Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup Memories - 1970, 1974, and 1978

Every World Cup Finals has events that stick in the memory. During the 1970's, the World Cup was held in Mexico, (West) Germany, and Argentina. Here are some of my memories from these tournaments:

1970 - I was only 10 years old when the finals took place. I was just about aware that a big football event was taking place. By this age I was a fan of Manchester United (or Georgie Best to be precise), and was beginning my life-long addition to football. In Carnew National School, all the boys were starting to talk about football, but our house was not a sports watching one and I got to see very little. My main memories are seeing England lose to West Germany in the quarter final - with goalkeeper Peter "The Cat" Bonetti giving the Germans a helping hand. I also remember getting a book World Football at your feet - what to watch and who to follow - this was a preview of the Mexico World Cup and I recall reading it over and over.

By 1974, I was addicted to football. The finals were in West Germany and I have much clearer, and many more, memories. Things that I recall are "Total Football" from the Dutch, the magic of Johan Cruyff, Zaire, long hair (especially the Argentinians), constant blowing of horns during the games, and two penalties in the final. West Germany also lost (1-0) to East Germany in the group stages, but took revenge 15 years later by re-unifying Germany after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. West Germany won the Cup, but it was Holland who won the hearts of everyone by playing superb stuff throughout.

1978 provided a spectacular competition in Argentina. Hair was still long (Argentinians again). My main memories are: confetti at every game, Mario Kempes getting loads of goals, Archie Gemmell's master goal for Scotland against Holland, Peru hipping six goals against Argentina to knock the Brazilians out, long range shooting by everyone - especially by Brandts and Haan for Holland in the semi-final against Italy. Argentina won the final - the Dutch again losing out. This tournament also signaled the arrival of Argentine footballers Ardiles and Villa into English football - Match of the Day has never been the same since!

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