19th century!), the matches they have played have been intense, passionate and controversial.
The rivalry started with this quarterfinal of the 1966 World Cup. Argentina had progressed with victories against Spain and Switzerland, and a 0-0 against West Germany, while England had defeated Mexico and France, while tying 0-0 with Uruguay.
While West Germany faced Uruguay, England faced Argentina in the quarter-final, and the English referee in the former match took the attention of the match as much as the German referee in the latter match, prompting theories of an Anglo-German conspiracy against the South Americans.
The referee of this match, Rudolf Kreitlein from West Germany, had a call that is still considered one of the strangest in World Cup football, and has led to many in Argentina calling this match the “Robbery of the century”: Argentina’s captain, the Boca Juniors legend Antonio “La Rata” Rattín, was suddenly in the 25th minute expelled from the match, being the first player ever to be expelled in a World Cup (red cards had not been introduced yet). In a long discussion with the referee, Rattin refused to leave, and called for a translator, but it was refused. Mr. Kreitlein argued that he had taken the decision, since he “didn’t like how he [Rattín] was looking at me.”
Of course, the entire match was overshadowed by this incident, but when watching the match again one cannot say that the match was specially violent (nothing in comparison with what Portugal had subjected Brazil to in the first round), and Alf Ramsey’s comment after the match seemed out of place: "It seemed a pity so much Argentinian talent is wasted. Our best football will come against the right type of opposition - a team who come to play football, and not act as animals."
This type of comment only added to the bad faith between the two teams, which Alf Ramsey was only too eager to promote: When looking at the TV pictures of the end of the match, one can see players peacefully congratulating each other and ready to exchange shirts, when an over-excited Ramsey runs onto the pitch to prevent the players from exchanging shirts.
In spite of only ten men for the most of the match, Argentina held on against a superior side, until the West Ham striker Geoff Hurst scored the winning goal on a beautiful header in the 78th minute on a great pass by the young Martin Peters.
Hurst had not played any of the first round matches, but had started against Argentina when Jimmy Greaves was injured.
England was the better team of the two in spite of Argentina playing a fine match. Still, the fact that they were better is certainly overshadowed by the bad refereeing, as much as it would be 20 years later in another World Cup quarterfinal...
To this date, there is nothing but hate between the English and Argentinean fans, which is a pity considering that they are both great teams that have played intense matches with lousy referees.

Match Stats:
  • 23rd July 1966, Wembley Stadium, London
  • Attendance 90,000
  • Referee: Rudolf Kreitlein (West Germany)
England-Argentina 1-0
Goals: 1-0 Hurst (78)

England: Banks; Cohen, Wilson, Stiles, J. Charlton, Moore, Ball, B. Charlton, Peters, Hunt, Hurst
Argentina: Roma; Irusta, Perfumo, Marzolini, Ferreiro, Rattin (RC, 25), Solari, Gonzalez, Ortime, Onega, Mas

Friday, November 13, 2009

World Cup play-off matches

The last entries for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be decided this week, and there are some very interesting encounters.
In Europe, FIFA changed the rules on seeding teams shortly before the play-off draw, giving the "big" teams a better chance at qualifying. The power of money and politics, but hopefully the underdogs can manage some upset in some of the following European play-off matches:
  • Portugal-Bosnia Herzegovina
  • France-Ireland
  • Greece-Ukraine
  • Russia-Slovenia
In Wellington, New Zealand will be taking on Bahrain in the second leg of the Asia-Oceania play-off match. The first leg ended 0-0 and the Kiwis are now looking towards their second World Cup participation, their first being in 1982.

In San José, Costa Rica will be playing the two-times world champions of Uruguay in the first leg of the CONCACAF-South America play-off match. The South Americans are probably looking for a good result before receiving the Costa Ricans in Montevideo. However, Uruguay has been known to underestimate visiting teams before, something that missed them their qualification in 2006.

Finally, the last African teams will be decided: In the CAF group A, Cameroon and Gabon will fight for the first spot in their away matches against Morocco and Togo respectively. Cameroon is currently leading the group by one point.
Tunisia is leading CAF group 2 by two points ahead of Nigeria. The Nigerians will be playing Kenya away, and must win, but a the same time must hope that Tunisia does not defeat Mozambique in Maputo.
Perhaps the most thrilling encounter of all will take place in Cairo, where the two North African giants Egypt and Algeria will be clashing in CAF group C. The first match in Algiers ended 3-1 for Algeria, so Egypt needs to win by more than two goals to qualify for the World Cup. In case of a victory by two, the teams will be completely equal on the table, and a play-off match will take place then. But be sure that the Algerians will fight for the first spot in the intimidating atmosphere of Cairo! This match is PG-13!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Greatest World Cup matches: Italy-North Corea (1966)

The World Cups have, especially in the start, been the complete dominance of South America and Europe. Therefore, throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, the “rest of the world”, that is, Asia, Africa and Australia had to play between them for one meager qualifying spot.
For the 1966 World Cup in England, this “rest-of-the-world” spot went to the small and closed Communist dictatorship of North Corea. Although nobody knew anything of the team, there was not any big respect, and many spoke degrading of the Corean side, which also started unimpressively by losing 0-3 to the USSR, and then tying 1-1 with Chile, in what everyone thought would be their only point.
Italy on the other hand had defeated Chile and lost to the USSR, but nobody thought this would be a big deal since they basically only needed a tie against North Corea to progress to the next round, but nobody, even the North Corean officials (who had made plane reservations home on the day after the Italy match), thought that the Italians wouldn’t win.
However, as the match got underway in Middlesborough it immediately became clear that it would not be a walkover for the Italians: the Coreans were quick, controlled the ball well, and attacked eagerly the Italians all over the pitch, and there was nothing to tell that they were the underdogs. The Corean’s excellent style quickly won them many fans in Middlesborough, where the fans openly cheered for the Asians.
In a 2002 BBC documentary about the match, the journalist Dan Gordon explained how the North Coreans in fact played a quick style of football that had seldom been seen in the more physically focused European pitches: “"Football in 1966 was incredibly slow, and nowadays teams play like the Koreans did in 1966.”
Five minutes before the end of the first half Corea went ahead 1-0 on a goal by Pak-Doo Ik, who, as all players on the North Corean side, was a member of the North Corean army, and was promoted to sergeant after his feat in the World Cup.
Italy was stunned, and was unable to respond in the second half.
North Corea won, and had made it to the quarterfinal, in what is arguably one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history.
The Italian team did not act as good losers, and said that the Coreans had changed players at half-time, but that since all looked the same, nobody could tell the difference.
Understandably and deservedly, the Italian players were received with a hail of insults in Italy.

Match Stats:
  • 19th July 1966, Ayresome Park, Middlesborough
  • Attendance: 18,727
  • Referee. Pierre Schwinte (France)
Italy-North Corea 0-1
Goals:Pak Doo-Ik (41)

Italy: Albertosi; Facchetti, Janich, Fogli, Guarneri, Landini, Mazzola, Rivera, Barison, Bulgarelli (c), Perani
North Corea: Lee Chan-Myung; Shin Yung-Kyoo, Lim Zoong-Sun, Pak Doo-Ik, Han Bong-Zin, Oh Yoon-Kyung, Ha Yong-Won, Im Seung-Hwi, Pak Seung-Zin (c), Yang Seung-Kook, Kim Bong-Hwan

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Champions League 2009-2010 4th round group stages

Liverpool had to defeat Olympique Lyon away after losing 1-2 at home in the previous round. But last night the English team only managed a 1-1 draw, and with 4 points it is now almost impossible that Liverpool progresses to the next round: Livepool must win their remaining two matches and Fiorentina must not win any of their remaining two matches (of which the last one is between Liverpool and Fiorentina, and could prove crucial!). Watching Liverpool play, this is not surprising: although managing to dominate at moments, and getting ahead on a beautiful strike by Marcus Babbel, Lyon was the better team, and it will in fact be interesting to see whether this season may be the one for the French side.
In fact, French sides seem on top this season: Bordeaux defeated Bayern Munich 0-2 in Germany to surprisingly take the top spot in group A ahead of Juventus, while Olympique Marseille is only one point behind AC Milan and Real Madrid in group C, and will have to face both in their last two matches. Real Madrid only managed to tie against AC Milan, and while they retain the second spot, they are not looking as strong as expected.
The defending champions of Barcelona are not looking as awesome as last season either, and are struggling in group D, which is certainly the most exciting group: Inter is leading with 6 points, just ahead of Rubin Kazan and Barcelona with 5 points, while Dynamo Kiev has 4 points on last place, but can still win the group! The next round where Spanish and Italians face each other will be nail-biting!
While Atlético Madrid has been hugely disappointing and is already out after only managing to tie Chelsea 2-2 and trailing FC Porto, Sevilla has been the most awesome Spanish team, and is sure to progress from Group D where Unirea Urziceni and VfB Stuttgart are to fight for the second spot.
Finally, Manchester United and Arsenal seem set to win groups B and H respectively, with Wolfburg (by the way, cool intro-music on their web-site!), CSKA Moscow, Olympiakos and Standard Liege all having chances of progressing with them.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Greatest World Cup matches: Brazil-Czechoslovakia (1962)

Since 1958 Pelé had become known as the best player in the world, and there were great expectations to the Brazilian national team as the World Cup returned to South America, to Chile specifically.
It was sadly one of the most vile tournaments in terms of fair play and bad refereeing, with some matches that will only go over to history for their violence, notably Yugoslavia-USSR and Chile-Italy.
It was this good to see that Brazil, playing their usual entertaining football, won the championship again, although there were doubts after the first match against Mexico, where Pelé, the 21-year old star of Brazil, was injured and was unable to play the rest of the tournament.
Fortunately, Brazil had other players that could take over, notably the star from Botafogo, Garrincha, as well as Pelé replacement, Amarildo, who scored both goals in Brazil’s first round victory against Spain, whose coach Helenio Herrera before the match had confidently said: “Brazil without Pelé is nothing. Who is Amarildo?”
In the quarterfinal Brazil defeated England, and in the semifinal had faced the host nation Chile, who had shown bad sportsmanship in their 2-4 defeat, playing so harsh that it provoked Garrincha to a red card that he was nevertheless forgiven for, so he could play the final against Czechoslovakia anyway.
Czechoslovakia and Brazil had faced each other in the first round, and tied 0-0, but the Czechoslovaks had not been impressive, and made it to the quarterfinal in spite of losing to Mexico. To their own and everyone’s surprise, including their own, Czechoslovakia had the defeated Hungary and Yugoslavia to reach the final, where Brazil nevertheless remained the favourites.
Still, the central Europeans were eager to play their chance, and were very organized and marking Garrincha very closely, not letting him do his usual rushes down the right side. After only fifteen minutes the Czechoslovak organisation seemed to pay off: Adolf Scherer, who had been their most scoring player in the tournament, made a pass that tore open the Brazilian defense, and Josef Masopust scored coldly (Masopust subsequently went on to become European player of the year in 1962, and the best Czech player of the century).
To everyone’s surprise Czechoslovakia was ahead, but it took only three minutes before Amarildo leveled for Brazil: rushing down the right side, Amarildo made a shot towards the far corner that the Czechoslovak goalkeeper Viliam Schrojf should probably have caught.
Viliam Schrojf, a veteran from two previous World Cups had otherwise been credited with much of Czechoslovakia’s success until then, but was in this final to have one of the worse matches of his career.
In spite of the equalizer, Czechoslovakia remained well-organised, and there were few chances as the second half started. And it was half-way in the second half when Brazil finally broke the Czechoslovak defence: Amarildo got away from a defender near the corner flag, and ran towards the goal; as defenders were approaching him to tackle, he lifted the ball towards the far post where Zito could head the ball into goal.
As the match was coming towards the end, Czechoslovakia did not have much to answer with, and instead Vavá brought Brazil ahead 3-1 on a grave mistake by Schrojf, where he dropped an apparently harmless ball at the feet of the Brazilian striker, who scored easily. Since Vavá had also scored in the final in 1958, Vavá was the first player ever to score in two different finals, a feat that has until today only been achieved by four players (Vavá, Pelé, Paul Breitner and Zinedine Zidane).
Brazil had won their second consecutive World Cup, even without their star, Pelé, and were undoubtedly the best team in the world.

Match Stats:
  • 17th June, 1962 Estadio Nacional, Santiago de Chile
  • Attendance: 68,679
  • Referee: Nikolai Latychev (USSR)
Brazil-Czechoslovakia 3-1
Goals: 0-1 Masopust (15), 1-1 Amarildo (17), 2-1 Zito (68), 3-1 Vavá (77)

Brazil: Gilmar, D. Santos, Mauro, Zozimo, N. Santos, Zito, Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Amarildo, Zagallo
Czechoslovakia: Schrojf, Ticky, Novak, Pluskal, Popluhar, Masopust, Pospichal, Scherer, Kvasnak, Kadraka, Jelinek

Friday, October 23, 2009

Greatest World Cup matches: Sweden-Brazil (1958)

Brazil didn’t start the sixth World Cup in Sweden very well: on their first two matches they had defeated Austria 3-0 and tied 0-0 against England (this was the first goalless draw in a World Cup), and it came down to their last first round match where they were facing a strong USSR side that still had a chance at the quarterfinals.
Since the Brazilians had looked too convincing in the first two matches, the Brazilian coach put two new players that had not played the first matches on the team: the Botafogo striker Garrincha, who was already known for his incredible dribbling abilities, as well as a 17-year old striker from Santos, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or rather, Pelé.
Although neither of the players scored, they were instrumental in giving Brazil a 2-0 victory against a stunned USSR team, where the captain, Igor Netto, later said that he was stunned at the Brazilians beautiful game.
And this match set the stage for what became a Brazilian theater of beautiful football, where players such as Garrincha, Vavá and most of all Pelé quickly became idols in Sweden. In the quarterfinals Brazil defeated Wales 1-0 on a lone goal by Pelé, and in the semi-final they trashed one of the best French sides in history (with thelegendary Just Fonaine, who became the most scoring player of the tournament, and until 2002 was still the most scoring player in history) 5-2, and again the 17-year old Pelé scored three goals.
Brazil was ready for the final where the entire world was eager to see this marvelous team!
In the meantime, the hosting Swedes had played well in solid victories against Mexico and Hungary and a tie against Wales in the first round. In the quarterfinal they defeated the USSR 2-0.
Not only benefitting from the home-advantage, Sweden also had a team of outstanding players, revolving around the AC Milan captain Nils Liedholm, the Roma striker Gunnar Nordahl (who had played in AC Milan for seven years, scoring 221 goals, and is still the second most scoring player in the history of AC Milan), as well as the ageing but legendary Gunnar Gren, who had played many years in Italy.
In spite of this, Sweden had during the tournament had some problems mobilizing its fans, who seemed to be rather indifferent to the home side’s results.
In the semi-final the Swedes played the defending world champions of West Germany. Finally the Swedish fans managed to get excited about their team, which played one of the most legendary matches in Sweden’s football history. Leading 2-1 Kurt Hamrin cemented the victory by scoring an extraordinary last goal in the 3-1 victory that took Sweden to the final (Kurt Hamrin, who the same year had changed from Padova to Fiorentina, and became one of the most scoring players in the history of the Serie A).
Sweden was excited to be playing the entertaining and popular Brazilians in the final!
It was the first World Cup final to be transmitted live on television, so millions were watching the match which started on a pitch that was wet from an entire day of rain, something that seemed to favour the home team. And when Nils Liedholm passsed through two weak Brazilian defenders after only four minutes, he seemed to confirm this as he brought Sweden ahead 1-0.
This was the first time that Brazil was losing during the entire tournament, and some people were wondering whether this would cause the South Americans to crash. But this didn’t prove the case, as the Brazilians were overly confident of their abilities. Garrincha seemed unstoppable on the Swedish left-hand defence: within half an hour Brazil went ahead 2-1 on two almost identical goals by Vavá, where he only had to push the ball in after flat crossing from Garrincha on the right.
Brazil was ahead by half-time, and second half was the moment of glory for the young wonder Pelé. Ten minutes into the second half he scored one of the most beautiful goals in a world cup final, when he received a high ball in the Swedish area, stopped it with his chest, and while rounding the Swedish defender, tipped the ball over the defender and smashing the ball into the net with a perfect volley.
Only thirteen minutes later, as the Brazilians were showing off their marvelous footballing skills, the legendary Mario Zagallo took advantage of a Swedish defensive mistake to make it 4-1 (Zagallo was in 1970 the first man ever to win the World Cup both as a player and a manager).
Sweden had been defeated, and it made no difference that Agne Simonsson scored for Sweden ten minutes before the end.
Only one minute from time, Pelé sealed his great performance to become a legend of football, by scoring the last goal of the final.
Brazil had won their first World Cup, in Europe, and to this day it is the only time a non-European side has won in Europe.
The World Cup in Sweden was surely the friendliest world cup, and the one that has been played with the best sportmanship. This was amply symbolized by the Swedish fans celebrating the Brazilian victory, and the Brazilian players thanking them by running a victory round with a giant Swedish flag.

Match Stats:
  • 29th June, 1958 Råsunda Stadion, Stockholm
  • Attendance: 49,737
  • Referee: Maurice Gigue (France)
Brazil-Sweden 5-2
: 0-1 Liedholm (4), 1-1 Vavá (9), 2-1 Vavá (30), 3-1 Pelé (55), 4-1 Zagallo (68), 4-2 Simonsson (80), 5-2 Pelé (89)

Brazil: Gilmar, D. Santos, N. Santos, Zito, Bellini, Orlando, Garrincha, Didí, Vavá, Pelé, Zagallo
Sweden: Svensson, Begmark, Axbom, Börjesson, Gustavsson, Parling, Hamrin, Gren, Simonson, Liedholm, Skoglund

Monday, October 19, 2009

The beach ball goal

I was in a pub in Århus, casually, and started watching the Premier League match between Sunderland and Liverpool. Not long into the match, saw one of the strangest goals I have seen: Glen Johnson shot on goal for Sunderland, and a beach ball that had been thrown onto the pitch got in the way of the ball, changing its trajectory into Liverpool's goal.
Considering that Liverpool lost 1-0, this goal is of great importance (and forget that Liverpool was quite bad - nobody will remember that - only the goal!) for a Liverpool team that is probably not going to win the Premier League this season. The referee has been critiziced for allowing the goal, but the rules are not clear.
What a strange goal!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ghana World Champions 2009!

I lived in Ghana for many years, and it is with happy nostalgia that I have seen that the Ghana U20 team has won the 2009 U20 World Cup in Egypt, by defeating Brazil in the final, 4-3 after penalty kicks! This is the first time ever an African team wins this tournament, and breaks eight years of South American dominance in the tournament, although Ghana was also in the final in 1993, losing to Brazil, and in 2001 (in fact defeating Brazil in the quarterfinals), losing 3-0 to an outstanding Argetninean side in the final.
But Ghana are now World Champions!!!!!
In most of Europe the Cup has had very limited interest, which just shows that Europe has little interest in the stars of the future, beyond the ones they can pay millions to get outside Europe.
And this is a pity, as the U20 World Cup in Egypt has been excellent, and I do not believe the significance of Ghana's victory should be underestimated: after an outstanding 2006 World Cup (when I happily lived in Ghana), Ghana has now qualified for the 2010 World Cup as well. With players in the best European league, a strong domestic league, outstanding youth-talent, and what is arguably the best and most professional football organisation in all of Africa, Ghana has really become the only serious contender for being Africa's first World Champion.
It will be a long road to travel, but Ghana has taken a first step, and I am celebrating with all wonderful people of Ghana!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Greatest World Cup matches: West Germany-Hungary (1954)

A very confident Hungarian side ran on the pitch in Berne for the 1954 World Cup final in Berne, Switzerland: they had not lost a match in four years, and in the four previous matches to reach the final had scored a staggering 25 goals, among them, an 8-3 victory against the other finalists, West Germany, in the first round of the tournament.
In that match the Germans, under the legendary coach Sepp Herberger, had nevertheless lined almost only substitute, not wanting to face Brazil in the quarterfinals, and also played a harsh match to injure the biggest Hungarians stars, notably Ferenc Puskas, who was unable to play until the final.
The Uruguayans in the semifinal had also shown that the mighty Hungarians could be shaken by strong fight and a solid defense, so the Germans went into the final as confident underdogs, willing to play their chance, after defeating Yugoslavia 2-0 in the quarterfinals, and destroying their Austrian brethren 6-1 in the semifinal. Among the German stars were the captain Fritz Walter, the legendary Nüremberg striker Max Morlock, and the striker Helmuth Rahn, who was only called up by Sepp Herberger after the tournament had started.
The Hungarians decided to line up a not wholly recovered Ferenc Puskas for the final, which demanded some changes in a team that until then had been quite solid, but may have proven fatal seen in hindsight against a very solid German team.
However, none of this seemed to matter as the match (which was the first World Cup final that was transmitted live on TV) started: within eight minutes Hungary was up 2-0 on goals by Ference Puskas and Zoltán Czibor, the second goal being a huge mistake by the German goalkeeper Toni Turek.
The Hungarian goals just seemed to make the Germans better though. Within ten minutes Max Morlock and Helmuth Rahn had brought balance to the match, and the Germans dominated the rest of the first half, and things were looking good for the Germans, although nobody really thought that the Hungarians could lose!
Hungary did attack feverishly in the second half, but the Germans defended heroically, and in particular Toni Turek seemed impenetrable on the goal.
Only six minutes before the end of the match Helmuth Rahn received a return ball at the edge of the German area, made one quick move around a Hungarian defender and shot hard and flat towards the lower right goal-corner.
The German commentators screams of “TOOOOOR!” are legendary among commentators.
This remains one of the most legendary goals in German history, as it gave the West Germans the impossible victory against Hungary.
The victory meant a lot for Germans, who had been stigmatised after WWII (they had not even been allowed to participate in the 1950 World Cup), but this gave them something to be proud of, and came to symbolize the recovery of a nation. It was recreated in a 2003 German movie with huge success, “Das Wunder von Bern” (“The Miracle of Bern”).
Germany has since remained one of the mightiest football nations in the world.
The situation was completely different for the Hungarians. The Hungary team of 1954 is arguably one of the best teams in the history of football, and surely the best team never to become world champion. Many of the players from the team had many excuses after the match, from a bad referee (who had disallowed a Puskas-goal for off-side in the dying second of the match), to drugs and black magic.
But truth is that on the day, the German fighting spirit was the best, something that is surely more important to win a World Championship.
The Hungarian “Dream Team” was soon to be dissolved because of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, when most of the players went into exile, such as Kocsis, Puskas, Czibor. Hungarian football, that gave the world such a team, never really recovered from these events.

Match Stats:
  • 4th July, 1954 Wankdorf Stadion, Bern
  • Attendance: 60,000
  • Referee: Willy H.E. Ling (England)
West Germany-Hungary 3-2Goals: 0-1 Puskas (6), 0-2 Czibor (8), 1-2 Morlock (10), 2-2 Rahn (18), 3-2 Rahn (84)

West Germany: Turek, Posipal, Kohlmyer, Eckel, Liebrich, Mai, Rahn, Morlock, O. Walter, F. Walter, Scäfer
Hungary: Grosics, Buzanszky, Lantos, Boszik, Lorant, Zakarias, Puskas, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, Czibor, J. Toth