This was a great day of footy. My weekly edition of Roy of the Rovers would have arrived with the morning papers and then, having devoured that, I may have watched the TV highlights of the previous day’s games or went up to the rec for a kickabout with the lads.
But I would certainly have been in front of the box promptly at 5.45pm where there was a choice of live games from Group 3. ITV had Austria v Spain but my Dad and I opted for BBC and Brazil v Sweden, as I am sure most of the nation did.
I had seen plenty of footage of the great Brazil 1970 team and Pele etc in the build-up so we were anticipating a similar display. Instead the game is best known for the controversial finish. With the score at 1-1 in the dying seconds, a Brazilian corner came over, and referee Clive Thomas blew for time an instant before Zico headed it in the net.
At first we thought there may have been a foul but we could see clearly from the ref’s gestures what had happened. Had he blown a second earlier or a second later, there would not have been such a fuss – but this remains one of the most bizarre decisions ever taken by a referee. (Clive Thomas never refereed another world cup match).
But back to business – for an hour later, it was the long-awaited start of Scotland’s campaign. Both channels showed live coverage of this one.
I recall sitting on the floor right in front of the TV (not sure why) as the Jocks kicked off and took the lead in 14 minutes. This was a good game, end to end stuff, Peru equalised, Scotland missed a penalty and then Teofilo Cubillas happened – with two cracking goals! Scotland seemed in shock and, in a game we had expected them to win, slid passively to defeat.
I remember well that feeling of anti-climax that I would become so familiar with by following England in later tournaments.
In the other game, Rob Rensenbrink scored the tournament’s first hat trick and become top scorer as Holland saw off Iran 3-0.
Group 3: Brazil 1-1 Sweden
Reinaldo 45 – Sjoberg 37
Group 3: Austria 2-1 Spain
Schachner 9, Krankl 79 – Dani 21
Group 4: Peru 3-1 Scotland
Cueto 44, Cubillas 70, 76 – Jordan 14
Group 4: Holland 3-0 Iran
Resenbrink 40 (pen), 62, 78 (pen)