World Cup 2022
A different cup but Boro entertain Brighton in the third round of the FA cup.
Come on BORO.
England v Wales
I'm going for a 2-1 win for England !
What does everyone else think ?
Whilst I have no interest in this year’s World Cup whatsoever and couldn’t care less if England win it or lose it was certainly different in 1966. That was the biggest sporting event ever to have taken place in England at the time. London had hosted the Olympic Games in 1948, but very few of the population were aware of its importance because television was in its infancy at the time and it wasn’t until the Coronation in 1953 that there was a surge in television sales because of the cost and the fact that even food rationing was still with us, and some of my poorer colleagues living in Warrenby and the ‘woolly back country’ that we in Coatham and Redcar used to describe East Cleveland as, didn’t even possess a radio set or a wireless that it was called at the time.
With that in mind I think it better to describe the build-up to the 1966 World Cup as a separate issue to the actual tournament that was about to befall us. So Nil Desperandum, and as I never like to be beaten, this is my take on that build-up. As hosts England didn’t have to qualify for the first time ever. The World Cup had always been dominated by South American and European countries. The final format was the same as the previous three World Cups with 16 qualifying positions divided into 4 groups of four countries with the top two of each group advancing to the quarterfinals and a knockout system from there on. However despite a record entry of 53 teams taking part, the African countries decided to boycott the tournament for the second time, but more about that later.
This then was how the 14 groups emerged as along with England as hosts, the holders Brazil also didn’t need to qualify:-
Group One only contained 3 countries but required a playoff between Bulgaria and Belgium as both teams had beaten Israel. It was Bulgaria that won it 2-1.
Group Two also contained only 3 countries and was won by West Germany after they sent both Sweden and Cyprus packing.
Group Three was won by France with Norway, Yugoslavia and Luxembourg who lost all 6 of their matches eliminated.
Group Four was won by Portugal as Czechoslovakia, Romania and Turkey were all eliminated.
Group Five contained 4 countries in which Switzerland qualified with 9 points, whilst Northern Ireland with 8 points, Holland with 6, and Albania with only 1 point all eliminated. Northern Ireland had done very well winning all their 3 home games 1-0 against the Swiss, 2-1 against the Dutch, and 4-1 against Albania, but failed to win any of their away matches. Despite a commendable goalless draw in Rotterdam, it was the 1-1 draw in Tirana that cost them dearly as a win against Albania would have seen them qualify on goal average.
Group Six was another group that only contained 3 countries and was won by Hungary with East Germany and Austria eliminated.
In Group Seven Russia qualified two points ahead of Wales who along with Greece and Denmark were eliminated. Wales were never in contention despite finishing second in this group as unfortunately they always played their away matches before their home ones. They lost all three of these 1-2 in Moscow, 0-2 in Athens and 0-1 in Copenhagen, yet showed greater resolve on home soil as they beat Russia 2-1 and Greece 4-1 both in Cardiff, as well as Denmark in Wrexham.
Group Eight was won by Italy again quite easily two points ahead of Scotland but with a far superior goal average than the Scots who were eliminated along with Poland and Finland, who unfortunately for Jarrko lost 5 of their 6 matches. Scotland surprisingly beat Italy 1-0 at Hampden Park, and also Finland 3-1 there too, but later lost 2-3 at home to Poland when all hope of qualification had evaporated. They had previously drawn 1-1 in Chorzow, won 2-1 in Helsinki and lost 0-3 in Naples. As for Finland they did have some consolation in beating Poland, though I don’t recall the score or the venue but maybe Jarkko can fill in the details.
Now on to the South American groups all contested with 3 countries in each unlike today when all 9 or 10 countries play each other home and away to determine the 3 qualifiers. What was named as Group Eleven was won by Uruguay who won all 4 of their matches against Peru and Venezuela.
Group Twelve though required a playoff between Chile and Ecuador which the former won 2-1 thus also eliminating Colombia as well.
Group Thirteen was won by Argentina thus eliminating both Paraguay and Bolivia.
The Central American countries were involved in two mini groups where first of all several countries including Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, the U.S.A and Canada were all involved. However after several mini-leagues it left only 3 countries left to play each other twice in what became Group Fifteen. That was won by Mexico whilst both Costa Rica and Jamaica were eliminated.
Group Sixteen was even more complicated as it contained the winners of several continents including Asia and Oceania, but not Africa who boycotted the World Cup for the second time after being expected to complete against the two other continent winners. I’m not too sure of the make-up of the other two continents, but would probably have included the likes of Egypt, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Thailand, New Zealand and the South Atlantic countries someway along the way. As it stands the only two countries who finished in the playoff were Australia and North Korea who apparently had never played outside their country anyway. More about that later, but suffice to say that Australia were overwhelming favourites. Nevertheless North Korea won both matches 6-1 and 3-1.
Meanwhile England began their warm-up games with a goalless draw in the Home Championship in Cardiff against Wales before a surprise 2-3 defeat at Wembley against an Austrian side that had finished winless and bottom of Group Six. Alf Ramsey then chose an experimental side of fringe players for the second Home Championship match at Wembley against Northern Ireland which including a debut for Alan Peacock who scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 win.
England then won 2-0 in Madrid only to be held to a 1-1 draw against Poland at Goodison Park early in the New Year before winning 4-3 at Hampden Park to retain winning the Home Championship. Then followed successive Wembley victories 1-0 against West Germany and 2-0 against Yugoslavia to more or less complete their schedule before the first match against Uruguay on the 11th of July.
Throughou this schedule the unflappable Alf Ramsey was convinced that England would win the World Cup, and of course he was right. But I’m now going to review how that happened in Part 2 of this blog. Well I’ve eventually reached where I ended a couple of days ago, but I think that’s enough for now so without tempting providence I’ll continue the history of the 1966 World Cup in the next couple of days.
@ken - I hadn't realised there was a boycott of the World Cup Finals 1966 by African countries. The thing I miss most about football is the lack of the Home International Championships. The players and the countries were "up for it" each time, and the supporters loved it. I remember it being said at the time the Championship ended, that England were too good for the other teams (though I seem to recall it was Northern Ireland that won the last competition) and that it was difficult to fit the games in, as the international fixture list was getting full of World Cup and Euro qualificiation tournaments and, of course, players were "having to play too many games".
When deciding whether those excuses hold any water at all, let's all see how many friendly games are organised by the national teams and by the clubs the players represent, over the next year. If money is put up by sponsors, clubs will take part in meaningless competitions for cups that will be forgotten within weeks, and the national teams also play meaningless friendlies. The Home Internationals would certainly not be meaningless, especially for the supporters. But, as we all know, the supporters always come last in the queue. Can't give THEM, the Great Unwashed, what they want!
At some stage before the start of the 1966 World Cup it was confirmed that Ayresome Park was to replace St James’s Park as a venue for Group Four of the tournament because of some legal problem between Newcastle Council and the owners of the Stadium. This was welcome news for Teesside as Boro had suffered relegation to League Three for the first time in its history.
Also the Korean War which had lasted from 1950 to 1983 had divided Korea at what was known as the 38th parallel with the north being initially supported by the communist countries of the Soviet Union and China, whilst the south was supported by the U.S.A. although apparently no official is yet peace agreement had been officially signed and as North Korea had been the aggressors the British Government didn’t recognise the validity of the North Korean Government. As far as I’m aware that caused a dilemma for the British Government and FIFA.
Nevertheless all was sorted eventually and North Korea were to be based on Teesside with all their matches to be played at Ayresome Park which had a maximum capacity of 40,000. The first match on the 11th of July was a Group One match at Wembley between England and Uruguay which ended goalless before a crowd of 87,148. I wasn’t too disappointed with the result as England started with Jimmy Greaves instead of Geoff Hurst. The following day a crowd of 36,127 witnessed the Group Two match at Hillsborough where West Germany annihilated Switzerland with a very impressive 5-0 win against Switzerland whilst I was at Ayresome Park watching the Soviet Union beating North Korea 3-0 in front of a crowd of 23,006 in a Group Four match, whilst 47,308 were at Goodison Park watching Brazil beat Bulgaria 2-0 in Group Three. From there on it was 4 matches every other day as France played out a 1-1 draw against Mexico at Wembley in front of 69,237 spectators, so no real damage done in Group One. A crowd of 42,378 were at Villa Park on the 13 of July as Argentina beat Spain 2-1 in Group Two, whilst a disappointingly low crowd of only 29,886 at Old Trafford witnessed Portugal beating Hungary 3-1 in Group Three, and only 27,199 at Roker Park to see Italy beat Chile 2-0 in Group Four.
There were no matches played on the 14th of July but 45,622 on the following day at the White City in London as Uruguay beat France 2-1 in Group One, another 32,028 at Hillsborough where Spain defeated Switzerland 2-1 in Group Two, 51,387 at Goodison Park to watch Hungary defeat Brazil 3-1 in Group Three, and the lowest crowd of the tournament so far as only 13,792 attended Ayresome Park to watch Chile and North Korea play out a 1-1 draw in Group Four. Chile had led 1-0 from a Ruben Marcos goal in the first half, but the crowd erupted with just 2 minutes remaining as the Boro fans screamed with delight as WE scored an equaliser. By WE I mean Pak Seung Zin who suddenly had become a Boro hero. What is it about Boro fans who love the under-dog? Perhaps it was because the Koreans played in red shirts, but whatever the crowd had somehow taken the Koreans to their hearts, although it seemed like a consolation goal in the grand scheme of things.
All twelve countries had now completed their second round of matches as at last England opened their account with a 2-0 win against Mexico at Wembley in front of the highest crowd of the tournament so far 92,570.
Alf Ramsey had decided to make two changes for this match, replacing Alan Ball and Terry Connelly with Martin Peters and Terry Paine, but it was a blockbuster from Bobby Charlton about 20 yards out that opened the scoring after 37 minutes, and Roger Hunt sealed the win with just 15 minutes remaining. In Group Two Argentina and West Germany played out a goalless draw before a crowd of 46,587 at Villa Park, whilst Portugal beat Bulgaria 3-0 in another below par crowd of 25,438 at Old Trafford in Group Three, whilst the shock of the competition took place at Ayresome Park in Group Four though only 17,829 witnessed it.
All 8 remaining matches were played over two days, 8 on the 19th of July and 8 on the following day. Uruguay played out a goalless draw against Mexico at Wembley before a crowd of 61,112 at Wembley in Group One, Argentina then beat the Swiss 2-0 at Hillsborough in front of 32,127 fans in Group Two, whilst Portugal surprisingly eliminated the holders Brazil 3-1 at Goodison Park before the largest crowd outside of London 58,479 in Group Three, it sent shock waves throughout the tournament, though only temporarily. When North Korea scored through Pak Do zin three minutes before half time, surely another surprise was on the cards this time in Group Four at Ayresome Park. Under extreme pressure North Korea held out and the two time World Cup winners were pelted with tomatoes at the airport on their return home.
The following day Alf Ramsey made just the one change for the visit of France as Ian Callaghan replaced Terry Payne as a record crowd of 98,200 descended at Wembley in anticipation of England confirming their quarterfinal place in the tournament Two goals from Roger Hunt did just that as England headed Group One. Also West Germany beat Spain 2-1 at Villa Park in front of 42,187 spectators in Group Two, Hungary beat Bulgaria 3-1 at yet another low attendance at Old Trafford of only 24,129 whilst only 16,027 turned up at Roker Park for the Group Four encounter between the Soviet Union and Chile which the Soviets won 2-1.
The 4 quarterfinals all took place on the 23rd of July as firstly England beat Argentina 1-0 at Wembley in another contraversial encounter before 90,584 fans. Jimmy Greaves was injured for this match and replaced by Geoff Hurst whilst Alan Ball returned in place of Ian Callaghan in a match which the Argentinians tried every dirty trick in the book to unsettle England. In the 36 thenminute Antonio Rattin was sent off but refused to leave the field of play. However he eventually had to leave but the ten men continued to thwart England until Geoff Hurst managed to score the only goal of the match in the 77th minute. Alf Ramsey described the Argentinians as animals, but that was being unfair to the animal kingdom.
By now West Germany were looking mighty impressive as they defeated Uruguay 4-0 at Hillsborough before a crowd of 40,007, but the tie of the round was taking place at Goodison Park as the potential giant killers North Korea were leading Portugal 3-0 after only 24 minutes. Pak Seung Zin scored for North Korea in the first minute, but two more goals from Li Dong Woon and Yang Song Gok around the 23 minute mark had the Koreans in dreamland, but a goal from Eusebio within 5 minutes and a penalty from the same player just before halftime reduced the deficit to only one goal by half time, and suddenly Portugal were rampant. Another Eusebio goal then another from the penalty spot by the same player followed by another penalty within 4 minutes and there was no way back for North Korea. Jose Augusto then scored goal number five ten minutes from time, but nevertheless the Goodison crowd of 40,248 gave the North Koreans a rousing send-off. The final quarterfinal at Roker Park was a rather drab affair as the Soviet Union beat Hungary 2-1 before a crowd of 20,844.
The first semifinal was on the 25th of July as West Germany beat the Soviet Union at Goodison Park before a crowd of 38,273 as West Germany were first to reach the Final with a 2-1 win. The following day at Wembley England beat Portugal 2-1 in front of 94,493 excited fans in arguably the best match of the tournament. Alf Ramsey selected an unchanged team for this match which remained goalless for the first half hour before Bobby Charlton scored. Then Gordon Banks made a fantastic save from Eusebio before Bobby Charlton scored a second 11 minutes from time to put England 2-0 ahead after Geoff Hurst had engineered a chance in the penalty area. However Jackie Charlton then made a save with his hand with Gordon Banks well beaten as Eusebio slotting home the penalty with time running out. Under today’s laws Jackie Charlton would probably be sent off and have missed the Final through suspension. Eusebio was in tears at the end having given his all, and in my opinion a better player than Pele.
So Eusebio and Portugal had to settle for 3rd place in the end as the Soviet Union were beaten 1-2 at Wembley before a crowd of 87,696. That’s all for now folks as I’m too exhausted to carry on. I’ll carry on later with my thoughts on the Final. To quote Kenneth Wolstenholme “They think it’s all over! “. Well it certainly is for me at the moment as I need to rest.
Just a thought, but England have always won the world cup when the last two digits of the year are exactly divisible by 11...
I watched Argentina v Australia last night and Argentina were in complete control in the first half and when winning 2-0 the game looked over but credit to Australia who pulled a goal back and were extremely unlucky on two occasions not to equalise.
However the event was the Messi show. There’s been discussion on whether Messi or Ronaldinho is the better player.
It has to be Messi.
Ronaldinho is a fantastic goal scorer but Messi can match him. But Messi can beat 2,3 or 4 players to create a chance for himself or a teammate. Ronaldinho can’t do that and so it’s Messi for me.
I was thinking which other players in recent history could do what Messi does and the obvious candidate is Juninho although not in the Messi class. I can still remember the Boro crowd standing up as the ‘Little Fella’ set off on one of his mazy runs .
Philip of Huddersfield
I think it’s Cristiano Ronaldo you’re comparing Messi to, rather than Ronaldinho.
However, Ronaldinho was another in recent memory who could go past multiple players with ease and also had a lot of flair in his game. A great player to watch.
My personal favourite of the recent(ish) greats was Ronaldo - the Brazilian forward rather than CR7. Between the age of 17 and 24 he was untouchable.
There’s a documentary on iPlayer about him which I enjoyed: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001ffsj
Thanks Bob - you’re right I meant Cristiano Ronaldo - the only excuse I can give is that my iPad disagreed and insisted on putting the wrong name when I wasn’t paying attention!!
And now to England. Could they be a lucky team by playing too slow and no threat for most of the first half against a team which failed to take advantage of their very average performance?
After England scored their second goal they were never in any danger and cruised through the last half hour.
Saturday’s game against France will be a much harder test and if they manage to get through that game then who knows what’s in store - the first trophy for 56 years ? !!
Philip of Huddersfield
So England have bowed out of another major tournament at the Quarter Final stage. A shame considering a Semi against Morocco was on offer.
This was a strong England group - the strongest in my memory. Yes, losing in the Quarters may seem like regression after the Semis in 2018 and the Euro Final last year but in truth England and France were the two best teams left in the competition and it was unfortunate that they met in the Quarters rather than Semis or Final. Either would be worthy winners.
Fine margins. England were the better team on the night but the woodwork, a missed penalty and some controversial refereeing - as well as clinical French finishing - conspired against us.
The future is bright, however. There isn’t a squad in the tournament that wouldn’t benefit from the the addition of Rice, Foden, Bellingham or Saka who have all been excellent throughout the tournament. They are the present and the future and I’m sure one or two others will emerge.
Will it be enough to go on and win a trophy? They’re capable but you need that bit of luck and ours ran out last night.
Southgate.has done a brilliant job in my opinion, even without a trophy to his name. It’s so difficult to win anything at international level. I’d be happy for him to stay on but wouldn’t be surprised if he left it was time to move on.
We can concentrate solely on the Boro again now. Sadly.
Concentrating only on what has transpired on the field, you’d have to say it’s been a brilliant World Cup, concluded by the best final I can remember.
My daughter’s 15-12 netball win which included a tremendous comeback edged it for game of the day but still, a fabulous finale for the World Cup.
A good day’s cricket from England as well. All in all, a cracking Sunday really.
Having now got the FIFA World Cup historical statistics out of the way, I’m now turning my attention to what is happening in the major European leagues. Not very interesting for most Diasborians, but someone’s got to do it, so that befalls to me who has always had the wider aspect of football at heart.
Whilst the Bundesliga takes its winter break with no matches scheduled until the weekend of the 20th of this month, there are some interesting fixtures scheduled for the next round of fixtures. Bayern Munich will travel to 3rd place Leipzig only 6 points below Munich, but to have any chance of ‘stopping the steam roller’ will need to win in Bavaria. Whilst the university city team of Freiburg (one of my favourite German cities) will travel to Saxony to take on Wolfsburg who have only won the Bundesliga once in 2009 and have just arrived in the Algarvean town of Almancil, noted as the gateway to some of the best Portuguese golf courses in the area. The Saxon city you might recall was noted for sacking Steve McLaren during the mid season of 2010 after an appalling set of results.
In La Liga Barcelona have stolen a march over Real Madrid who have just lost at Villarreal whilst the Catalonian side have won away in Madrid against Atletico, the gap now being 3 points, meanwhile across the border in France, Paris St Germain have just lost their unbeaten record 1-3 at Lens who have now reduced the gap behind PSG to a mere 4 points. Also in Serie A in Italy, Napoli who lost their own unbeaten record last week, have won in Genoa against Sampdoria to maintain their 7 point lead over Juventus..
In the Low Countries all the leading clubs in the Dutch Eredevisie were held to draws, Ajax at Nijmegen, Feyenoord in Utrecht, and PSV Eindhoven at home to Sparta Rotterdam. In fact six of the nine matches all finished as draws, allowing Twente Enscshede to make up some lost ground against lowly FC Emmen whom they beat 2-0. Meanwhile in Belgium’s Juliper League, Koninklijke Racing Club Genk beat Clubbe Brugges 3-1 at home to extend their lead at the top of the table. However the main stories in Belgium are in the relegation fight where Kortrijk beat Leuven 3-2 at home, Waragem also won at home to Mechelen 2-0, and Seraing won 2-1 in Oostende where the coastal town had two players sent off.
Finally nothing changes much in Portugal, though Benfica only scraped a 1-0 win in Lisbon against the Algarvean town club of Portimao. How I miss Portugal where I used to discuss all the happenings of European football with my restauranteur friend Georgio whom I also converted into a Boro fan. He remembered our EUAFA campaign including the matches against Sporting Lisbon, but was really a Benfica fan who had never actually seen Benfica play except on television, even when Eusebio played in the Algarve.
I realise that my recollections of European leagues is of little interest to Boro fans, but I feel as if I have just continued my journeys through Europe which at my time of life has been quite cathartic.