Thursday, 10 July 2014

World Cup 1982 - Day Nineteen

Monday 5th July 1982
GROUP C, Estadio Sarria, Barcelona. (17:15)
BRAZIL   (1)   2   (Socrates 12, Falcao 68)
ITALY   (2)   3   (Rossi 5, 25, 75)
Brazil: Waldir; Leandro, Luizinho, Oscar, Junior; Socrates, Cerezo, Falcao, Eder; Zico, Serginho (Paulo Isidoro)
Italy: Zoff; Gentile, Scirea, Collovati (Bergomi), Cabrini; Tardelli (Marini), Oriali, Antognoni; Conti, Rossi, Graziani

Some have called this the ‘game of the century’, others the ‘greatest game in World Cup history’.  Whichever, this match had repercussions for both sides for years to come, and is often referred to for many future tournaments.  Brazil had been playing some of the finest football seen at a World Cup, certainly on a par with the 1970 team.  Italy, had been abysmal for the first three matches yet had put together a cohesive performance to stun Argentina the week before.  Brazil had eased past the same opponents to leave them simply needing a draw to go through to the Semi-Finals.  They already knew they would be playing Poland if they did.

5 minutes into the game, Tardelli play a cross-field pass to bring Cabrini into play on the left and his curling cross into the area was met by the head of Paolo Rossi.  Rossi had left his marker and had a free header and remarkably the Italians were 1-0 up.  Within minutes Brazil came forward and Socrates played Serginho in, and after the ball bobbled around, the Brazilian no. 9 found himself free just insidethe area but he scuffed his shot wide, when he really should’ve left it for Zico.  Brazil kept on and Socrates in midfield found Zico, who turned his man superbly, and played Socrates in, as the captain had continued his run.  Socrates had one touch and as he reached the right-hand edge of the 6-yard box he beat Dino Zoff at his near post for a beautiful goal.  1-1.  The move was clinical in its simplicity and showed the effectiveness of the threat the Brazilians posed.

But if that goal summed up the attacking instincts of this team, the goal on 25 minutes summed up their vulnerability in defence.  Waldir threw the ball out to Leandro on the right and he played it across the back to Cerezo, who in turn played it to his left without looking.  Rossi intercepted the pass, strode on to the edge of the area and then fired a shot past Waldir to put Italy back in front. 2-1.

It had been a blistering first half, yet Brazil still carried the menace of being able to score at will.  Early in the second period, Falcao played a one-two with Junior yet put his shot just wide of the far post.  Brazil were rampant now as Cerezo was put through by Zico only to see Zoff come quickly off his line to clear.  Serginho tried to backheel from close range but Zoff was again in the way.  Italy went straight up the other end and Graziani found Rossi free in the area, but the no. 20 miscued his shot wide from just 8 yards out.  Then on 68 minutes Brazil started another attack down the left with Junior, who cut inside and found Falcao on the right-hand edge of the area.  Falcao waited for Cerezo to make a run outside him, taking the defence with him, he turned back onto his left foot and fired an unstoppable shot past Zoff.  2-2. 

Brazil were now in pole position, but with 15 minutes to go Conti took a corner on the right for Italy.  He swung it in left-footed to the edge of the area, where Bergomi won a header.  The ball dropped to Tardelli whose shot was turned in at the far post by Rossi for his hat-trick.  It had been an amazing return for Rossi, having spent two years out through match-fixing allegations and looked horribly out of form in the group matches, yet now he had scored a famous hat-trick against one of the best sides to grace the world game.  3-2.

Antognoni then had the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside.  Almost immediately, Brazil had a free-kick just outside Italy’s area on the left, which Eder took and floated it in where Oscar got up first to head the ball down.  Zoff just got his hands to it to save it on the line.  Things were frantic now as Brazil pushed for that all important equaliser.  In the end they were unable to break through and, against all the odds, Italy had won to make it through to the Semi-Final.  For Brazil, they’d left the 1982 World Cup with memories of some gorgeous football, and had given the world a great match despite ultimately it ending in disappointment.

GROUP B, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid. (21:00)
SPAIN   (0)   0
ENGLAND   (0)   0 
Spain: Arconada; Camacho, Alexanco, Tendillo (Maceda), Gordillo; Alonso, Urquiaga, Zamora, Saura (Uralde);  Satrustegui, Santillana
England: Shilton; Mills, Thompson, Butcher, Sansom; Robson, Wilkins, Rix (Brooking); Francis, Mariner, Woodcock (Keegan)

After the thrills of the earlier match, attention now turned to the final match of the second phase.  England needed to beat Spain by 2 goals to go through to their first Semi-Final since they won the trophy in 1966.  Spain, the hosts, were already out and had little except pride, to play for.  England manager, Ron Greenwood, had decided to keep Keegan and Brooking on the bench, despite both maintaining they were fit.  In the qualifiers, England had never lost when both were on the pitch. 

Alonso scared England early on when firing just wide.  Woodcock then did the same for England before Mills drove a shot over after a free-kick in a promising position.  Another free-kick and another attempt to fool the opposition found Kenny Sansom firing his shot just over.  England were now the more inventive as Robson had a couple of headers go just wide.  As they pushed forward, England were caught at the back when Santillana inexplicably failed to put the ball in from a few yards out as it trickled wide.  Arconada then started to make some important saves which further thwarted England.  Woodcock went close, Mariner went close but still the goal wouldn’t come.

In the second half, Satrustegui created a chance for Alonso who once again shot wide.  Wilkins then dragged a shot wide from outside the area.  Then on 64 minutes, Greenwood shuffled his pack and brought on both Brooking and Keegan.  Brooking was soon involved in the build-up as Mills crossed for Robson to head just wide.  Brooking then had a chance on the right of the area where he cut inside but found Arconada again in the way.  The clock was ticking and England still needed to score twice.  Mariner played Robson in on the left of the area and his ball to the far post found Keegan in space, but he couldn’t hit the target as his header went agonisingly wide with the keeper beaten.

The game ended goalless with England ruing many missed opportunities and the fact they left the tournament unbeaten, provided little comfort.  West Germany had won the group to go through to meet France in the Semi-Finals.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

World Cup 1982 - Day Eighteen

Sunday 4th July 1982
GROUP D, Estadio Vicente Calderon, Madrid. (17:15)
FRANCE   (1)   4   (Giresse 33, 80, Rocheteau 47, 68)
NORTHERN IRELAND   (0)   1   (Armstrong 75)
France: Ettori; Amoros, Janvion, Tresor, Bossis; Genghini, Tigana, Platini, Giresse; Rocheteau (Couriol), Soler (Six)
Northern Ireland: Jennings; J. Nicholl, C. Nicholl, McClelland, Donaghy; M. O’Neill, McCreery (J. O’Neill), McIlroy; Hamilton, Armstrong, Whiteside (Brotherston)

You could call this a sort of Quarter-Final, although a draw would be enough for France.  The French were now playing some of the best football of the tournament, after losing their opening game to England.  They put the Irish under pressure from the first whistle and should’ve made more of the chances they had, but a fit again Pat Jennings was in fine form, saving from both Platini and Rocheteau.  Then some great skill on the right from Whiteside found O’Neill who played a one-two with Armstrong before firing past Ettori, only to find the linesman had his flag up.  Replays seemed to suggest the Irish captain had good reason to be disappointed with that decision.  Just after the half-hour and a wonderful run from Platini saw him beat two to the get to the bye-line and cut it back where Giresse was unmarked.  The little cultured midfielder from Bordeaux, took a touch and then shot past Jennings for the opening goal.  It was no more than the French deserved.

At the beginning of the second half, Tresor found Rocheteau on the left wing just inside his own half.  A brilliant turn took out Jimmy Nicholl and the Frenchman was away and running at Chris Nicholl.  As he reached the edge of the area he switched from his right to his left and fired a low shot which beat Jennings on his near post.  Rocheteau could’ve had a couple more before a free-kick wide on the left was passed short to curly-haired striker and he showed a delicate touch to switch from right foot to left then back to right as he shot past Jennings to effectively put the game out of reach for the Irish.  With fifteen minutes to play, Armstrong found Whiteside on the left and a great piece of wing-play saw the United forward beat Amoros and cross to the far post where Ettori flapped at the ball and Armstrong pounced for a consolation goal.

As the Irish poured forward in search of a miracle the French were able to pick them off with the counter-attack.  With ten minutes to go Giresse found Tigana wide on the right and his first time cross was met excellently by the head of Giresse and the French were through.

GROUP A, Estadio Nou Camp, Barcelona. (21:00)
USSR   (0)   0
POLAND   (0)   0 
USSR: Dasaev; Sulakvelidze, Borovsky, Baltacha, Demianenko, Chivadze; Oganesian, Gavrilov (Daraselia), Bessonov; Shengelia (Andreyev), Blokhin
Poland: Mlynarczyk; Dziuba, Janas, Zmuda, Kupcewicz (Ciolek); Matysik, Majewski, Buncol, Boniek; Lato, Smolarek

As with the earlier game, you could consider this a Quarter-Final as the winner would go through, although Poland had the added advantage of knowing a draw would be enough for them.  The Soviets had the best of the opening exchanges with Sulakvelidze firing over when arriving late to get on the end of Oganesian’s cross.  In the second half, 20 year old Waldemar Matysik produced a great run through the centre, but unfortunately as he reached the penalty area he poked his shot straight at Dasaev.  Boniek was again missing for much of the game but came into things late on, but you always felt the Poles would have more motivation to score if the USSR did.

As the game reached a conclusion, the Soviets threw everyone forward desperate to get the goal which would see them go through.  This gave Smolarek the opportunity hit them on the break but his shot went just wide and in the end, the game was drawn and Poland were through.  Much like France, they’d started the competition in poor form, but had come good when it mattered.

Monday, 7 July 2014

World Cup 1982 - Day Seventeen

Friday 2nd July 1982
GROUP C, Estadio Sarria, Barcelona. (17:15)
BRAZIL   (1)   3   (Zico 12, Serginho 67, Junior 75)
ARGENTINA   (0)   1   (Diaz 89)
Brazil: Waldir; Leandro (Edevaldo), Luizinho, Oscar, Junior; Socrates, Cerezo, Falcao, Eder; Zico (Batista), Serginho
Argentina: Fillol; Olguin, Passarella, Barbas, Tarantini, Galvan; Bertoni (Santamaria), Ardiles, Calderon, Maradona; Kempes (Diaz)

Italy had beaten Argentina and this was becoming a frustrating tournament for the 1978 winners.  Beaten in their opening game, they had got passed Hungary and El Salvador to reach this stage, but with their minds on events back home they looked an ageing side which even the great Diego Maradona couldn’t motivate enough.  Brazil were playing some champagne football, and some of the best football seen in any World Cup.  They were confident of beating their arch rivals and then taking on Italy. 

Argentinian defender Juan Barbas, one of the few members of the squad new from 1978, arrived late to force Waldir Peres into a smart save from a header.  But then in the 12th minute Brazil had a free-kick about 30 yards out.  Eder ran up and fired a left-foot shot against the underside of the bar and as it bounced down, Zico reacted far quicker than the Argentines and bundled the ball over the line for the opening goal.  Eder’s shot was hit with the outside of his left foot and bent and curled, with Fillol doing well to get a hand on it to knock it onto the bar but he was let down by his defence as no one rushed back with Zico or Serginho to stop Zico getting to the ball first.

Falcao then fired just over after taking down a pass from Leandro with consummate ease.  After Zico did the same, Falcao again shot over after a lovely move on the edge of the Argentinian area.  Brazil still lead at half-time thanks to Zico’s goal and as the second half wore on, Maradona became increasingly frustrated with the treatment handed out to him by the Brazilians.  He has good shout for a penalty when Cerezo brought him down on the right-hand edge of the area, but the ref was having none of it.  Cerezo had a fierce drive from a free-kick just tipped over as many of the shots were coming from outside either penalty area.   Brazil eventually had their reward in the 67th minute after Passarella was dispossessed in midfield.  Eder played it inside to Zico, who in turn found Falcao with space on the right.  His cross to the far post was headed in by Serginho.  Often seen as the weak link in this vastly attractive attacking side, Serginho was a prolific goalscorer at domestic level but received much criticism during this tournament for missing too many chances.

Brazil looked to have killed off Argentina, although Maradona showed some lovely skill to create a chance for Diaz, who put it wide.  But almost immediately, Brazil put together another fantastic move as they toyed with their opponents.  Junior ran forward from the back, played a one-two with Zico and ran on to slide the ball past Fillol.  It was a lovely exhibition of football and the most attacking full-back in the game earned a deserved goal.  Passarella tried to single-handedly pull his team back into it with a couple of chances but Brazil were in complete control.  Maradona chipped just over and then minutes later his World Cup was over in ignominious circumstances.  Soon to be a Barcelona player, he left the pitch to a chorus of derision.  As the ball bounced around in midfield, Maradona was far too high and late with a kick on Batista which landed on the Brazilian’s thigh.  He received a straight red card and it summed up Argentina’s tournament.  Diaz did get a goal back with a fine strike from the edge of the area but the champions were well beaten.

Brazil now had a goal advantage over Italy, so a draw on Monday would be enough to see them reach the Semi-Finals.

GROUP B, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid. (21:00)
SPAIN   (0)   1   (Zamora 81)
WEST GERMANY   (0)   2   (Littbarski 50, Fischer 75) 
Spain: Arconada; Camacho, Alexanco, Tendillo, Gordillo; Alonso, Urquiaga, Zamora; Juanito (Lopez-Ufarte), Santillana, Quini (Sanchez)
West Germany: Schumacher; Kaltz, K-H Forster, B. Forster, Stielike, Briegel; Littbarski, Breitner, Dremmler; Fischer, Rummenigge (Reinders)

In England’s group, West Germany had played out a cagey 0-0 draw with England in the first match.  This gave them a great chance of going through if they could beat the hosts.  Spain had struggled to get through their group, losing to Northern Ireland.  The home crowd was nervous yet desperate for success, knowing themselves that a win in this game would leave them only needing to avoid defeat against England, to progress.

The first half again was cagey and then 5 minutes into the second half, Dremmler’s shot from outside the area was too hot for Arconada to handle and as it rolled clear of the Spanish keeper, Pierre Littbarski was on hand to turn it in.  The Germans were now able to exert some pressure on the game, with them holding many aces in the group.  They should’ve added to their tally after good work down the left from Fischer saw him rob Tendillo but the eventual shot from Briegel too high.  Spanish centre-back, Alexanco, had a couple of efforts which may have promised more.  One, a header from a free-kick which bounced straight at Schumacher, and then he fired wide with a shot from long range.  But with 15 minutes to go, West Germany played their final card and it would prove decisive.  Breitner, ever industrious in midfield, played a good ball into Littbarski, who’d run ahead of the defence into the area, and as Arconada came out, the German turned 180 degrees and played in Fischer.  Klaus Fischer then had the simple challenge of walking the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead and that was effectively game over.  It was a sucker punch for the home side, who had been enjoying a fairly good period, but after only playing one match in the Second Phase, they were out.

With a minute to go, a cross from Sanchez on the right was headed in at the far post by Jesus Zamora to give the Spaniards a glimmer of hope.  They’d left it too late and the hosts had been eliminated.

England looked on anxiously as they would now need to win by 2 goals to go through.

World Cup 1982 - Day Sixteen

Thursday 1st July 1982
GROUP D, Estadio Vicente Calderon, Madrid. (17:15)
AUSTRIA   (0)   2   (Pezzey 50, Hintermaier 67)
NORTHERN IRELAND   (1)   2   (Hamilton 27, 74)
Austria: Koncilia; Krauss, Baumeister, Pezzey, Obermayer; Pregesbauer (Hintermaier), Prohaska, Pinkler; Schachner, Hagmayr (Welzl), Jurtin
Northern Ireland: Platt; J. Nicholl, C. Nicholl, McClelland, Nelson; O’Neill, McCreery, McIlroy; Hamilton, Armstrong, Whiteside (Brotherston)

The Irish had not had the best preparation for this phase of the tournament.  Pat Jennings had a groin strain and there was disruption to several training sessions.  Bingham replaced Jennings with Jim Platt.  Although Platt would only be winning his 16th cap for his country he had played over 400 games for Middlesbrough.  Sammy Nelson, a 2nd half substitute against Spain, replaced Mal Donaghy at left-back.  Austria had to win the game, having just lost to France and so they were more desperate for a goal.  For the Irish, if they won they would then be playing France in what would effectively be a Quarter-Final. 

Both teams had chances before the Irish took the lead in the 27th minute.  McIlroy found Armstrong on the right, just inside his own half, and the Watford man was able to beat two Austrian defenders before getting to the bye-line.  His pin-point cross was met for Hamilton at the far post and the Burnley forward headed past Koncilia to put the Irish, 1-0 up.

Early in the second half, McClelland failed to deal with a high ball into the Irish box and the ball fell for dangerous Austrian striker, Walter Schachner, who hit the post and Jimmy Nicholl scrambled the ball out of play.  From the resulting corner, Prohaska found Baumeister on the edge of the area and his low shot was turned in by Pezzey for the equaliser.  The Austrians were now buzzing and a slick passing move saw Schachner beat Platt but the goal was ruled out for offside.  As the game moved towards the final 20 minutes, Austria had a free-kick 25 yards out.  The ball was played short to Hintermaier and his shot rifled past Platt to put the Austrians in front.  The Irish now looked to be in trouble, but this side was made of sterner stuff.

Eight minutes later a patient build-up in midfield saw Armstrong run at the defence again and his shot from outside the area, deflected off Obermayer.  Jimmy Nicholl had been charging forward to create the overlap and he now found himself clear of the defence on the right hand side.  As Koncilia came out, Nicholl hooked the ball to the far post where Hamilton was again on hand to head the ball into the empty net.  Now the Irish still needed another goal to avoid having to beat the French but try as they might they just couldn’t break the Austrians down and the game ended all square.

GROUP A, Estadio Nou Camp, Barcelona. (21:00)
USSR   (0)   1   (Oganesian 49)
BELGIUM   (0)   0 
USSR: Dasaev; Borovsky, Baltacha, Demianenko, Chivadze; Bal (Daraselia), Oganesian, Gavrilov, Bessonov; Shengelia (Rodionov), Blokhin
Belgium: Munaron; de Schrijver (M. Millecamps), Renquin, Meeuws, L. Millecamps; Vercauteren, Coeck, Cuelemans, Verheyen; Vandenbergh, Vandersmissen (Czerniatynski)

What a tournament this had been for Belgium.  Two weeks ago they beat the holders, Argentina, in Barcelona.  Now they were back in the Nou Camp, having to use their third different goalkeeper of the competition and staring an exit right in the face.  Three days previously they had been torn apart by a Boniek-influenced Poland, and now found that even victory against Soviet Union might not be enough to see them reach the Semi-Finals.  USSR had come through Brazil and Scotland’s group knew that Poland’s 3-0 win on Monday meant they would have to win both their matches to go through, unless they bettered the Poles result in this match.

It wasn’t a game to remember with Belgium having the better chances in the first half, but early after the break, Gavrilov played a one-two with Blokhin and his cross from the left fell to Khoren Oganesian, the only Armenian in the squad, volleyed it left footed past Munaron.  It was a bad goal to concede for Belgium as they all left the goalscorer to each other.  They set about trying to repair the damage but really it was all done last Monday against Poland.

USSR won 1-0 to set up a match with Poland which was effectively a Quarter-Final, although a draw would see Poland go through on goal difference.