Tuesday, June 25, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Twenty-Five (& Last)

Sunday 25 June

As the coach arrived back into Hazlemere that Sunday afternoon, I grabbed my bag, sprinted down through Firs Close, across the busy Rose Avenue (minding the traffic, of course) and to my home in Firs View Road – it was world cup final day and I was not going to miss any of the atmosphere.

Much has been written about this game but from first to last I was enthralled by it all. The colourful spectacle in the stadium, the ticker tape parade that greeted the players, the delayed start over a Dutch player’s plaster cast, and at last the kick off at 7pm with the game shown live on both channels (we opted for ITV).

My sketchy memory is of a great game, end to end stuff, arguably the two most entertaining teams in the contest exchanging blows. Argentina leading through Kempes at half-time, but Holland coming right back in the second. A cracking headed goal by Nanninga late in the game equalising. Then suddenly, in the very last moments, Resenbrink shoots .. and hits the post!

Since that day I have read a number of times that, had the shot gone in, the ref would not have allowed it – he would have blown for a foul or offside or some reason. Well, we’ll never know.

Into extra-time, Argentina found a second wind, Kempes prodded the hosts in front to become the tournament’s top scorer, and then Bertoni made it 3-1 and sent the stadium into pure joy. That was it now – Argentina had won the world cup!

I had never seen such an exhibition of colour at a football ground – remember the drab English football stadiums of the 1970s – and had enjoyed the whole event. Commentators spoke ruefully about the lack of great games, the way the schedules were placed in the hosts’ advantage, the poor showing from Scotland – but we had also seen Argentina’s coming of age as a great team – Ardiles and Villa were soon to arrive at Spurs in a day when foreign players were very rare in England – and some cracking goals from Holland, retaining their title from 1974 as the world’s most entertaining team.

Now the contest was over and time for bed as it was back to school in the morning, although the summer holidays were not far away. Seven weeks before the start of the domestic season, two years to the next summer tournament, and four years to the next World Cup in Spain, in which I hoped to see England take part.

Day-by-day, the World Cup of 1978 was one to remember.

World Cup Final
Argentina 3-1 Holland
Kempes 37, 105, Bertoni 115 – Nanninga 82

Top scorers
Kempes (Argentina) 6 goals
Resenbrink (Holland) 5 goals
Cubillas (Peru)
Luque (Argentina) 4 goals
Krankl (Austria)

Thanks and acknowledgements to 'upthemaggies' and the following page.


Monday, June 24, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Twenty-Four

Saturday 24 June

The cub scout camp fire was a big event. It was in some sort of outdoor theatre as I can recall sitting towards the back looking down at the scout leaders telling jokes and leading songs. There was a fire going and it was dark – so at this time of year, it must have been late.

Meanwhile, back at home, both channels were showing the game. Third place play offs are strange beasts – no other football tournament has them, yet the world cup persists. In a good game, Brazil defeated Italy 2-1 including a belter of a goal from Nelinho, a Brazilian banana, as they were then called, where the ball swung in from the touchline.

Brazil finished the tournament as the only team not to be defeated.

Third place play-off
Brazil 2-1 Italy
Nelinho 64, Dirceu 71 – Causio 38

Sunday, June 23, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Twenty-Three

Friday 23 June

During my years at Manor Farm Primary in Hazlemere, I was also a cub scout (bob-a-job, Akela, first aid badge and all that, but scouts did not say dib-dib-dib!) and this weekend was scout camp when our troop along with all the others in the area were to meet in a large get-together.

I can only remember two things about this camp – one, a large group of us sitting around a fire singing various songs, and, two, the fact that I would miss the World Cup third place play-off and have to race back for the final.

Presumably there were events at the camp but these have totally slipped my memory. But today, Friday, after school it would have been get changed, onto the coach, and away we went.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Twenty-Two

Thursday 22 June

With perfect timing, the musical Evita, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, opened last night in London with Elaine Paige, David Essex and Joss Ackland.

Meanwhile, the stage was set for the final – Argentina v Holland – neither of whom had won the cup before, while Brazil and Italy would be in the third place play-off. And four more teams packed their bags for the journey home – West Germany the most disappointed.

Group A
Argentina 5pts (8-0)
Brazil 5pts (6-1)
Poland 2pts (2-5)
Peru 0pts (0-10)

Group B
Holland 5pts (9-4)
Italy 3pts (2-2)
West Germany 2pts (4-5)
Austria 2pts (4-8)

Top scorers
Rensenbrink (Holland) 5 goals
Cubillas (Peru)
Kempes (Argentina) 4 goals
Luque (Argentina)
Krankl (Austria)

Friday, June 21, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Twenty-One

Wednesday 21 June

A big day. Today we would know the finalists.

A choice of games at 5.45pm and we switched on to Holland v Italy on ITV. The Dutch had thrilled us with their football so far and by now much of the country were cheering them on. An entertaining game saw the Dutch come out on top 2-1 with Ernie Brandst scoring at each end and a cracker of a winner from Arie Haan. We rejoiced as Holland booked their place in the final.

It was a mighty surprise afterwards to hear that Austria had defeated West Germany 3-2 over on the BBC which meant the holders were going home and Italy had come second in the group to make the third place play off.

Overall Austria could be very satisfied with their 1978 campaign. In 1982, Austria was scandalously involved with West Germany in rigging a result to get both teams through the first group stage. Austria have qualified twice more for world cups without distinction, and have never qualified for the Euros, except in 2008 when the country co-hosted the event.

Whereas Group A’s final games were played at the same time, the Group B games were staggered (because of Argentina and their late kick offs). Although good for the viewer, this was hugely unfair to Brazil. Brazil v Poland at 8.45pm on ITV turned out to be a great game, Poland giving their all despite little chance of qualification. Brazil won 3-1.

So it was over to BBC for the question we all wanted to know. Could Argentina win by four goals to get to the final?

The answer was yes – a great atmosphere and one way traffic as Argentina demolished Peru 6-0. Of course there were suspicions – the Peru team that overwhelmed Scotland was just a memory, and the Peru goalkeeper, Quiroga, who we had last seen on the halfway line against Poland, was born in Argentina! After the tournament Argentina were very generous in foreign aid to Peru. All dodgy stuff, but when you are ten years old, you don’t care about that sort of thing.

Brazil went into the third place play-off, despite being the only team not to have lost a game. The host nation marched on. The final would be between two teams who had never won the cup before.

Group A: Holland 2-1 Italy
Brandts 49, Haan 76 - Brandts (og) 19

Group A: Austria 3-2 West Germany
Vogts (og) 59, Krankl 66, 87 - Rummenigge 18, Holzenbein 72

Group B: Brazil 3-1 Poland
Nelinho 13, Dinamite 58,72 – Lato 45

Group B: Argentina 6-0 Peru
Kempes 21, 49, Tarantini 43, Luque 50, 72, Houseman 67

Thursday, June 20, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Twenty

Tuesday 20 June

Another footy free day as we all looked forward to the final round-up.

Holland were still the favourites to defeat Italy and get to the final, while the other group was quite even.

Group A
Brazil 3pts (3-0)
Argentina 3pts (2-0)
Poland 2pts (1-2)
Peru 0pts (0-4)

Group B
Holland 3pts (7-3)
Italy 3pts (1-0)
West Germany 2pts (2-2)
Austria 0pts (1-6)

Top scorers
Rensenbrink (Holland) 5 goals
Cubillas (Peru)
Rep (Holland) 3 goals
Rossi (Italy)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Nineteen

Monday 19 June

With no football, cricket was the order of the day. In 1978, cricket was live on terrestrial television (happy days!) and a young chap called Ian Botham was making a name for himself.

In the second test against Pakistan he made history by becoming the first player to score a century and take eight wickets in a single innings in the same test match. England were not on the football fields of Argentina, but on the cricket pitch, our boys were not letting us down.

England 364 (Botham 108, Roope 69, Gower 56, Gooch 54)
Pakistan 105 (Willis 5-47) and 139 (Botham 8-34)
England won by a innings and 120 runs

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Eighteen

Sunday 18 June

After what seemed an eternal wait, football is back, and after a lazy Sunday the action restarted at 5.45pm with Poland taking on Peru on ITV.

This was livened up considerably by the sudden appearance of the Peruvian goalie (Quiroga, of whom we will hear more) in the middle of the pitch. This was before the days of goalkeepers rushing forward in the last minute, which we now often see, and so his antics caused much hilarity, especially bringing down an opponent on the halfway line and getting himself booked. However, Poland won the game 1-0 and Peru were out with a whimper.

Two games at 8.45pm and this time we got the selection right. Staying on ITV, Holland’s 2-2 draw with West Germany was quite a treat, the Germans twice leading but the Dutch coming back. BBC had Italy in struggle mode beating Austria 1-0. This was the end for Austria but they were not done yet.

Holland were now on three points with West Germany and Italy both on two – so a win for Holland over Italy would see them through. West Germany had to batter Austria by five goals and hope the other game ended in a draw.

The 11.15pm (which again I didn’t see) was on BBC between Argentina and Brazil and generally considered to be the semi final. The following morning, I bounded down the stairs to ask my Dad the score. Nil-nil, he said. I assumed I had missed a classic and so was disappointed and relieved at the same time.

Argentina and Brazil were now on three points with Poland on two. Brazil had one goal difference extra, but Argentina had a big advantage. Brazil would be playing earlier so Argentina would know what they needed to do when they kicked off. Poland's only hope was to beat Brazil and hope that Argentina would fall to Peru.

Group A: Poland 1-0 Peru
Szarmach 64

Group B: West Germany 2-2 Holland
Haan 27, R van der Kerkhof 82 – Abramczik 3, D. Muller 70

Group B: Italy 1-0 Austria
Rossi 13

Group A: Argentina 0-0 Brazil

Monday, June 17, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Seventeen

Saturday 17 June

Another football free day, but much anticipation about the second set of games coming up – especially West Germany v Holland, a rematch of the 1974 final, and the showdown between Brazil and Argentina.

The problem with the second group stage, and the fact that only the winners went through, was to dull the excitement early – one loss would be curtains. Many commented on the advantage of having semi-finals in for the top two – but the counter argument is that the 1978 winners (as in 1974 and every world cup since) would be playing seven games - whereas in 1966 and 1970 it was six – and that eight games would be too much.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Sixteen

Friday 16 June

The problem with having so many games on certain days is that it leaves you long episodes of time without any footy to watch at all. Four games to a day, then three blank days, then four games to a day. Fortunately, in more recent world cups, this has now been resolved with games more evenly spaced.

Meanwhile we had the usual TV previews and reviews and so on. And England playing cricket! And John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were at number one with 'You're The One That I Want'.

For me, probably the usual Friday – school and home – although looking forward to Cub Scout camp next weekend.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Fifteen

Thursday 15 June

A footy-free day. The only excitement was watching the Scotland team come home. They came down the stairs out of the plane, a lot quieter than they had left. Andy Cameron, where were you then?

Group A
Brazil 2pts (3-0)
Argentina 2pts (2-0)
Poland 0pts (0-2)
Peru 0pts (0-3)

Group B
Holland 2pts (5-1)
Italy 1pt (0-0)
West Germany 1pt (0-0)
Austria 0pts (1-5)

Top scorers
Rensenbrink (Holland) 5 goals
Cubillas (Peru)
Rep (Holland) 3 goals

Friday, June 14, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Fourteen

Wednesday 14 June

Today the second round kicked off with eight teams left. Boy, did we pick the wrong game to watch. At 5.45pm we sat through BBC’s coverage of a dull 0-0 draw between West Germany and Italy while on the other side Holland, rapidly becoming everyone's favourite, demolished Austria 5-1. Resenbrink scored his fifth goal to equal Cubillas of Peru and I recall much hilarity at the name of Willie van der Kerkhof for reasons which have slipped me by – maybe the low mind of a ten year old.

The 8.45pm game was better though as we switched over to ITV and watch Brazil beat Peru 3-0. While many were pleased to see Brazil back to some form, there was disappointment with Peru, after what we had seen against Scotland. Already many were speculating over a Brazil-Holland final, although we were aware of the threat from the Argies.

The late night game on the BBC at 11.15pm saw Argentina open their campaign with a 2-0 win over Poland. I didn’t see this one (school always gets in the way of stuff!). Late night kick offs persuaded me to the view that world cup games should start for the convenience of us in the UK. Little did I know that in 2002, I would be watching games kick off at 6.30am and 7.30am.

We could virtually say goodbye to Austria, Peru and Poland leaving five seasoned world cup campaigners.

Group B: West Germany 0-0 Italy

Group B: Netherlands 5-1 Austria
Brandts 6, Rensenbrink (pen) 35, Rep 36, 53, van der Kerkof 82 – Obermayer 80

Group A: Brazil 3-0 Peru
Dirceu 14, 27 Zico 72

Group A: Argentina 2-0 Poland
Kempes 16, 72

Thursday, June 13, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Thirteen

Tuesday 13 June

A quiet day. Probably school and home as usual.

Teams started to prepare for their departures. Of the early eight, Tunisia were probably the most satisfied having surprised many. Mexico the most disappointing. And of course Scotland felt they had let down their nation very badly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Twelve

Monday 12 June

Yes, we soon established at school that we had all seen the game and all seen Archie Gemmill’s goal. The playground saw a few re-enactments that morning. By lunchtime, with the sight of that big red bus to take us to swimming class (see 5 June), my mood had evaporated quickly.

Group One
Italy 6pts (6-2)
Argentina 4pts (4-3)
France 2pts (5-5)
Hungary 0pts (3-8)

Group Two
Poland 5pts (4-1)
West Germany 4pts (6-0)
Tunisia 3pts (3-2)
Mexico 0pts (2-12)

Group Three
Austria 4pts (3-2)
Brazil 4pts (2-1)
Spain 3pts (2-2)
Sweden 1pt (1-3)

Group Four
Peru 5pts (7-2)
Holland 3pts (5-3)
Scotland 3pts (5-6)
Iran 1pt (2-8)

Top scorers:
Cubillas (Peru) 5 goals
Rensenbrink (Holland) 4 goals

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Eleven

Sunday 11 June

Can Scotland do it? Once again the anticipation was building. Of course we all expected a Dutch win and a Scots exit with one point against Iran, but you never know.

But first there was the matter of Brazil – and at 5.45pm they beat Austria 1-0 on the BBC scored by the best named player of the tournament – Roberto Dinamite. Austria topped the group on goals scored. Brazil had only got two goals in three games and so far had been a great disappointment. One more goal and they would have avoided Argentina.

On the other side, Spain beat Sweden 1-0 but it was not good enough – two more teams for the departure lounge.

At 8.45pm both sides again showed Scotland – and this proved to be a cracking match, the best game of the tournament so far. Scotland had to win by three goals. At half time it was 1-1, an end to end game. An Archie Gemmill penalty put the Jocks 2-1 up and then – in a moment very familiar to all Scots fans and anyone who has seen Trainspotting – Gemmill jinks past three players, chips over the goalie, and it is 3-1! One of the best goals in British football history and the best goal of the 1978 world cup.

Suddenly we all sat up – one more goal and Scotland would have done the impossible. Can they do it? Well, no, as shortly after Johnny Rep had a long range screamer to pull one back. Scotland held on to win 3-2, but not enough – we all thought of what might have been.

Scotland had saved the best for last. Shame they didn’t save the best for first.

Elsewhere Peru showed how it should be done and saw off Iran 4-1 to top the group and join Brazil and Argentina in a fascinating second round group stage which had split the continents. Only Poland could spoil a Europe v South America final. Peru had been one of the surprises, very impressive, and Cubillas now topped the scoring charts with five goals. Little were we to know that, as far as Peru were concerned, that was as good as it got!

A strange quirk of the first round was that none of the favourites had won their groups – Argentina, West Germany, Brazil and Holland had all come second.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening – and for once the thought of going back to school did not put a damper on things.

Group 3: Brazil 1-0 Austria
Dinamite 40

Group 3: Spain 1-0 Sweden
Asensi 75

Group 4: Scotland 3-2 Netherlands
Dalglish 44, Gemmill 46 (pen), 68 – Rensenbrink (pen) 34 Rep 71

Group 4: Peru 4-1 Iran
Velasquez 2, Cubillas 36 (pen), 39 (pen), 79 – Roshan 41

Second round groups:
A: Italy, West Germany, Austria, Netherlands
B: Argentina, Poland, Brazil, Peru

Monday, June 10, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Ten

Saturday 10 June

Probably shopping, Roy of the Rovers, and then the footy.

France v Hungary was meaningless as both were out, and apparently a delayed kick off meant the BBC missed most of the second half so that The Good Life started on time (Priorities, eh?). France won 3-1 nonetheless.

We all of course know about the great Hungary team of the 1950s, but here Hungary had lost all three games. Hungary beat El Salvador 10-1 in 1982, a record, but they have failed to qualify for the world cup since 1986.

For the 8.45pm game we opted to watch West Germany play Tunisia on BBC – a dull 0-0 – whereas TV had Poland beating Mexico 3-1. This meant that Poland topped the group with West Germany second.

I have very clear memories of the big game in the evening – Italy v Argentina kicking off at 11.15pm on ITV. I sat close to the telly as Italy beat Argentina 1-0 in a very good game. Although both had already qualified, the winner of the group would be joining West Germany while second place would possibly be facing Brazil – so although some said this game was fixed, I am not sure – I think Argentina would have preferred to avoid the Brazilians.

Italy topped Group One with Argentina second. France and Hungary on the way home. Mexico also away after a poor tournament but Tunisia had surpassed expectations and could be satisfied.

Group 1: France 3-1 Hungary
Lopez 23, Berdoll 38, Rocheteau 42 – Zombori 41

Group 2: Poland 3-1 Mexico
Boniek 42, 83 Deyna 52 – Rangel 51

Group 2: West Germany 0-0 Tunisia

Group 1: Italy 1-0 Argentina
Bettega 67

Second round groups so far:
Group A: West Germany & Italy
Group B: Poland & Argentina

Sunday, June 9, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Nine

Friday 9 June

Friday again, school over for the week, and a football-filled weekend to eagerly look forward to.

Although the tournament had not yet come to life, and many commentators were making this point, I was thoroughly enjoying my first world cup.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Eight

Thursday 8 June

School was dominated by talk of the Scotland game and whether England would have done a better job. I recall one friend being very enthusiastic about the Brazilian team, who had not done much so far, and another keenly following the Dutch. In those days the only thing we knew about foreign teams and players were what we read in Shoot!

The story so far:

Group One
Italy 4pts (5-2)
Argentina 4pts (4-2)
France 0pts (2-4)
Hungary 0pts (2-5)

Group Two
West Germany 3pts (6-0)
Poland 3pts (1-0)
Tunisia 2pts (3-2)
Mexico 0pts (1-9)

Group Three
Austria 4pts (3-1)
Brazil 2pts (1-1)
Spain 1pt (1-2)
Sweden 1pt (1-2)

Group Four
Holland 3pts (3-0)
Peru 3pts (3-1)
Scotland 1pt (2-4)
Iran 1pt (1-4)

Top scorers:
Rensenbrink (Holland) 3 goals
Cubillas (Peru)
Luque (Argentina)
Krankl (Austria)
Rummenigge (Germany)
Flohe (Germany)
Rossi (Italy)  2 goals

Friday, June 7, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Seven

Wednesday 7 June

A choice of games for the tea time kick off. We watched Brazil v Spain on BBC which sadly was a dull 0-0 draw. Clearly Brazil were yet to kick off.

ITV had the only marginally more interesting Austria beating Sweden 1-0. This left Austria on six points and through to the next round! (I’ll say it again – whatever happened to Austria?) Brazil on two points and Sweden and Spain on one each.

An expectant nation gathered around their TV seats at 8.45pm (you had to – it was on both sides! I wonder what BBC2 put on) to see Scotland finally put their initial woes behind them - or so we thought.

What a struggle this game was! A comical own goal, with an Iranian defender forgetting whch way he was kicking, put Scotland ahead but that was about it. Iran bundled through to get a deserved equaliser, could even have won the game, and the Jocks were booed off by their own supporters. Quite rightly so. With Holland and Peru drawing 0-0, a quick check of fingers and toes meant that Scotland had to beat Holland in the final game by three goals! We all gave them no chance.

Three goals in four games – one of which was a penalty and another an own goal. A thoroughly disappointing day of footy.

Group 3: Brazil 0-0 Spain

Group 3: Austria 1-0 Sweden
Krankl (pen) 43

Group 4: Scotland 1-1 Iran
Eskandarian (og) 43 - Danaeifard 60

Group 4: Netherlands 0-0 Peru

Thursday, June 6, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Six

Tuesday 6 June

While we were all discussing the misfortune of the Scots, we still felt they would qualify. A thumping win over Iran would boost confidence while Holland would beat Peru and it would all be open again – that was how our thinking went.

The second round of games began today with ITV kicking off at 5.45pm to see Italy convincingly beating Hungary 3-1. Italy with two wins could now prepare for the next round while Hungary were already thinking of home.

At 8.45pm we had a choice of games and decided to opt for BBC’s showing of West Germany’s comprehensive demolition of Mexico 6-0 over the less exciting ITV’s display of Poland’s 1-0 win over Tunisia, who had a number of chances. Tunisia had surprised people and this was a good omen for the future in that African football was stronger than previously thought.

The late night game, kicking off at 11.15pm, saw Argentina defeating France 2-1 in what I understand, was a great game, but, alas, I would have been packed off to bed with school the next day.

After two games in Group One, Argentina and Italy were both now through with four points and France and Hungary were both out with zero. In Group Two it was West Germany and Poland on three and Tunisia on two with Mexico also preparing their departure after two losses.

With Brazil and Scotland both on tomorrow, it should be a good day.

Group 1: Italy 3-1 Hungary
Rossi 34, Bettega 35, Benetti 61 – Toth (pen) 81

Group 1: Argentina 2-1 France
Passarella (pen) 45, Luque 73 – Platini 60

Group 2: West Germany 6-0 Mexico
D Muller 14, H Muller 29, Rummenigge 38, 71 Flohe 44, 89

Group 2: Poland 1-0 Tunisia
Lato 42

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Five

Monday 5 June

Another day without football. Instead back to school – words that still bring a chill 35 years later.

Mondays in the summer were the worst day of the week. Because my class went swimming (or rather 'trying to swim') an activity I dread and loathe to this day.

As I only lived a couple of streets away from my school (Manor Farm Primary School, Rose Avenue, Hazlemere) I went home for lunch at 12 noon and when I walked back at 12.55pm, there would be the big red double decker bus waiting at the front - to take us to Handy Cross sports centre in High Wycombe, for an afternoon of, in my opinion, sheer hell. It was some time working in London before I got over my fear of red buses.

The football news was that Willie Johnston’s test was confirmed and he was to be sent home in disgrace.

Meanwhile England won the First Test against Pakistan by an innings and 57 runs – David Gower made his debut and Clive Radley and Ian Botham both hit centuries.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Four

Sunday 4 June

So every team had now played one game and we patiently waited for the second batch. The main news story breaking was that Willie Johnston had failed a drugs test and rumours circulated of him, or the whole team, being sent home.

Meanwhile us kids were in the rec practising shooting like Teofilo Cubillas – jumpers for goal posts, balls hitting fences, angry neighbours and so on.

Group One
Argentina 2pts (2-1)
Italy 2pts (2-1)
France 0pts (1-2)
Hungary 0pts (1-2)

Group Two
Tunisia 2pts (3-1)
Poland 1pt (0-0)
West Germany 1pt (0-0)
Mexico 0pts (1-3)

Group Three
Austria 2pts (2-1)
Brazil 1pt (1-1)
Sweden 1pt (1-1)
Spain 0pts (1-2)

Group Four
Holland 2pts (3-0)
Peru 2pts (3-1)
Scotland 0pts (1-3)
Iran 0pts (0-3)

Top scorers:
Rensenbrink (Holland) 3 goals
Cubillas (Peru) 2 goals

Monday, June 3, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Three

Saturday 3 June

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)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day Two

Friday 2 June

At school, just as at work, Friday is the best day of the week, and even more when there was a weekend of football to look forward to, with Scotland’s first game being the highlight

Kicking off at 5.45pm that Friday evening was the opening game of group one – Italy v France. This game was live on ITV, with Italy winning 2-1. Apparently there were disputes amongst the French squad regarding cash payments (shades of 2010?)

Then in the evening, the BBC showed highlights of Tunisia becoming the first African side to win a match in the finals as they triumphed over Mexico 3-1 to top the group ahead the Germans, before heading over to the live game – the debut of the hosts.

With no school the next day, I was allowed to stay up for this game, which kicked off at 11.15pm British time. I have very clear memories of the ticker tape parade as the Argentinians walked onto the pitch for their first appearance.

A successful start was made as Argentina beat Hungary 2-1 but it took until the 83rd minute for the winner and by the end of the game Hungary were down to nine men!

After the boring start, at last the footy had got going. One interesting point was that in all three games, the team that scored first went on to lose.

Group 1: Italy 2-1 France
Rossi 27, Zaccarelli 54 - Lacombe 1

Group 1: Argentina 2-1 Hungary
Luque 14, Bertoni 83 - Csapo 9

Group 2: Tunisia 3-1 Mexico
Kaabi 55, Ghommidh 80, Dhouib 86 - Vasquez (pen) 44

Saturday, June 1, 2013

World Cup 1978 - Day One

Thursday 1 June

So away we go and our TV was on for the opening game, West Germany against Poland, which kicked off at 7pm on both channels, after an interesting but very 70s opening ceremony involving lots of people running over the pitch moving themselves to make shapes and words.


On paper, the opening game promised much – the defending champions against the side which had come third in 1974, preventing England’s qualification on the way.

Unfortunately it turned out to be very dull. The previous three World Cup openers had all been 0-0, including England-Mexico in 1966, and this continued the sequence. A very boring game only consoled by the thought of another 37 to come.

Group 2: West Germany 0-0 Poland