Wednesday, 2 July 2014

World Cup - Day Thirteen

Friday 25th June 1982
GROUP TWO, Estadio El Molinon Gijon. (17:15)
WEST GERMANY   (1)   1   (Hrubesch 10)
AUSTRIA   (0)   0
West Germany: Schumacher; Kaltz, K-H Forster, Stielike, Briegel; Littbarski, Dremmler, Breitner, Magath; Rummenigge (Matthaus), Hrubesch (Fischer)
Austria: Koncilia; Krauss, Pezzey, Degeorgi, Obermanyer; Hattenberger, Weber, Prohaska, Hintermaier; Schachner, Krankl

This day was to go down as one of the most memorable in World Cup history.  FIFA changed their rules on scheduling as a result of the events which occurred on 25th June 1982.  The problem was that these were the last matches in three of the groups and each of the sides knew exactly what they had to do to go through.  They also knew how to manipulate the system.  This had not been a problem in previous tournaments but it was the Germans who found a way round things when they arranged their match with Austria in Gijon.  Austria had won both their matches so far, with the Germans suffering a surprise defeat to Algeria.  Algeria had lost to Austria but beaten Chile so they had finished on 4pts.  Austria were also on 4pts but with a superior goal difference to Algeria.  West Germany were on 2pts but also with a better goal difference than Algeria.  So if West Germany won by no more than 2 goals, both they and Austria would be through.  Horst Hrubesch put West Germany in front within 10 minutes of the start and that was, quite emphatically that.  The result suited both sides so they just knocked it about between each other to play out the remaining 80 minutes.  The crowd was incensed at the sheer audacity and bare faced cheek of the whole episode and they voiced their derision loud and clear through most of the second half.  Both teams therefore booked their place in the second phase and the poor old Algerians had to go home.

GROUP FOUR, Estadio San Mames, Bilbao. (17:15)
KUWAIT   (0)   0
ENGLAND   (1)   1   (Francis 27)
Kuwait: Al-Tarabulsi; N. Mubarak, Al-Mubarak (Al-Shemmari), Mayouf, M. Mubarak; Al-Houti, Al-Buloushi, Al-Anbari, Al-Suwayed; Marzouq, Al-Dakheel
England: Shilton; Neal, Thompson, Foster, Mills; Coppell, Hoddle, Wilkins, Rix; Francis, Mariner

England had won both of their group matches and were already confirmed as group winners after France failed to beat the Czechs the day before.  Kuwait had impressed during their draw with Czechoslovakia but were well beaten by the French in a controversial game.  England made a couple of changes with Foster coming in for Butcher and Hoddle starting ahead of Robson.  England were inventive early on but couldn’t convert their chances until in the 27th minute, Peter Shilton cleared the ball upfield and Mariner and Francis combined to leave Trevor Francis to beat the keeper from the right-hand edge of the area.  Without the motivation of needing to win by more England settled for a simple 1-0 win.  Hoddle had a couple of good chances to score but blasted over on each occasion.  A perfect record from the group stages and England went into the second phase in buoyant mood, with hopefully, Keegan and Brooking to return.

GROUP FIVE, Estadio Luis Casanova, Valencia. (21:00)
SPAIN   (0)   0
NORTHERN IRELAND   (1)   1   (Armstrong 47)
Spain: Arconada; Camacho, Alexanco, Tendillo, Gordillo; Alonso, Saura, Sanchez; Juanito, Satrustegui (Quini), Lopez-Ufarte (Gallego)
Northern Ireland: Jennings; J. Nicholl, C. Nicholl, McClelland, Donaghy; O’Neill, McCreery, McIlroy (Cassidy); Hamilton, Armstrong, Whiteside (Nelson)

Another capacity crowd in the Mestalla expected to see the hosts cruise past Northern Ireland.  But this was not the Spain of today, this was a Spanish team racked with nerves at the pressure & expectation of hosting the biggest tournament in world football.  But this night belonged to the Irish.  It has gone down as one of the greatest nights ever in Northern Irish football. 

Pat Jennings was at his best as the Spanish pressed forward and frustrated them on several occasions.  The Spanish looked dangerous from set-pieces but it was goalless at half-time.  Early in the second half, Armstrong pounced on a loose pass deep in his own half and drove into the Spanish half before laying the ball to his right where Hamilton skinned Tendillo to get to the bye-line.  He crossed the ball into the box and keeper, Luis Arconada, probably one of Europe’s best at the time, inexplicably palmed the ball out to the penalty spot where Armstrong was lurking.  Instead of placing the ball in either corner, Armstrong fired a right-foot shot under the hapless keeper and into the net.  Amazingly, the Irish were 1-0 up against Spain, in Spain.

Despite the fact this result would see both teams go through, the Spaniards couldn’t stand the embarrassment of losing at home and so threw everything at Jennings goal but the Arsenal man was equal to the task.  Midway through the half, Mal Donaghy was sent-off for a 2nd bookable offence when he lashed out at Camacho.  But despite their man advantage, Spain couldn’t break through and Northern Ireland had pulled off a famous win.

Final Group Tables

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