World Cup stunning moments: the 1966 World Cup

Random tales from the 1966 tournament that have absolutely nothing to do with Azerbaijani linesmen, Kenneth Wolstenholme or Pickles the Dog
  1. The branding for the 1966 Football World Championship for the Jules Rimet Trophy was all over the shop. But at least Fifa were trying. The 1966 finals was the first to be blessed with a mascot, a small lion wearing a union jack shirt walking along with its eyes narrowed to the point of being totally shut. A myopic nationalist, who’d have thought it. Willie was the creation of the freelance artist Reg Hoye, who had first considered “a little man in a bowler hat” and “a man in a cloth cap” but wished to steer clear of class issues. “I don’t think the result’s pompous,” he insisted, “it’s just to show that we’re not as clapped out as some people think we are.” Hoye was paid Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: the 1966 World Cup"

World Cup stunning moments: Italy lose to South Korea, 2002 | Paolo Bandini

The Azzurri’s controversial second-round defeat in Daejeon was just the start of a barely believable series of events Francesco Janich felt the first tomato fly past his head. Drunk on cognac and disoriented by the darkness as he stumbled down onto the tarmac at Genoa’s Christopher Columbus airport at around 3.40am on 22 July, 1966, the defender could not immediately identify the fruit but he did know one thing: “It definitely wasn’t fresh”. Three days earlier, Janich had been part of the Italy side that lost 1-0 to North Korea at Ayresome Park – crashing out of the World Cup in the process. Embarrassed and fearful of a backlash from supporters, administrators did their best to conceal plans for the journey home. As well as pushing the team’s return flight back to the most antisocial hour possible, they refused to disclose which city they would land into. Continue reading...

World Cup stunning moments: the Miracle of Bern

Hungary were unbeaten in four years. West Germany had no chance. Yet in the 1954 final the underdogs produced one of the great World Cup shocks The rain was teeming down in Bern and Hungary were about to win the World Cup. Ferenc Puskas had put the Mighty Magyars ahead after six minutes and Zoltan Czibor had doubled the advantage after eight. They were 2-0 up inside 10 minutes and they had not lost in four years. They were 2-0 up inside 10 minutes against a team that they had beaten 8-3 barely a fortnight earlier. They were 2-0 up inside 10 minutes against a side who, four years earlier, did not even exist. What unfolded over the next 80 minutes, if you subscribe to the more romantic interpretations, created one country and fanned the flames of a revolution in another. Even the most mundane reading of events would still Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: the Miracle of Bern"

World Cup stunning moments: Mussolini’s blackshirts’ 1938 win

In 1938 Italy went to France and shrugged off protests and wild unpopularity to successfully defend their World Cup crown The critical moment was … when our players raised their hands to give the fascist salute … I entered the stadium with our players, lined-up military style, and stood on the right. At the salute we predictably met with a solemn and deafening barrage of whistles, insults and remarks. It seemed like we were in Italy so much did the expressions resound of our idioms and dialects. How long that rumpus lasted I couldn’t say. I was rigid, with an arm outstretched horizontally I couldn’t check the time. The German referee and Norwegian players looked at us worriedly. At a certain point the hullabaloo began to die down and then ceased … We had just put our hands down and the violent demonstration started again. Straight away: “Team be ready. Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: Mussolini’s blackshirts’ 1938 win"

World Cup stunning moments: Andrés Escobar’s deadly own goal | Barry Glendenning

An own goal at USA 94 led to horrific ramifications for Colombia’s captain, who paid the heaviest of prices for the failings of society as much as his national team Life doesn’t end here. We have to go on. Life cannot end here. No matter how difficult, we must stand back up. We only have two options: either allow anger to paralyse us and the violence continues, or we overcome and try our best to help others. It’s our choice. Let us please maintain respect. My warmest regards to everyone. It’s been a most amazing and rare experience. We’ll see each other again soon because life does not end here” Colombia captain Andrés Escobar writes in Bogota’s El Tiempe newspaper following his country’s elimination from USA 1994. Continue reading...

World Cup stunning moments: Cameroon shock Argentina in 1990

François Omam-Biyik’s goal and an unheralded team of journeymen defeated Diego Maradona’s world champions Of the great World Cup upsets – the USA’s victory over England in 1950, North Korea’s over Italy in 1966 and Algeria’s over West Germany in 1982 probably push it close – this one stands alone in myth and memory. It was not a perfect match but it was an irresistible narrative, as the World Cup champions, led by the great Diego Maradona, were vanquished by an unheralded team largely assembled of journeymen players from the French lower divisions – though for some of them even that was either an impossible dream or a distant memory. In the space of 90 minutes African football, once derided for being all about juju magic and Zairian defenders with a limited grasp of free-kick regulations, became credible. The result was celebrated not only in Cameroon, where impromptu street Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: Cameroon shock Argentina in 1990"

World Cup draw cock-ups: dropouts, dropped balls and dresses

Dividing teams into groups for a football tournament should be easy but nothing is ever simple when Fifa is in charge By Richard Foster for The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Guardian Sport Network Gary Lineker has faced accusations of hypocrisy after condemning Fifa as a “revolting organisation” and then agreeing to co-host its World Cup draw in Moscow on Friday. Lineker is not the first person to have found participating in the ceremony an awkward experience. The practice of inviting celebrities began at the 1990 World Cup, when Luciano Pavarotti and Sophia Loren were among the famous faces onstage in Rome. Four years later, Franz Beckenbauer was joined in Las Vegas by Evander Holyfield and Robin Williams, who played the whole thing for laughs, pulling on a glove like an overly enthusiastic doctor and instructing Sepp Blatter to “turn your head to the side and cough”. Continue reading...

Concussion protocols at 2014 World Cup failed Fifa standards, study finds

Almost two-thirds of head collision incidents at the tournament were not followed by players being assessed on the sidelines by medical professionals Head collisions experienced by footballers during the 2014 World Cup were not tackled according to Fifa’s own standards, research has revealed. A team of doctors from Canada have found that after almost two-thirds of the head collision events that occurred during the tournament, the players involved did not receive an assessment on the sidelines by healthcare personnel. Continue reading...

Latest Russia allegations raise big questions for Fifa – and football | Sean Ingle

Fifa must deprive Russia from staging next year’s World Cup if possible doping offences by the country’s 2014 World Cup squad are found to be true Of course there were denials. There are always denials. It is part of the dance, the fast‑paced barynya, when it comes to Russia and doping allegations. No sooner had the Mail on Sunday revealed that the country’s entire 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup was under investigation by Fifa for possible doping offences, than its deputy prime minister, and chairman of 2018 World Cup Russia, Vatily Mutko, put up the shutters. “There have never been and will never be any problems with doping in our football,” he said. “They have written some sort of nonsense.” He was similarly dismissive about allegations about doping in Russian athletics in 2013. So it goes. This, of course, is the same Mutko that a World Anti-Doping Continue reading "Latest Russia allegations raise big questions for Fifa – and football | Sean Ingle"

Uruguay continue their impressive run

Uruguay extended their unbeaten run to four matches with a 2-1 win over Ecuador despite missing a few key players. Uruguay took the lead when Coates scored from a corner 12 minutes into proceedings. Felipe Caicedo equalised shortly before half time but Uruguay didn’t waste time getting the lead back.They scored in the first-half stoppage […]

‘Open wound’ of 2014 World Cup drives Italy’s Conte

Lyon (AFP) – Italy’s Antonio Conte says the ‘open wound’ of their 2014 World Cup failure should inspire the Azzurri to success at Euro 2016 after their impressive 2-0 win over Belgium. Goals in either half from Emanuele Giaccherini and Graziano Pelle saw Italy floor much-fancied Belgium at the Stade de Lyon on Monday. Italy threw down a marker to show they plan to be a force to be reckoned with at these European championships finals. But Conte said the Azzurri’s failure at the 2014 World Cup, where an opening win over England, then defeats to Uruguay and Costa Rica sent them home after the group stages, must inspire Italy at Euro 2016. Italy’s head coach, who will leave to take over Chelsea after the finals, said their opening Group E win alone is not enough to make them favourites for the title in France. But he hopes the victory
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Brazil hope their new Fred does better than the old one in Copa America

The name may be the same but much has changed as Brazil try to put the disaster of the World Cup in the past with their first game of the Copa America, against Peru on SundayTwo weeks ago, Fred, the diminutive Shakhtar Donetsk forward, made his home debut for Brazil in a friendly against Mexico in São Paulo. When his name was read out before kickoff, he was roundly booed: the crowd didn’t realise he was the 22-year-old Frederico Rodrigues Santos, and assumed he was the other Fred, the 31-year-old Frederico Chaves Guedes, the Fluminense striker who was one of the chief scapegoats for the disaster of the World Cup. The older, taller Fred retired from international football after the World Cup, jumping before he was pushed, but he has not been forgiven. The mood in Belo Horizonte the night of the 7-1 defeat to Germany may have been
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Police fire percussion grenades at rioting fans in Brazil – video

Police in Brazil fire percussion grenades inside the Estádio Castelão arena during a riot as fans of teams Ceará and Fortaleza fought after the match ended. The violence was sparked by a 2-2 result that meant Fortaleza won the Ceara state championship title on aggregate. Fortaleza fans invaded the pitch to celebrate but were attacked their rivals with sticks and parts of the World Cup stadium Continue reading...







There’s Something About Danny

Today, I have posted a running the numbers bit on the fine FA Cup semifinal performance of Reading's Daniel Williams. It really was an excellent debut against EPL-level opposition for him that undoubtedly caught the eye of every Prem manager currently residing outside the top five. And lest anyone think I was wearing homer glasses during the extra time loss to Arsenal, everybody over in England